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Archive for March, 2010
Lotus Racing is looking forward to another solid performance at the Petronas Malaysian GP in Sepang this weekend said its Deputy Team Principal SM Nasarudin. After Heikki Kovalainen finished the Melbourne Grand Prix in 13th place, the team is confident it can build on its strong start to the season at the third round of the 2010 Formula One™ World Championship, Lotus Racing’s first race at home in Malaysia. “We expect the race in Sepang this weekend to be another exciting outing for Lotus Racing. Heikki’s finish, just three places away from earning our first point in Melbourne, gives us a good boost for the coming race in Sepang,” SM Nasarudin said.
Kicking off the team’s week in Malaysia, Lotus Racing today held a homecoming celebration at the Pavilion Kuala Lumpur where all three drivers – Jarno Trulli, Heikki Kovalainen and Fairuz Fauzy – unveiled the stunning green-and-yellow Lotus Cosworth T127 for the first time to their Malaysian fans. There to witness the momentous occasion were Former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Youth and Sports Minister Dato’ Ahmad Shabery Cheek.
They were joined by Lotus Racing Deputy Team Principals SM Nasarudin and Dato’ Kamarudin Meranun, Proton Holdings Berhad Group MD Dato’ Syed Zainal Abidin Syed Mohd Tahir, as well as Sepang International Circuit Chairman Dato’ Mokhzani Mahathir.
SM Nasarudin said: “This is truly the proudest moment for all of us to be here right in the heart of our capital city Kuala Lumpur, sharing this moment with all Malaysians and together we make it a 1Malaysia celebration. This is the much awaited homecoming for Lotus Racing, as this is the first time that the Lotus Cosworth T127 cars are on Malaysian soil. There is nothing like being on your own home ground.”
The Lotus Cosworth T127 is on display at the Pavilion’s main concourse area from 3pm to 10 pm today and it will be the first opportunity for F1™ fans in Malaysia to catch a glimpse of the machine since it was launched in London on 12 February.
“This is the real Lotus Cosworth T127 that will be racing in Sepang on 2-4 April. This is a very rare opportunity for our fans to see our actual car up close” added SM Nasimuddin.
Apart from an autograph session with drivers Jarno Trulli, Heikki Kovalainen and Fairuz Fauzy, Lotus Racing merchandise is also on sale for the first time during the event. The team also launched the Malaysian Chapter of the official Lotus Racing Fan Club.
On the side of the celebration is a photo gallery containing some rarely seen photographs that provide a chronology of the team’s history, development and progress.
The Lotus Racing team was announced by Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Najib Tun Razak in September 2009. Currently based in Norfolk, UK, the team launched its lean, green racing machine in London on 12 February 2010, exactly month before its maiden race in Bahrain and five months to the day after they received confirmation of their entry into the 2010 Formula One™ World Championship.
A private investment by Malaysia’s leading entrepreneurs, Lotus Racing’s current partners and sponsors include Proton Holdings, which licences out the use of the Lotus brand name to the team, Tune Group of Companies, of which Team Principal Dato’ Sri Tony Fernandes and Deputy Team Principal Dato’ Kamarudin Meranun are co-founders, Naza Group of Companies of which SM Nasarudin is Group CEO, Bridgestone, Hackett and CNN.
At the event today the team also announced its latest sponsor, Maxis Berhad. Sandip Das, Maxis Berhad Chief Executive Officer said, “Maxis is pleased to broaden its sports involvement through the sponsorship of the Lotus Racing Team in Formula One™. This is the pride of the nation and as the leading and most innovative Malaysian Telco, which is also globally respected, we wanted to be a part of this wonderful Malaysia moment. Maxis’ commitment to Lotus Racing promises to deliver a more integrated F1™ experience to our customers with immediate access to the latest racing news and information via their mobile phones, wherever and whenever they want. In addition, lucky Maxis customers will have the exclusive opportunity of watching the Sepang Grand Prix live this coming weekend compliments of Maxis.”
[press release from Lotus]
A mixed day for Lotus Racing at the Melbourne Grand Prix saw Heikki Kovalainen finish the race in 13th place, once again ahead of the other new teams, but Jarno Trulli failed to make the start due to a hydraulics issue on the grid.
Heikki Kovalainen (Lotus Cosworth T127-01): “I enjoyed it today, I had good fun out there. Our target was to finish the race and from the start we were quite comfortably ahead of the new teams. When Glock dropped I just focused on keeping up a decent rhythm, not making any mistakes and bringing the car home. It’s difficult to say whether a different strategy would have worked better – if we’d stopped once more and put a fresh set of tyres on, that might have been better way to go, but our target was to finish the race and we achieved that again. Now we go to Malaysia with a good feeling and we’re all looking forward to that.”
Jarno Trulli (Lotus Cosworth T127-03): “Unfortunately we couldn’t start the race today because we had a hydraulic failure on the grid and, despite the team’s best efforts, we couldn’t fix it in time to make the race. We’ll work now to fix that for Malaysia and I’m looking forward to getting out there and seeing what we can do in Sepang.”
Mike Gascoyne: “Obviously a very disappointing start. Jarno had a hydraulic power pack fail on the grid, not something we’ve seen before and we couldn’t get it changed in time. Balancing that was another strong race from Heikki who did really well staying out on the option tyre. He made a good start but lost a few places after the accident on the opening lap, but he did a great job to get the car home, keeping us tenth in the championship. And congratulations to Karun Chandhok for getting a finish!”
Tony Fernandes: “I guess we’ve got to have had some bad luck at some point and unfortunately it was today. I’m disappointed for Jarno, but Heikki did us proud – three places away from a point, and he was keeping pace with most of the other cars throughout the race. Maybe it would have been nice if three other cars had gone out so we could get a point, but, joking aside, it is good that at this stage of the season we’re already thinking about points. We’re in a nice position for Malaysia. We’re looking forward to going home, and really looking forward to giving our fans something to shout about.”
A few days ago I received the latest GGLC Memberhip roster in the mail (if you have not gotten one please contact David Anderson (ggmail AT gglotus DOT org) to update your postal address) and was fascinated to see the large number of cities that our members are spread over. After talking it over with a few folks at our last monthly meeting I hacked together the following map of club members:
Each marker on the map represents a zipcode that has at least one GGLC member. The size and colour of the markers varies based on the number of members in each location (darker and larger = more members). You can also get the information about the marker by clicking on it to get the name of the location as well as the number of members. You can also click here to see a larger version of the map or click here to see a zoomed in map showing the Bay Area.
Practice Session 1
A sunny day in Melbourne welcomed Lotus Racing to their first practice session of round two of the 2010 Formula One™ season. Both drivers were keen to get going and test the cars on the semi-street track of Albert Park, and once again, a Lotus Cosworth was out first, Jarno Trulli being first car on track.
Heikki Kovalainen, 26 laps, best time 1.31.654: “First session was good – pretty much how we were planning to do it. We had a little problem with the differential but we managed to work around it. It meant that the car wasn’t quite performing 100% but it’s no big deal, and we were able to put some good laps in and check the car, the balance and the tyres and we’re pretty happy about it – all in all I feel very comfortable in the car.”
Jarno Trulli, 13 laps, best time 1.31.654: “We had a small issue but in the end we put in two good runs which meant we could check the balance and the tyres. It’s good to be back in Melbourne and running and I’m looking forward to having a better session this afternoon.”
Practice Session 2
The second practice session on Friday afternoon in Melbourne began under cloudy skies with light rain falling, curtailing track time for Lotus Racing throughout the afternoon session. Despite this the team ran a solid session and finished ahead of both other new teams having completed a total of 32 laps in second practice, with Jarno Trulli finishing the session 20th (17 laps / 30 laps total) with a best time of 1.30.695 and Heikki Kovalainen 18th on 1.29.860 (15 laps / 41 laps total).
Jarno Trulli: “It’s been a bit of a difficult day because we lost a bit of time this morning, and unfortunately this afternoon the track was pretty wet so we couldn’t really find a good set up. When I went out I had a few issues with understeer but, though it’ll be a little difficult tomorrow, we’ll see what we can learn in final practice before qualifying starts.”
Heikki Kovalainen: “The second session was much better for me, because the car functioned very well and we had the differential working 100%. The car felt really really good and we were very pleased with the way it was behaving. Obviously the rain disrupted things a little bit, but everyone was in the same boat. So, we’re well prepared, and we’re just going to try to maintain the reliability that we’ve achieved so far. Overall we’re in really good shape.”
Mike Gascoyne, Lotus Racing Chief Technical Officer: “Obviously the second session was affected by rain, which made it difficult, but we were able to run both types of tyre and get a feeling for how they both behave. Overall not a bad day – we got through most of our program, despite the conditions in the second session, so I’m pretty pleased.
[press release from Lotus Racing]
Lotus Racing arrived in Melbourne, Australia, set for round two of the 2010 Formula One™ World Championship. After exceeding expectations for a six month old team in Bahrain, with both Jarno Trulli and Heikki Kovalainen’s cars being classified and being the only new team to see one of its cars past the finish line, attention now turns to Albert Park’s street circuit and the challenges that it presents. After such a great opening performance the atmosphere in the team is better than ever and the huge number of visitors dropping by to say congratulations in Melbourne, and the massive volume of fans giving fantastic feedback online, attests to the ever growing popularity of Lotus Racing from within the sport, amongst F1 fans, and in the growing number of general sports fans being attracted to such an open, honest team.
Kicking off with his thoughts on Bahrain and Australia is Tony Fernandes, Lotus Racing Team Principal, who will be flying in on Saturday night to join the team for the race on Sunday: “Australia is a special place for me – it’s where I spent my gap year when I was younger, where I did a lot of work in the music business, and learnt a huge amount about that industry, and where Air Asia X has a very strong stake. The whole weekend will be great, but Sunday will be a special day for me and the many Australian Lotus owners when we see the T127 on track and mixing it with the world’s best. After our great start in Bahrain we are continuing to stay realistic, and in Melbourne we are again aiming to finish and learn as much as we can in our ever deepening quest to get to the top. I can’t wait to get there!”
Heikki Kovalainen: “After Bahrain I decided to go back to my European home in Switzerland, and spent nearly a week there. First, obviously, I was recovering from the Bahrain Grand Prix and then I had a few good training sessions before a quick day trip to Helsinki in Finland to meet some media. Then we flew to Australia on Saturday, and have been here since then; getting used to the time zone and doing a little bit of training and playing some golf while enjoying the sunshine.
“It’s very good to come here, the Australians are always very very friendly people. At the gate there were hundreds of people lined up waiting for the drivers to arrive and it’s such a festival atmosphere. The weather always seems to be great here too, usually sunny, and it’s good to come from the European winter to the sunshine and enjoy the city. It’s a great city, so many cool restaurants and there’s always plenty to do, so you could never get bored here.
“Albert Park is a very different circuit in comparison to Bahrain; it’s a semi-street circuit, so the surface is different, and the grip – especially on Friday morning – will be quite poor initially, but will improve quite a lot throughout the weekend, so we’ll need to keep on top of that and perhaps adjust the set up a little bit. Again, with a street circuit, the walls are very close to the track so you have to be up to it – you can’t just brake as late as possible and miss the apex and then try a bit better and brake a little earlier. You’ve got to go little by little and hopefully nail it in qualifying.
“You’ve got to use every bit of the track, every millimetre of the circuit. It looks more dramatic from the outside, but we’re used to it. Maximise as much as possible so you’ve got more room to get quickly through the next corner. “
Jarno Trulli: “After Bahrain I went back to Europe and stayed in contact with the engineers to analyse the hydraulics issues we had in the race in Bahrain, try to see how we could improve the performance of the car and review the general operations of the team during the race weekend, which were really good!
“Then I flew into Australia on Sunday night, so I’m still a little bit jetlagged – it’s a pretty hard trip coming over here – the ten hour time difference means it’s always difficult to adapt, but we just have to get on with it.
“On previous visits over here I’ve made a few trips out to the countryside, having a look at the local vineyards and enjoying the weather. I love coming here – Australia’s a great country with great people, so I always enjoy myself here. It’s also good to try some good wines, some different local varieties, but I still prefer my own wine…..
“On the track itself – it’s very important here to have good braking, good stability and really solid traction. There aren’t so many high speed corners here – it’s all about braking and accelerating out of slow speed corners, and as it’s a bit bumpy you really have to have good braking points and good braking stability from the car. All in all I’m looking forward to building on the result in Bahrain, learning more about the car and enjoying the weekend.”
Mike Gascoyne, Lotus Racing Chief Technical Officer: “Since Bahrain we’ve been working very hard back in the factory, pushing further on the new package for Barcelona, so the guys have been working hard in the wind tunnel as well as focusing on the expansion of our drawing office. We’re in the process of closing down the drawing office in Cologne, which means migrating all the data as well as the ongoing work. On top of all that we’ve been looking at some of the problems we had in Bahrain and how we can fix them, so overall we’ve been very busy.
“Obviously doing all that and then coming straight to Australia, having to deal with the jetlag, the distance and the time difference isn’t easy, especially as you get older, but it is part and parcel of the job and you just have to get on with it.
“One thing I really have enjoyed has been the feedback to the tweets we put out over the race weekend in Bahrain. Tony Fernandes has said he wants us to be very open as a team, and do things a little differently, so we’ve started doing that with Twitter and it’s something we’ll do more of in the future.
“Turning attention to Melbourne – the circuit here is not often used for motor racing, there are some bumps around the track and it’s pretty hard on brakes. We know the changes in setup we need to make and we have a couple of aero updates here which should bring a tenth or two, so overall we’re looking forward to the weekend.”
[press release from Lotus Racing]
Boardwalk Lotus is hosting a tech session for GGLC members on Saturday, April 24th.. Arrive at 9:30 for refreshment. Tech Session will be conducted by Boardwalk’s Lotus factory trained technician. The session will cover new development and changes in the 2010 Elise and Exige, prep tips for Track Days and Autocrossing and Maintenance tips for the Elise and Exige.
After the session we’ll take a short drive and stop for lunch.
9:30 am on 24-April-2010
1 Bair Island Rd
Redwood City CA