Fantastic documentary showing the creation of the first turbo-powered Lotus F1 car – the 93T. It was also the last car designed under Colin Chapman though unfortunately he died before the car was completed.
[via Axis of Oversteer]
Group Lotus plc and Genii Capital are pleased to announce a partnership which will see the Renault F1 Team renamed as ‘Lotus Renault GP’ from the start of the 2011 racing season onwards. The association heralds the return of a highly successful Formula 1™ association between Lotus and Renault from the 1980s. Lotus’ racing pedigree and heritage coupled with Renault’s technology in Formula 1™ will set the united team on a path to future success.
Group Lotus plc will acquire a major equity stake in the team from Genii Capital. The transaction represents a partnership between Group Lotus and Genii Capital and signifies the beginning of a more comprehensive strategic alliance between the two organisations.
The partnership between Lotus and Genii brings the ability to quickly incorporate new technologies from F1™ cars into Lotus road cars including hybrid technology, Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems (KERS), aero advancements and lightweight materials. Genii, an investment holding company with a portfolio of automotive technologies, bring non-F1™ technologies such as lightweight braking systems, variable compression engine technology and on board software systems to the partnership.
Group Lotus CEO Dany Bahar said: “I can think of no better platform for automotive brand communications than motorsport and F1™. We’re well aware that there has been a lot of controversy around the usage of our brand in F1™ and I’m delighted to be able to formally clarify our position: We are Lotus, and we are back.”
Dato’ Sri Mohd Nadzmi Mohd Salleh, Chairman of Proton, Lotus majority shareholder, said: “We know that Group Lotus has much to offer Formula 1™ and vice versa. After careful consideration, we believe this arrangement will be fruitful, both from a commercial and marketing point of view.”
Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Proton advisor and former Prime Minister of Malaysia, said: “This is an exciting development which delivers strategic benefits to both Group Lotus and Proton. I fully support the partnership.”
Carlos Ghosn, Chairman and CEO of Renault, commented: “This multi-partner alliance will bring a new dynamic to the team and enable it to compete with the sport’s best from next season.”
In addition to this, Genii is also offering Proton the ability to leverage on its existing business relationships in Russia and other parts of the world, as a means to expand Proton’s global reach. Through Genii, Proton can also potentially access advanced automotive technologies by virtue of Genii’s association with Mangrove, a venture capital group.
Gerard Lopez, founding partner of Genii Capital, said: “For Group Lotus, access to Formula 1™ opens up new marketing opportunities and a major platform for business exchanges and development. In this regard, Genii Capital possesses shareholdings in, and direct access to, cutting edge companies in the automotive industry. Our tie-up with Group Lotus and Proton, which will enable its future road car ranges to take advantage of significant new technologies, is a natural step.”
Lotus Racing secured its primary goal of tenth place in the 2010 FIA Formula One™ World Championship when Heikki Kovalainen finished the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in 17th place. Jarno Trulli’s race came to an unfortunate end on lap 51 and finished in the garage after his car suffered a rear wing failure with just three laps left.
Heikki Kovalainen (Chassis T127-03) 17th, fastest lap 1.45.378: “What a fantastic end to our season. The race itself was just great, right from when the lights went out. I got the best start of the season, made up places immediately and from that point on I just got my head down and got on with it. Everything went perfectly according to plan. The tyres weren’t really degarding and as the car got lighter and the fuel burnt away I was able to keep putting in what felt like qualifying laps throughout the whole race. I was able to pull away a gap to the cars behind me and we managed the traffic really well all race. After I came out of the pits I had to let a few cars past which cost me several seconds, but that wasn’t a problem as I could keep pulling away from my direct rivals. This is the perfect way to end our first season, and gives us a huge boost for next year. We finished on a high, achieved all our goals and we have a very exciting future ahead of us. Thank you to the whole team for a fantastic season – I can’t wait for next year.”
Jarno Trulli (Chassis T127-02) DNF, fastest lap 1.45.979: “First of all congratulations to the whole team. Everyone has done an amazing job this year and while it’s been long and tough, for a brand new team it’s been special. My race was one of the ones I’ll want to forget. I had a problem with the front wing to begin with, and then a rear wing failure finished the race so I’m pretty glad it’s over! This year I’ve had all sorts of bad luck but I’m very confident about next year as the package that’s been put together is very good and it gives everyone in the team a chance to take the next step forward.”
Mike Gascoyne, Chief Technical Officer: “Job done. When we started out on this project the first target was to be best of the new teams. When you think how late our entry was confirmed that was always going to be a good challenge, but we have done it. We gave Tony, Din and Nasa tenth place and that makes me very proud of the whole team. On a personal level I’d like to thank my partner Silvi. We did this together and I could not have done it without her or the whole team. However, this is just the beginning. Next year what is important is the steps we take forward, but for tonight we will enjoy the achievement. We have earned it.”
Tony Fernandes, Team Principal: “I am completely relieved, completely ecstatic, completely happy and completely vindicated in making the decision to go into F1™. What we have achieved today is what dreams are made of. To complete 19 races after having just five months to build a car and finish in tenth in style is something that is truly magical. It shows you that even in the modern age where money and power counts for so much, there is a chance for ambition and dreams to shine. 2010 is a year that we can be proud of. We brought Lotus back into F1™™ after many had talked about it, but we did it. I can confidently say that everyone associated with the Lotus history can be very proud of what we have done this year. This is the first chapter of a long career ahead and we will create our own future, destiny and history from here. I am thankful to all the incredibly special staff we have in Hingham, Malaysia and here in Abu Dhabi for what they have done this year and my abiding memory of 2010 comes from one of our engineers, who told me he had achieved higher grid positions with other teams, but never with a team that feels as special as this. To all the Lotus fans thank you so much for your support – we could not have done it without you. I am thrilled that Lotus Racing has opened up F1™™ to everyone out there, and we cannot wait to see you next year.”
In a move that is certain to excite Lotus fans and followers of Formula One™ around the world, Lotus Racing has announced this morning that its cars will be running in a black and gold colour scheme from the 2011 Championship onwards. This move echoes the evolution of Lotus Formula One™ cars of the past by moving from the iconic green and yellow paint scheme of the first season to the much loved black and gold.
Lotus Racing has already won an army of fans worldwide whose support for the Anglo-Malaysian squad has been fuelled by the team’s open, honest approach to racing, and its efforts on track which has seen the team edge ever closer to securing the ‘best of the new teams’ title in its debut season.
To bring the fans even closer to the team in its second season Head of Marketing Silvi Schaumloeffel today explained how the 2011 livery will be designed: “We have worked all year to make sure our fans are given unprecedented access to our team. We are all very excited about the move to a black and gold paint scheme for next season, and we want our fans to help us design the livery that will be racing around the world next year. We will shortly be announcing exactly how the fans can take part in our design process, so keep an eye on our website www.lotusracing.my for more details. The person who designs the livery we finally choose will be joining us at our first test next year to see the car out on track for the very first time, so for Lotus and F1™ fans it is the chance of a lifetime to help us take the next step forward in our amazing story in 2011.”
Riad Asmat, Lotus Racing Chief Executive, added his thoughts on the next step in the Lotus Racing story: “When we first unveiled our 2010 car there was unanimous praise for our decision to bring the historic green and yellow livery back to the modern F1™ grid. I know the return to the track of the legendary black and gold will be met with even more universal support as it strikes such an emotional chord with fans around the world. Giving those fans the chance to help us bring it back to the contemporary grid is true to our core belief of putting our supporters right at the heart of Lotus Racing – we can’t wait to show the world what we come up with!”
Today’s announcement by Bernard Rey, President of Renault Sport, of the engine partnership with Renault from the 2011 season and beyond finally confirms one of the most interesting stories of the 2010 Formula One™ season and is a clear sign of the strength of the Anglo – Malaysian team’s ambitions to move up the grid as quickly as possible. Team Principal Tony Fernandes, Chief Technical Officer Mike Gascoyne and Chief Executive Officer Riad Asmat gave their thoughts on the announcement today.
Tony Fernandes: “I am absolutely delighted that we can now officially talk about the partnership with Renault. There has obviously been a great deal of speculation about which engine will be powering our cars from 2011 and now the announcement has been made I think everyone can see just how ambitious we really are. The combination of the Renault engine and the Red Bull Technology gearbox and hydraulics gives our design and aero teams a successful, tried and tested platform to work with for next year’s car. 2010 has been all about building up our team from scratch and in just one year we have laid the foundations for many exciting seasons to come and the partnership with Renault will dramatically accelerate our development plans, both on and off track. That is an important point – we have started a partnership with Renault and, much like taking on experienced drivers in our first year, we will be working with people who know how to win and who will help push us even further forward towards the front of the grid. We are realistic – we know what needs to be done to be challenging for ultimate honours in Formula One™ and this partnership will play a very important role in helping us push ahead.”
Mike Gascoyne: “Today’s announcement is the latest confirmation of how far this team wants to go in Formula One™. Having worked with Renault before I know exactly what they will bring to our team and I am delighted that they will be playing an integral role in the next chapter of our story. The engine itself gives our designers, engineers and drivers an excellent platform to work with – it is very drivable, has good reliability and comes with a track support team who have a wealth of experience and knowledge. We are all looking forward to working with Renault and are very excited about the future for our partnership and our team.”
Riad Asmat: “This is a very big day for everyone in our team, in Malaysia and in the UK. Just over a year ago there were four people in an empty factory, and now we have announced an engine partnership with Renault, one of the most successful manufacturers in our sport’s history, a gearbox and hydraulics deal with Red Bull Technology and the start of the process of building our own wind tunnel at the factory in Hingham. We have come such a long way in a very short period, and today’s announcement will give the whole team even more enthusiasm for the challenges that lay ahead.”
Round 18 of the FIA Formula One™ World Championship sees the pack head to Brazil for the only South American leg of the season and one of the sport’s classic venues; Sao Paulo. The punishing end-of-season calendar sees the Brazilian Grand Prix race back to back with the season-ending event in Abu Dhabi, but before heading to the Middle-East Lotus Racing is looking to take another step closer to securing its place as the best of the 2010 new teams at the technical Brazilian circuit.
Heikki Kovalainen: “We had another good result in Korea and we’ll be looking to carry that form through to Brazil and Abu Dhabi. The Sao Paulo circuit is a good challenge. There’s quite a few overtaking points, and a few different lines into some of the corners so you’ll see people attacking each other throughout the whole lap, and particularly at turn one. At the start of the race that corner is pretty critical and there’s always a few guys taking different lines through there. Some go high, some low, but the main thing to think about is that when there are five cars going through there together you’ve just got to do whatever you can to make sure you fit through the gaps and come out unscathed.
“It’s a pretty hardcore end to the season and I’ll make sure I’m properly prepared by resting a bit and then I’ll do enough training to adjust to the time changes, flight times and the races themselves. To be honest, it’s easier for me than it is for many other people in the team. The last couple of races require a massive push from everyone to setup the garages, go racing and then pack up everything and relocate to Abu Dhabi. By the end of the season we will have all earned some time off, but we have to make sure we stay focused on securing tenth place, and for the next couple of races that’s what it’s all about.”
Jarno Trulli: “I’m heading to the USA for a few days to try and acclimatise to the time change, relax and do a bit of training in preparation for the last two races. Brazil is a good circuit to drive on, it’s one of my favourite tracks. I’ve always enjoyed myself there and the atmosphere is great, but it’s not a place where I’ve had a great deal of luck in the races, so hopefully that will change this year. The start is crucial, but if you can get through that without any problems, the rest of the lap is pretty rewarding. There’s none of the long straight / first gear hairpins that you have on quite a few of the modern tracks, so you can get into a good rhythm and really lean on the car into the corners. My best result there was fourth in 2000, and while I know repeating that is obviously unlikely, our goal will be to get both cars across the finish line and go to Abu Dhabi still as the best of the new teams.”
Mike Gascoyne: “Korea was another good result for us and now we are looking to take that performance through to Brazil. We have two races left this year, and while it will be a pretty tough two weeks for the whole team, it is the same for everyone in the pitlane and we have the experience and the determination to make sure we are in the right position to capitalise on whatever opportunities arise on track. It has been very satisfying this season to see that we have taken full advantage of all the races where there have been a high number of incidents, like Japan and Korea, and that is down to good people working effectively on the pitwall, in the garages and in the cars, and we will make sure we do not let that slip in Brazil or Abu Dhabi.”
Tony Fernandes: “I left Korea on an absolute high. It was an amazing race and it was crucial that we took advantage of the high attrition rate to finish as high as we did. Jarno had put in a very strong performance on Friday and Saturday, particularly in qualifying where he put in a great lap to beat Timo, but his run of bad luck struck again in the race and he did not have the chance to show what he could do. Heikki had an eventful race, and performed brilliantly to take 13th place, and performances like that, and from the whole team all weekend, have helped us consolidate our position as best of the new teams throughout the season.
“Unfortunately I will not be in Brazil, but I will be watching every second of the race weekend from home. With Abu Dhabi straight afterwards, and a long journey between the two, it will be a hard couple of weeks for everyone in the team, but they are all determined to keep up their concentration levels and workrate to make sure we finish the season on a high. Throughout the year I have seen what a talented, dedicated team we have in Lotus Racing, and that gives me the confidence to know we are in the best possible position to achieve our goals in 2010, and give us the platform to take a step up next year and in seasons beyond.”
[press release from Lotus Racing]
An historic race in Korea came to an end in the dark with Lotus Racing’s Heikki Kovalainen taking advantage of an incident packed race to finish in 13th place. Team mate Jarno Trulli’s race again came to an early conclusion with hydraulic issues on lap 25, but the team now head to Brazil still at the head of the new teams after some excellent work on and off track all weekend.
Heikki Kovalainen (Chassis T127-03) 13th, fastest lap 1.55.018 – lap 43: “It was another excellent result for the team today. In tricky conditions like that with people making mistakes, we could have seen our tenth position under threat, but we were there at the end and that is what counts. I really enjoyed the race, and didn’t really have any problems that we couldn’t deal with – the team made the right calls throughout and that put us in a strong position at the end of the race. It was obviously pretty dark when we finished, but that was the same for everyone. Now we head to Brazil and we have two more races to secure our place as the best of the new teams this year.”
Jarno Trulli (Chassis T127-02) DNF, fastest lap 2.05.161 – lap 20: “It was a disappointing day but I’m pleased that the team has taken another step towards tenth. I felt that there was a possible hydraulics problem when we were behind the safety car as the power steering was starting to feel very heavy. I really struggled to turn in at the first corner and had a spin, and despite the team trying to get me back out it was all over.”
Mike Gascoyne, Chief Technical Officer: “First of all it was great that we could go racing and give all the Korean fans and everyone who has put so much effort into making this race happen the show they wanted to see. They were rewarded with an historic event, with the race finishing in the dark and some excellent action up and down the field. For us it was a day of mixed fortunes – a great finish once again as best of the new teams and Heikki drove a great race in the very tricky conditions, but disappointing for Jarno that he suffered another hydraulic issue that brought his race to an early end. But overall a great weekend for us. We qualified and finished as best of the new teams and maintained our tenth place, which was always our main goal.”
Tony Fernandes, Team Principal: “That was extremely tense for me. Of all the 17 races we have had this season, that was by far the most nerve wracking, and I feel like I was put through the ringer throughout the whole afternoon. Today shows the true mettle of this team. Heikki drove a fantastic race, and even though he also had a possible hydraulic issue with about 20 laps to go, he battled through that, and a superb performance from the race team kept him out there to make sure he was on track at the end of the race to take 13th. We are edging ever closer to that tenth place, and even though Jarno suffered more hydraulic problems, we have taken steps to change that for next year, and it is experiences like today that will stand us in good stead for next season and beyond.”
[press release from Lotus Racing]
Next stop South Korea. Marking another first in F1™ history, the 2010 Championship now moves to the brand new Yeongam circuit for round 17 of the 2010 FIA Formula One™ World Championship – the Korean Grand Prix. Lotus Racing head to the recently finished track in buoyant mood, having recorded their best ever finish at last weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix when Heikki Kovalainen brought his T127 home 12th, with teammate Jarno Trulli just behind in 13th.
Heikki Kovalainen (Chassis T127-03): “I left Suzuka on Monday morning still buzzing after such a great race. I said then that the car was just fantastic to drive, and all drivers pray for days like that – it meant so much to the whole team, and our fans, for us to go one better than we did in Australia. That sort of result gives us a huge boost as the season draws towards the end, particularly because we were so far ahead of both Virgins – while they have kept updating their car at each race, we’ve been working on 2011 and haven’t updated our car since Silverstone, so to stay that far ahead is a major result.
“I’m looking forward to Korea. It’s new for all of us, and while I’ve had a bit of a look at the layout, the first couple of laps will be all about finding the right lines, and then we will focus on setups. To be honest, it won’t take long to get to grips with the track and I think the car will be ok there. It’s a pretty typical modern circuit – a couple of long straights with heavy braking at the end, and then a mix of a few tighter corners and a couple more quicker ones, so we should be about where we were in Japan. If I get another set of tyres like my second set in Suzuka it’ll be great, but whatever happens, we’re closer to tenth in the Championship now, and that’s what it’s all about.”
Jarno Trulli (Chassis T127 – 04): “I really enjoyed Japan but it was good to get home! The whole team performed really well over the weekend, and we took a big step towards the end goal of tenth, so everyone left happy.
“Korea looks pretty good – Some drivers use simulators or even games to take a look at the lines, but I usually find my way around a new venue by running a few laps of the track on the Thursday. It’s a good way to work out the stresses of the plane journey, and you get a view of where the braking and turn-in points are. Whatever happens, after a couple of laps I’ll know my way around and where I can push, so it doesn’t take long to acclimatise.”
Mike Gascoyne, Chief Technical Officer: “Looking back to Japan, we could not really have had a better weekend. I think both Jarno and Heikki managed to extract every bit of performance they could from the cars, and that showed in our advantage over our nearest rivals in qualifying and in the race. We made a couple of announcements before the race about next year that showed how ambitious we really are, and there are more to come, but for now we go to Korea in a very positive frame of mind.
“It is always a bit of a step into the unknown when you go to a new venue, but we have completed a number of simulation programs at the factory that have given us a pretty good idea of how the car will behave on track. The big unknowns are what downforce levels to run, and how the track surface will stand up to the rigours of a full race weekend. We will find the right setup over the weekend, and any track issues are out of our control – it has been passed by the FIA so we will just go there and do our best. If there are any problems, it will be the same for everyone, so we cannot waste time worrying about what might happen – we will just focus on bringing both cars home in the race and taking another step closer to the end of the season.”
Tony Fernandes, Team Principal: “I am still smiling from what happened in Japan. The whole team deserved a result like that, and we were able to capitalise on what was a pretty crazy race by being in the right place at the right time. That was down to having experienced drivers who kept out of trouble on track and drove brilliantly all weekend, a team on the pitwall who made the right calls to give us the chance to grab 12th and 13th, and guys in the garage who put in the hard work to help us stay well ahead of our competition – all in all it was a fantastic team effort.”
[Press Release from Lotus Racing]
Lotus Racing will move on to the Singapore Grand Prix having had a strong weekend that unfortunately did not repay the team with the race result they had hoped for from the Italian Grand Prix. Heikki Kovalainen finished the race in 18th and Jarno Trulli recorded a DNF. Jarno had made a good start and was comfortably leading the other new teams until a gearbox failure on the 46th lap forced him to pull over.
Heikki Kovalainen (Chassis T127-01) 18th, fastest lap 1.27.822 – lap 50, 1 stop – lap 23: “I lost a few positions at the start, managed to get in front of di Grassi but then was stuck behind Timo. I didn’t have the straight line speed to get past him so didn’t have the chance to make a move. It’s a shame because I couldn’t get the true potential out of the car after a good weekend, but that’s life. We haven’t lost anything in terms of the Championship so all in all it’s not too disappointing.”
Jarno Trulli (Chassis T127-04) DNF, fastest lap 1.29.017 – lap 30, 1 stop – lap 25: “It was a very good race until the gearbox problem meant I had to stop. I lost second gear and even though I continued running without second, it gave up completely which ended the race. But I must say that the race had been very satisfying until that point. I was pulling away from Timo and the guys behind and was increasing the lead with every lap, and the car felt great right from the start. But this seems to be the story of the season – we’ll go to Singapore and hope my luck improves there.”
Dieter Gass, Sporting Director: “A bit of an unfortunate race today after a strong weekend. Heikki lost position at the start – he managed to pass di Grassi but couldn’t get past Timo after a good fight. Jarno had a strong race until we ran into gearbox trouble. He lost second, then the whole gearbox, which brought his race to an end. Now we move on to Singapore and we’ll fight back there.”
Tony Fernandes, Team Principal: “One has to be philosophical after today’s race, and focus on the fact we had a very good weekend. It’s obviously disappointing that we had yet another gearbox failure on Jarno’s car as he was comfortably pulling away from his nearest rivals until he had to pull over. Heikki had an unfortunate start, and that meant his whole race was compromised as he was stuck behind Timo and couldn’t pass. Despite that, it’s been a good weekend for the team. We’ve made some important decisions about next year, and we’ll build on what we’ve learnt here and come back fighting.”
[press release from Lotus Racing]