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.”
The Belgian Grand Prix at Spa lived up to all expectations and produced an incident packed race that saw Lotus Racing again finish ahead of their nearest rivals. Heikki Kovalainen recovered from a slow start to finish 16th, and Jarno Trulli crossed the line in 19th, a spin late on dropping him back a few places after he had put in a very strong performance in the constantly changing weather conditions.
Heikki Kovalainen (Chassis T127-01) 16th, fastest lap 1.55.797 – lap 23, 3 stops – laps 1, 3, 33: “I had a bit of a problem at the start when the engine bogged down, and I activated the anti-stall, but I was already being passed by the time I could get up to speed. The rain had started and unfortunately I damaged my front wing in the last turn so I had to pit. We took a gamble with the inters but the rain stopped, so I had to come back in and I lost out to the group ahead of me. After that it was a question of doing the best job I could, and keeping us in with a chance of taking advantage of the rain at the end, and as it turned out we managed to pick up a few places at the end and finish 16th.”
Jarno Trulli (Chassis T127-04) 19th, fastest lap 1.55.103 – lap 24, 1 stop – lap 33: “It was pretty exciting out there, an eventful race where lots of things happened, but that’s normal for Spa! At the start I went wide to avoid Heikki and unfortunately was overtaken by a couple of other cars. After that I was struggling a bit in the early stages with my rear tyres overheating – fortunately they came back so I could started pushing and managed to pull away from the guys behind, so that was a good stint until the rain came. I had quite a big margin over my nearest competitor so I was looking pretty good, but then the safety car came out. At the restart I was following the other cars but obviously the visibility was very poor and I made a bit of an error on a high speed corner, touched the white line with the rear end of the car and it just slipped away from me, which meant I lost places. I continued, but then the race was over from there. I’m glad we got both cars home, and it’s good to see we’ve still got an advantage over our nearest rivals, so bring on Monza!”
Mike Gascoyne, Chief Technical Officer: “An exciting race and a typically eventful one here in Spa. Neither driver had a great start which meant we lost a few places, and Heikki had a problem when the rain started. We changed him onto intermediates, but were then a little slow in changing him back, but he drove a great race, and was quick at the end in the wet conditions, and he again brought us home best of the new teams. Jarno drove a strong race. He struggled initially with the tyres, but in the middle part of the race his pace was very strong, and it’s just a shame that he had a spin in the difficult wet conditions as it would have been nice to have had both cars finish ahead of the other new guys. But despite that, both cars finished and overall this has been a good weekend for the whole team.”
Riad Asmat, Chief Executive Officer: “I feel great. I think we achieved what we wanted to do – we got both cars home and we’re still ahead of the other new teams. It’s a bit unfortunate that Jarno spun out, but it’s all part of racing. He recovered well and I think we’ll all move on from this point and feel confident we can put in a good performance in Monza, and the remaining races. I think the team did great today and there was maximum effort involved, so well done to everyone. The rain of course threw everything out of sync, but we survived it today and we’re really happy.”
Over 120,000 fans are expected on race day at Hockenheim, and, for many of them, seeing the green and yellow Lotus Racing livery back on track will be an emotional moment. The team itself is excited about the next round of the 2010 FIA Formula One™ World Championship, and is looking to build on the strong two car finish they enjoyed last weekend at Silverstone. The layout of the track should suit the T127 better than the flat-out dash around the Northamptonshire countryside, and with the experience they have on both sides of the garage, Lotus Racing is again looking forward to taking the fight to the teams ahead.
Dieter Gass, Lotus Racing Sporting Director “We’re all looking forward to Hockenheim. Obviously the circuit is quite different now from how it used to be in the past – then, it was an extremely difficult circuit on which to find a decent set up – long straights that took you into the forest and then slow corners in the Motodrom stadium section meant it was hard to find a suitable compromise between downforce and grip – you don’t have to make such a big compromise anymore because the straights simply aren’t as long now. But, you still don’t run maximum downforce here – you take a bit of wing off to take account of the straight, and give the driver the chance to overtake at the end of that, in turn six.
“I think our car will suit the circuit well. You have a different speed profile than Silverstone, which didn’t really suit our car, but in Hockenheim I think we’ll be better off. We had a big update package in Silverstone which we couldn’t exploit fully as we were lacking running and setup time, so we’ll be looking to get the best out of that in the Friday and Saturday practice sessions. We’ll be able to play with the ballast a bit more here as well, which will help us find a better balance, and the team have spent some time in the factory this week practicing pitstops, so we should see the times come down in Germany. All in all it should be a good weekend.”
Heikki Kovalainen (Chassis T127-01) “Germany’s always a good race – Hockenheim’s usually hot and the fans make sure there’s a great atmosphere around the whole circuit. The stadium section in particular is amazing – with all the horns blowing, the flags flying and the odd flare being set off, it feels like you are in a football stadium or something. That makes it a great place to watch from if you’re a spectator, and for the drivers it’s cool – we can see all the fans packed into the stands and it looks pretty hardcore.
“The circuit itself is pretty good. You can overtake at the end of the long straight at the hairpin but there aren’t many other places where you can get past. It’s relatively hard on tyres and in the past the heat has made the tyres blister, but we shouldn’t get any of those problems with this year’s tyres. Bridgestone are bringing a super soft and a hard, so there should be a clear performance difference between the two – we’ll see how that shapes up over the weekend.”
Jarno Trulli (Chassis T127-04) “Hockenheim has some real history and in its old guise it demanded a lot from the drivers, in terms of setup, driving and in getting all the little details right. However, now it’s a more conventional circuit, and while I like it, I preferred the old layout. I was on the podium there a while back, and I won the German F3 Championship there many years ago, so it does hold a lot of good memories for me. It’s always hot when we go there, and the fans are very passionate, so I hope we can put on a good show for them, and show what Lotus Racing is all about.”
Riad Asmat, Lotus Racing CEO “Firstly it was great to see Fairuz in the car in Silverstone on Friday; testing is obviously extremely limited so it was good for him to get some experience and practice in the car. He certainly deserved his time in the cockpit but mechanical problems unfortunately meant he didn’t get as much track time car as he could have – we are running him in FP1 in Hockenheim instead of Hungary, so he’s getting another chance to show what he can do a week early and it’ll be good to see him back on track again in Germany.
“I was in the car with Tony on the way to Silverstone on Saturday when he reminded me that it was at the British Grand Prix in 2009 that he first met Mike and the Lotus Racing dream began. He was quite nostalgic and was telling me that a year ago he couldn’t drive in certain places around the track without the sticker on his car, whereas now he is a Team Principal he can go everywhere! Well, almost… He has built so much out of the dreams he has pursued, with success of course, and he believes that Lotus Racing is another opportunity that will be a success. Last weekend was a year to the day that this adventure began, and now we’re already looking five years down the road and how far we can go.”