Posts Tagged ‘Tony Fernandes’
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.”
Lotus Racing are now back in the middle-east for the last race of the 2010 season, the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. The team is in buoyant mood after another solid performance in Sao Paulo saw them tighten their grip on tenth place in the Championship, moving ever closer to achieving their primary goal in their debut season.
The Lotus Racing story is nothing short of spectacular. The team has already won an army of fans worldwide, gained huge respect within the notoriously tough F1 paddock and in the wider commercial world, and gone from a workforce of just four in September 2009 to over 200 now, all focused on taking a major step forward in 2011 to take on and beat the established teams ahead.
Fairuz Fauzy (driving in place of Heikki Kovalainen in FP1): “I’m looking forward to getting back in the car and I think it will be a very special atmosphere, on track and in the garage. The twilight running obviously makes the race very interesting, but as I’ll be going out in FP1 the real challenge for me is to try and push on what will be a very green track. I’ve spent a bit of time in a simulator to prepare for the run on Friday, but it will obviously be different when I get out on the real thing.”
Heikki Kovalainen: “Abu Dhabi is a great track and I like the fact we race in the fading light. I think it will be a good fight up at the front, and for us it’s the end of a very long, but so far very rewarding season. Everyone in the team has done really well all year, pushing us along to where we are now, and this weekend is all about maintaining concentration and giving it one final effort before we start focusing entirely on next year. I’m excited about the race and I think we’ll be in good shape to keep up the pressure on the guys around us.”
Jarno Trulli: “It’s the last race but for me it’s still all about getting my car across the finish line with Heikki so we can tie up tenth place. The track isn’t a huge challenge – it’s not as rewarding to drive on as somewhere like Brazil, but we’ll be ok there as our car should be pretty much as far ahead of those around us as we have been in the last few races.”
Mike Gascoyne: “Down to the last race and I don’t think we could be going there in any better shape. Abu Dhabi should be another track where we can take the fight to our nearest rivals, and all season long we have seen that the investment in experience throughout the whole team has held us in very good stead in our first season. You could see in Brazil that both Heikki and Jarno were able to pull away from Timo throughout the race, and that is down to excellent work all year by the team at the track and the factory, and in the two cockpits, and we are aiming for that to be repeated at the last race. The goal is obviously to finish tenth, and we would like to do that in the same style we have shown all season – by beating those around us, so everyone will be putting in one last big effort to repay the faith shown in us by our fans all year and everyone who has helped us reach this point of the season.”
Tony Fernandes: “As we approach the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix I feel a great sense of accomplishment and delivery. In just one year we have delivered a team that has presented itself and behaved like one that has been racing for a long time. We made the bold decision to bring in two experienced drivers who have helped us push our way up as quickly as possible, on and off track, and from the earliest days of our team we have respected the heritage of Colin Chapman and his family and treated them both with the honour and style they deserve. It will be an incredible feeling to see the culmination of our first season back at another track where the Lotus Racing dream took shape. We came to the 2009 race, and while I hoped then that we would be where we are now, I could not have predicted we would have come quite as far as we have. Our future is extremely exciting. We have everything in place to take a big step forward next year, and I truly believe we have already exceeded our own expectations in our first season. For a team that had only five months to build our first car, as well as an entire race team and factory, we can hold up our heads up high to our fans, the Chapman family, the paddock fraternity and most importantly, to ourselves. There has been a huge amount of discussion about Lotus re-entering Formula One for the first time since 1994, but we spent this year looking ahead and not engaging in the talk about bringing the Lotus brand back. We went about our business in our own unassuming way, letting our actions speak louder than our words, and we will continue to do just that. We have a unique style and will always stay true to that as we move forward, up to the ultimate position of one day being World Champions.”
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]