Team Lotus (the one who raced last year) have become the second team to officially pull the covers off their new 2011 car.
The green and yellow liveried machine will start be raced by Jarno Trulli and Heikki Kovalainen this season under the name of Team Lotus as the management’s row with Group Lotus, now affiliated with Renault, continues.
The new car retains the 50’s yellow and green livery that fans came to know and love last season. New sponsors stand side by side with old ones, on the now Renault powered machine.
On the technical side, Mike Gascoyne has said that the T128 is far more exciting, intricate and advanced than last seasons T128. There is much more thought and special design in the front wing roll hoop and on the side pods especially. The rool hoop/air box design is very similar to the blade design used by Mercedes in 2010, although this had been outlawed by the FIA – Lotus have found a way around the regulations.
“I think that basically this car looks like a frontrunning car in every area,” Mike Gascoyne said. “We said very clearly that we want to start challenging the established teams and I think that’s very achievable.”
“With last year’s car and especially the first half of the season it was just an exercise in survival, whereas from the middle of last year it was about building the team up – that’s when we started working on this car
“I think the thing that was a challenge this year was that the 2010 car really was a one-off, because of the way it was done with the design team and the time we had.
“There’s been almost no carry-over of parts for the 2011 car, whereas normally you’d have a substantial carry-over and the chance to optimise last year’s parts.”
Elliot Dason-Barber, head of R&D added: “The area that intrigues me the most is the front suspension, and the rear as well actually. We’ve tried to push the boundaries with a few things to make it a bit lighter and more efficient.”
The team’s aim this season then looks to be fighting at the front.
Veteran Jarno Trulli, who endured a torrid 2010 campaign with the team said this morning: “Sitting on the grid in Bahrain this year will feel very different – a different tension,”
“Last year we were just aiming to finish the race. This year we’ll be aiming to finish in the points. With the package we have, that should be achievable.”
Lotus, the car company have unveiled their plans to team up with the former Renault Formula One team for 2011, under the name of Lotus Renault GP.
Group Lotus had already expressed a desire to return to Formula One, and following the Renault car company selling its stake in the F1 team back to Genii Capital, it allowed Genii to sell it on to Lotus.
Now at this point, you are probably very confused as Lotus are already in F1. Well, sort of. The Lotus team we have seen racing this season have been running under a name that they bought, they are not in any way affiliated with the Lotus Group who run the car company. This has led Dany Bahar, CEO of Group Lotus to begin court proceedings on Tony Fernandes who runs Team Lotus. Fernandes, the boss of Air Asia maintains that he will run his team in 2011 as Team Lotus, who will also be supplied with Renault engines. And just to make it more confusing, both teams are planning to run with classic black and gold John Player liveries. Excellent.
We aren’t going to get involved with who we think is right in this situation here on TheF1Fanatics Blog but we hope they sort it out as it is going to be mightly confusing next season for fans, commentators and drivers alike.
Dany Bahar told Autosport: “I can think of no better platform for automotive brand communications than motorsport and F1 is the very pinnacle of open-wheel racing.
“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 once and for all: we are Lotus and we are back.”
Meanwhile, Gerard Lopez, chairman of Renault F1 Team and head of Genii Capital added: “We are delighted that we can now go public with the news that we will be racing as Lotus Renault GP in 2011.
“It is extremely exciting to begin a new era for the team in partnership with Group Lotus, and we will continue to enjoy a strong relationship with Renault over the coming seasons. It is a tribute to the excellent work this year by the team in Enstone that we have been able to attract both major sponsorship and new investment for a very bright future.”
Group Lotus have the rights to use their name with the Renault team until 2017.
Autosport have provided this mock-up of what the 2011 Lotus Renault GP car could look like.
Mike Gascoyne, one of the best known technical figures in the F1 paddock has been rewarded with a new contract with the Lotus team. It will keep him with the Norfolk/Malaysia based outfit until 2015.
Having worked previously with Jordan, Toyota and Spyker – Gascoyne brought a wealth of experience to the table as he helped Tony Fernandes realise his dream and get Lotus into Formula One for this season.
“Mike’s five-year deal is a major announcement for the whole Lotus Racing team,” said team boss Tony Fernandes.
“It shows just how serious we are, not only about how far ahead we are setting our aspirations, but also as a reward to Mike for the incredibly hard work he and the team have already put in to get us from literally four people back in September ’09 to our current position as a serious F1 player with a very bright future ahead of us.
“On a personal level, I’ve really enjoyed the last year that we’ve been working together, and I’m very excited about working with Mike for many years to come.”
Gascoyne added: “Having started the team from scratch with Tony it was always my intention to finish my career here, so it’s great to have formally agreed a five year deal. I’d like to extend my sincere thanks to Tony, Din, Nasa, Riad and the whole team, and I’m extremely grateful to everyone involved in Lotus Racing for having the confidence to take this into a long-term contract.
“We’ve had a great start to our partnership together, and I’m looking forward to continuing that for the next five years, and even beyond that.”
Lotus Grand Prix Racing are back in Formula One after a 16 year absence.
The team, reformed by Malaysian business magnate Tony Fernandes, the owner of Air Asia, launched their car – the T127 – in a lavish ceremony in Central London just a couple of hours ago.
The new car is decked out in swathes of green and yellow which will be familiar to any followers of classic Grand Prix, back in the hey-day of drivers like Jim Clark.
Looking a little sponsorless, despite its beautiful livery money will not be an issue to the multi-millionaire Fernandes, who has a bet on that his team will be better than rival airline owner Richard Branson’s new Virgin team.
Jarno Trulli and Heikki Kovalainen will be racing the car, a great pairing with plenty of experience for the team – with Fairuz Fauzy, the rated rookie as test driver.
“Words cannot express how I feel today,” said Fernandes. “It is an amazing job to get an F1 licence, have five people in Hingham and turn up today with this car.
“I was thrilled when Clive [Chapman] said that this was just like te beginning of Lotus back in the early days.”
He added: “We know we have a huge burden on our shoulers, standing on the shoulders of giants – Clark, Moss, Hill, and Mansell. We know we have a tremendous journey in front of us, we are honoured and cherished to be a part of history – we will leave no stone unturned in our efforts and we will do our best to return Lotus to its glory days.”
Mike Gascoyne, the former Toyota technical director was bouyant on the new car.
“The launch of the car is a very proud moment for the design team and the whole team,” said Gascoyne. “This one is very special for me personally for two reasons – firstly the Lotus name coming back into F1 is something very special.
“I grew up in Norfolk and went to school five miles down the road from the original factory. I grew up in era when Lotus was winning races and championships, so the opportunity to work with this team is very special. But also it is the challenge of bringing a new team and a new car into F1 in such a short space of time.
“What this is about for me, and it is the first launch I have been to where the whole team is here, there is a fantastic buzz about this place, the whole team has given their heart and soul to this project. I want to thank Tony on behalf of the whole team to have the courage to back us and trust us.
“We have a fantastic driver line-up who have put faith in the whole design team. I am proud to be up here on stage as a representative of that team, they have done a fantastic job.”
Meanwhile Italian driver Jarno Trulli said the whole event was very emotional.
“It is a very emotional moment for me – it will be great to take Lotus back on track where Lotus belongs and I think we have a big challenge, but it is what we are aiming for. I am really fired up for it,” he said.
Lotus are set to announce their first new driver for 2010, within a few days or potentially hours.
The Malaysian backed outfit is headed up by Tony Fernandes. He wrote on his official Twitter page;
“Malaysia Formula 1 team, aka Lotus, has signed its first driver,” Fernandes wrote.
“Public announcement soon. The dream continues.”
After a discussion between Fernandes and Autosport Magazine was published recently, it is likely that the two drievrs could be Jarno Trulli and Takuma Sato. Kamui Kobayashi has been linked to the seat and looks an increasingly likely possibility as Fernandes seems to disagree with Mike Gascoyne the technical chief on having 2 experienced drivers and suggests that one youngster would be more useful.
“If we can get a guy who has been doing it for a long time, that’s fantastic because you can’t buy experience and he can help us develop the car and the team,” said Fernandes. “And he can help us after the race, adding value to driver development.
“On the second driver, I think that it’s good to have someone young because sometimes if you have been doing it for 15 years there is a little bit of cynicism and it gets repetitious. If you’ve got an energetic young guy that rubs off on you. Ultimately, I will leave it to Mike and the team to decide.”