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Posts tagged “Tony Fernandes

Team Lotus Launch Their 2011 Machine The T128

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.”

 

 

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Lotus Takes Share Of Renault F1 Team – Lotus Renault GP Rebrand

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.


Gascoyne Rewarded With Lotus Contract Till 2015

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.”


Australian GP 2010: Button Wins First Race For McLaren

Jenson Button turned a race of the highest quality today in Australia to win his first race for the McLaren team, on a circuit where he dominated with Brawn last season.

Robert Kubica grabbed a heroic second place for Renault, and Felipe Massa hung on to third mostly thanks to his team mate Fernando Alonso.

Race Review

There was always an outside chance of rain at the Melbourne circuit, and it came just before the race leaving everyone to start on intermediates on a damp, cold circuit.  The race was always going to deliver the excitement that we didn’t get in Bahrain and it came thick from the first corner.

Fernando Alonso got a poor start, in contrast to team mate Felipe Massa.  Alonso came into turn 1 and was punted from the inside by Jenson Button, pushing the Spaniard into Michael Schumacher.  The two former World Champions got damage and were forced to the back of the field, Schumacher by a pit stop and Alonso by the virtue that he was spun 180.

Further down the first lap, Kamui Kobayashi’s Sauber lost its front wing on the straight for no reason, sending him in an out of control slide into Sebastien Buemi and Nico Hulkenberg knocking all 3 out of the race and bringing the safety car out for the first time.

This allowed Alonso and Schumacher to bunch up the back of the field, and Alonso cut through the field brilliantly, while Schumacher got held back and only ended up finishing in 10th place, his overtaking less competent than Alonso’s and certainly less competent than we are used to from the former master.  Is it the car or is it Schumacher?

Massa had got in front of Webber before the safety car, but lost position when it went into the pits, leaving the Brazilian scrapping with Kubica and Rosberg for 3rd, 4th and 5th.   Jenson Button pitted early for some slick tyres, a move which seemed crazy but eventually led him to win the race.  He was setting hot lap times and the rest of the field pitted, but it was poor timing for Massa who ended up well behind the pack of McLaren’s, Red Bull’s, Kubica and Rosberg, while at this point he was being caught by Alonso and Hamilton both of whom had worked their way through the field.

Only the Red Bull’s did not pit, leaving it a bit late.  Vettel got away unscathed, but Webber on cold tyres made a mistake into turn 1, and cars zipped passed him with ease.  However only a handful of laps later, and Massa looked poor once again, with Webber slotting passed and Hamilton following.  Later on a similar move would cause Massa to force team mate Fernando Alonso off the track and to lose positions that he ultimately would not recover.

A scorching Hamilton now hassled Rosberg, whom he passed with ease around the outside into 13.  His charge only cooled by waved yellows from Sebastian Vettel’s stranded Red Bull, the young cocky German had stuffed it into the gravel trap with suspected brake failure.

The crash handed Button the lead, and allowed Kubica second place which would ultimately be the final positions for the two who decided not to pit for fresh slicks.  The optional second pit stop was instigated by Michael Schumacher, who down in 12th decided on some fresh soft Bridgestones and was lapping nearly 2s per lap quicker.  Hamilton and Webber were notable names to pit, but both Ferrari’s did not pit.

Felipe Massa appeared to be holding up Fernando Alonso but it was lucky for the Brazilian his resilient team mate was behind as Alonso began a heroic drive to the finish.  With Hamilton gaining 2seconds or more per lap on the Ferrari’s, Alonso managed to hold off the charge from the British former World Champion and his McLaren nemesis for over 10 laps to the finish a brilliant piece of driving skill which should have been rewarded with a trophy.

But with 2 laps remaining, a hot headed Mark Webber once again clashed with Lewis Hamilton leading them both to finish much further down the points than they should have done, but Alonso’s work was not done as Nico Rosberg charged to the back of the Ferrari but couldn’t make a move stick.

Liuzzi and Barrichello were 7th and 8th, having a quiet race amidst all the action.  Schumacher took the final points position, with Alguersuari just behind the young Spaniard giving the old German a hard time and no doubt learning more than ever before.  De La Rosa was 12th, but the best mentions have to go to Heiki Kovalainen who finished another race for Lotus and Karun Chadhok who managed to FINISH the race for Hispania, unbeliveable!  Congratulations to both teams.

Race Results

Pos Driver Team Time
1 J. Button McLaren Mercedes 1.33.36.531
2 R. Kubica Renault +12.034
3 F. Massa Ferrari +14.488
4 F. Alonso Ferrari +16.304
5 N. Rosberg Mercedes Benz +16.683
6 L. Hamilton McLaren Mercedes +29.898
7 V. Liuzzi Force India Mercedes +59.847
8 R. Barrichello Williams Cosworth +1.00.536
9 M. Webber Red Bull Renault +1.07.319
10 M. Schumacher Mercedes Benz +1.09.391
11 J. Alguersuari Toro Rosso Ferrari +1.11.301
12 P. De La Rosa Sauber Ferrari +1.14.084
13 H. Kovalainen Lotus Cosworth +2 laps
14 K. Chandhok Hispania HRT +4 laps

Retirements:

Driver Team Lap Reason
T. Glock Virgin 41 Fuel
S. Vettel Red Bull Renault 26 Brake Failure
L. Di Grassi Virgin 25 Hydraulic
A. Sutil Force India 12 Unknown
V. Petrov Renault 10 Accident
B. Senna Hispania HRT 5 Unknown
S. Buemi Toro Rosso Ferrari 1 Accident
N. Hulkenberg Williams 1 Accident
K. Kobayashi Sauber Ferrari 1 Accident
J. Trulli Lotus Cosworth 1 Fuel Pressure

Post Race Interviews

Jenson Button – McLaren Mercedes (1st):  “It is very special.  It has taken me a little while to get to grips inside the car, but the team has been fantastic and welcomed me in.  It is difficult to put it into words, it is a very special feeling and we will take a lot from this. I feel I am building in confidence, and I hope in the next rate we can do something similar as this feels too good.”

Robert Kubica – Renault (2nd):  “To be honest we were not expecting to finish on the podium, for Renault and myself it is a special result. We were pushing hard during the winter and this was the best result we could get for the beginning of the season. This is big thanks to all the guys.  We have to stay realistic, we are not up to pace to finish on the podium normally. We need to keep pushing and I am sure we will manage sooner or later to be on the pace.”

Felipe Massa – Ferrari (3rd):  “I had a fantastic start, without wheelspin, and I saw many cars, especially Fernando and [Mark] Webber having some wheelspin.  I did a very smooth start and passed them in a very good way. I was happy with the start and whole race was very difficult, very slippery and low grip everywhere.  My best result in Australia before was sixth, and in 2007 I had problems in qualifying and started last. It’s not the best race for me in terms of pace, and we lost some positions at the pitstop and a bit on track because of mistakes, so it is fantastic to have one second and one third.”

Fernando Alonso – Ferrari (4th): It was a fantastic result in the end for the team, and for myself as well. So, I was ready to sign before the race for this result – if you win the race you take seven points to your main competitor.  Now, I took 12 points to Vettel, to Michael and to some of the main rivals for the championship. So it has been a much better race in terms of points than Bahrain, if you compare with your main competitor.  I was not convinced that I could recover the positions to get into the points, [but] the car was perfect, and now even thinking through the race and all the analysis – there is the possibility that you can win the race even starting last because the car was so much quicker today than all the others.”

Vitantonio Liuzzi – Force India (7th):  “Another great race and another great result for the team,” said Liuzzi, who charged back from 13th place to score points for the second race in succession.  It’s a confirmation of the pace we showed in Bahrain and the work the team did over the winter.  We worked hard all weekend for this seventh place and it’s a brilliant result at the end of what was a crazy race.”

Michael Schumacher – Mercedes Benz (10th):  “I could have had a good race today so it was a pity that I was hit right after the start,” Schumacher said. “That incident decided my race obviously. But things like that happen and you have to just say ‘that’s racing’.  I had to take the remainder of the race from last position but I have to say that I was still having fun as our pace today was promising and for part of the race, we were going quicker than the top group.  It was nice to pick up a point and we can take that good feeling into the next race where we will look forward to another challenge.”

Heikki Kovalainen – Lotus Cosworth (13th):  “I enjoyed it today and 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 [Virgin’s Timo] Glock dropped out I just focused on keeping up a decent rhythm, not making any mistakes and bringing the car home.  Now we go to Malaysia with a good feeling and we’re all looking forward to that.”

Karun Chandhok – Hispania HRT (14th):  “To finish was very difficult today, and all the more satisfying because of that.  I dedicate this race result to all the mechanics and engineers who worked so hard since Bahrain, without any pre-season testing. This is a fantastic day for the team and a great step forward.  I am proud to have ended our first race. We achieved the best result we could do today. We have to keep pushing and working and we will manage to finish even higher.”

Christian Horner – Red Bull Renault Team Boss:  “Ultimately an extremely disappointing day.  Having been in control of the race, the second in succession, Sebastian unfortunately retired with what looks like a wheel related issue (front left), which certainly cost him a comfortable race win today.  It was cruel luck for him for the second year in a row here in Australia.”

Tony Fernandes – Lotus Racing Team Owner:  “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.”



Lotus Launch Their First New Car Since 1994 – The T127

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’ First Driver Announcement Imminent

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.”

Could Lotus' new driver be Jarno Trulli?