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On The Grid: Lotus
Lotus are back in the Championship and aiming to improve
Posted Jun 24, 2011 by Chris White
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The British team joined the Formula One championship back in 2010 after being formed by Malaysian businessmen, who were given permission by Lotus owners Proton to use the brand in Formula One. Their application to join the championship was granted after BMW announced their withdrawal at the end of the 2009 season.
Lotus had spent many years in the F1 championship before dropping out in 1994. The team is based in Norfolk, just 10 miles from the Lotus factory. Tony Fernandes, the owner of the Tune Group and Air Asia is the man behind the project, and he has the experience of Heikki Kovalainen and Jarno Trulli behind the wheel again in 2011.
2008 saw Kovalainen claim both his first pole position, at the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, and his first race win, at the Hungarian Grand Prix, where he became the 100th driver to win a Formula One Grand Prix while with McLaren, before making the move to Lotus in 2009.
The experienced Jarno Trulli, who has race victories and pole positions with Toyota earlier in his career, is a valuable asset to the team and will help Lotus develop the car, despite a tough season in 2010 where he suffered a number of reliability issues.
Lotus were the best place team out of the three newcomers in 2010, which included Hispania Racing and Virgin, but managed to score no points. They did have the best-placed finish thanks to Kovalainen’s 12th place at the Japanese Grand Prix.
The team had a complete revamp prior to the 2011 season, changing their name to “Team Lotus”, and developing their factory, changing their website and introducing a new team logo.
The season hasn’t gone as well as hoped, with no points on the board for either driver as yet, with Trulli posting the team’s best finishes, coming thirteenth in Bahrain and Monaco.