Lotus F1 Racing
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Lotus F1 Racing is run by 1Malaysia F1 Team Sdn. Bhd., a partnership between the Malaysian Government and a consortium of Malaysian entrepreneurs such as Proton (who owns Lotus Cars), Sepang International Circuit (SIC), AirAsia, Naza Motors, the Motorsports Association of Malaysia and Automobile Association of Malaysia. The Malaysian Government, has, however emphasized that the government itself is not going to invest in the team and that the Malaysian government’s investment is only through Proton. The project is part of the 1Malaysia initiative, intended to promote unity amongst Malaysians.
The team was formed after the Litespeed F3 team approached Malaysian entrepreneur Datuk Seri Tony Fernandes. Litespeed had made their own bid to enter the 2010 season with the Team Lotus name, but were not awarded an entry.
It marks the return of the Lotus name as a constructor to Formula One for the first time since 1994, when the original British company Team Lotus stopped competing in Formula One. The connection between the new and old teams is the Lotus name and the owner of Lotus Cars, Proton, being an investor in the present team.
Datuk Seri Tony Fernandes, founder and CEO of the Malaysian-based Tune Ventures, owner of the Air Asia airline, is the team principal. The team's technical director is Mike Gascoyne. However, Fernandes has said that he plans to step down shortly after the 2010 season begins.
The team announced the appointment of Riad Asmat as the Chief Executive Officer of 1Malaysia F1 Team Sdn. Bhd. (1MF1T). Riad Asmat, 38 years-old, was formerly working in the managing director's office of Proton Holdings Berhad as General Manager. In Proton Holdings Berhad in 2006, Riad was tasked with the development of its motorsports programme. This included R3 and Proton Axle Team. Riad also managed the company's involvement in A1 Team Malaysia. Keith Saunt is also appointed as Chief Operating Officer of the team and has been selected to manage the technical organisation in Britain reporting directly to chief technical officer Mike Gascoyne. Saunt was tasked with overseeing technical operations on a day-to-day basis at the team's current facility in Hingham. His previous experience includes senior roles with Team Lotus International, Benetton, Renault and most recently Red Bull Racing, where he held the role of chief operating officer and director of Red Bull Technology.
The team will initially be based at the RTN (Racing Technology Norfolk Ltd.) facility in Norfolk, UK, 10 miles (13 km) from the Lotus Cars factory. The team’s future design, R&D, manufacturing and technical centre will be purpose-built at Malaysia’s Sepang International Circuit.
Following the team's late acceptance into F1 following BMW Sauber's departure Lotus technical director Mike Gascoyne said "We've got a great heritage that we've got to live up to". He also said they wanted to rival the debut of Brawn GP but said that would be a greater challenge as the Brawn team already had a car ready for racing all they needed was financing. He also mentioned the main objective was to have a car on the grid in Bahrain at 2010.
Development of the 2010 car started late, due to the late acceptance of the team's entry. Working with Fondtech on aerodynamics, the team will use engines supplied by Cosworth, and gearboxes from Xtrac. The design was revealed in October 2009 at the start of the wind tunnel programme. On 17 November Mike Gascoyne and Tony Fernandes gave a joint interview saying "we're feeling the pressure of the famous name.". On 7 January 2010 Mike Gascoyne told Autosport that the team's 2010 car is on schedule to be ready for the second winter test at Jerez on 17 February.
On 14 November, Lotus principal Tony Fernandes said to the press that the team had signed their first driver, but without giving any name. One month later, the team announced their drivers for season 2010 as former Toyota driver Jarno Trulli and McLaren's Heikki Kovalainen. Malaysian driver Fairuz Fauzy was also confirmed as the team's test and reserve driver.
- ^ a b Riad Asmat From Proton Is New 1Malaysia F1 Racing Team CEO, Bernama 30 October 2009. Retrieved 2009-10-31.
- ^ 1Malaysia F1 team to be formed (Update 2) The Star online, 15 September 2009. Retrieved 2009-10-31.
- ^ 1 Malaysia F1 Team, Tony to lead, Blogspot 1 September 2009. Retrieved 2009-10-30.
- ^ a b (Parliament) Pelaburan Kerajaan dalam Pasukan F1 Malaysia, Ornithopter (Blogspot), 30 October 2009. Retrieved 2009-10-31.
- ^ "2010 FIA Formula One World Championship - New Entries". Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile. 15 September 2009. http://www.fia.com/en-GB/mediacentre/pressreleases/f1releases/2009/Pages/2010_f1_entries.aspx. Retrieved 17 September 2009.
- ^ a b c d "Lotus confirmed for 2010 as FIA pushes for 14 teams". The Official Formula 1 Website. 15 September 2009. http://www.formula1.com/news/headlines/2009/9/9934.html. Retrieved 15 September 2009.
- ^ No govt equity in 1Malaysia F1 Team project, The Star Online, 26 September 2009. Retrieved 2009-10-31.
- ^ "Exclusive Q&A with Lotus's Tony Fernandes". The Official Formula 1 Website. 2009-09-25. http://www.formula1.com/news/interviews/2009/9/9986.html. Retrieved 2009-11-29.
- ^ Noble, Jonathan (2009-09-18). "Lotus boss plans to step down soon". autosport.com. http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/78691.
- ^ 1 Malaysia Lotus F1 appoints former Proton GM as CEO, The Malaysian Insider, 31 October 2009. Retrieved 2009-10-31.
- ^ "BBC SPORT | Motorsport | Formula 1 | Lotus hope to rival Brawn debut". BBC News. 2009-10-20. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/motorsport/formula_one/8317246.stm. Retrieved 2009-11-27.
- ^ "Lotus target February car launch". BBC News. 2009-10-15. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/motorsport/formula_one/8308035.stm. Retrieved 2009-10-15.
- ^ Lotus reveals 2010 F1 design, Racecar Engineering, 14 October 2009. Retrieved 2009-10-31.
- ^ Benson, Andrew (2009-11-17). "BBC SPORT | Motorsport | Formula 1 | Lotus feel weight of famous name". BBC News. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/motorsport/formula_one/8359642.stm. Retrieved 2009-11-27.
- ^ http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/80763
- ^ "BBC SPORT | Motorsport | Formula 1 | Lotus F1 team sign first driver". BBC News. 2009-11-14. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/motorsport/formula_one/8360705.stm. Retrieved 2009-11-27.
- ^ "Prime Minister announces Lotus F1 Racing 2010 drivers - Lotus F1 Fan Site". http://www.lotusf1racing.my/article/items/prime-minister-announces-lotus-f1-racing-2010-drivers.html. Retrieved 2009-12-14.
- ^ "Trulli, Kovalainen confirmed at Lotus". autosport.com (Haymarket Publications). 2009-12-14. http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/80563. Retrieved 2009-12-23.