Posted on March 28, 2014


Lotus’ troubled start to the season continued in Sepang as the team’s drivers set a total of just 14 timed laps across both opening practice sessions, with neither driver record a time in FP1 and Pastor Maldonado failing to set a time all day. The Venezuelan was restricted to the garage for much of the morning session in Malaysia but he eventually took the track with 20 minutes remaining. His outing didn’t last long however. Midway through his out lap smoke could be seen pouring from the back of his E22 and he was quickly told to “switch off the More…

Posted on February 20, 2014


Lotus this morning confirmed that it will continue to use Renault power for “2014 and beyond”. “Lotus F1 Team and Renault Sport F1 have enjoyed a successful partnership these past few years and we look forward to continue to build on our relationship and collaboration in 2014 and beyond. It is the beginning of a new era in Formula 1 and we are pleased to embrace it together with Renault Sport F1,” said Lotus CEO Matthew Carter. The deal, which according to a BBC report is for five seasons, continues a partnership begun when Genii Capital bought a majority stake More…

Posted on February 10, 2014


Over the weekend it emerged in the French media that former Citroen and Peugeot motorsport boss Olivier Quesnel is in pole position to take over from Eric Boullier as team principal of Lotus F1 team The role is currently filled on an interim basis by team owner Gerard Lopez, who told L’Equipe newspaper on Saturday that Quesnel is the first choice, but that “The decision is not yet made.” Quesnel, who has a glittering career of success in rally and sportscars, was on the list of candidates four years ago when Lopez hired Boullier for the role and he was More…

Posted on February 7, 2014


The Lotus E22, the final car to hit the track in this pre season build up, should finally get a run out today at Jerez, Spain. It is due to be given a shakedown in preparation for the crucial Bahrain tests starting in a couple of weeks. Pastor Maldonado will drive the car and he tweeted, “Finally back to the track work, planing a filming day in Jerez today. Looking forward to drive the new E22.” Lotus elected to skip the Jerez group test last week, which in retrospect looks like a reasonable plan given the troubles that Renault powered More…

Posted on January 24, 2014


Lotus F1 has announced today that Gerard Lopez has replaced Eric Boullier as team principal with immediate effect. There is speculation that the Frenchman may be moving to McLaren as team principal. Following on from the coup at McLaren last week with Martin Whitmarsh being ousted by Ron Dennis, it’s been a turbulent week for two of the leading teams. “In order to continue strengthening its management structure, to further increase Genii’s role in the team and to close the gap between its strategic, commercial and sporting activities, Lotus F1 Team is pleased to announce that its co-Chairman, Gérard Lopez, More…

Posted on January 20, 2014


Lotus F1 team today announced a new sponsorship deal with Saxo Bank, the long time cycling sponsor putting its toe in the water of F1 for the first time. The deal means fresh budget for the team, which the owner Gerard Lopez admitted recently was over €100 million in debt. It also gives some bilateral marketing benefits with the cycling team which competes for top honours in cycling’s blue riband events like the Tour de France and Giro d’Italia. After Lopez’ interview in Auto Motor und Sport last week in which he admitted the debts but said that the team More…

Posted on January 15, 2014


Amid increasing rumours about the financial viability of the Lotus F1 team, the team’s owner (via his Genii Capital concern), Gerard Lopez, has confirmed the team’s significant debt and spelled out that the investment discussions with the mysterious Quantum Motorsport group are dead. He added that Kimi Raikkonen, who walked out on the team two races from the end of the season, had “got part of his salary, and he will get the rest.” Speaking to Michael Schmidt, from leading German motorsport magazine Auto Motor und Sport, Lopez confirms that the team’s debt is £114 million, of which £80 million More…

Posted on November 22, 2013


The curious situation surrounding the Quantum Group and its investment in Lotus F1 Team has become a little clearer with comments made by its leader Mansoor Ijaz, to our partner site in France, F1i. Angered by an article the site had written about him not being a serious businessman due to his involvement in a semi-nude women’s wrestling video and the non-appearance of funds in the bank account of Lotus’ owner, Luxembourg based Genii Capital, Ijaz contacted the site to explain the position, explaining away the video and claiming that the money had been transferred, but had not been allowed More…

Posted on November 15, 2013


In all the drama of the 11th hour arrival at the Austin circuit yesterday of Heikki Kovalainen, there were strong words from Lotus’ reserve driver Davide Valsecchi, who was passed over for the promotion. GP2 champion Valsecchi has attended every race this year in Lotus colours, waiting for the chance to drive the car, but when the opportunity presented itself, with the injury to Kimi Raikkonen, the team went for Kovalainen. The Italian was called by team principal Eric Boullier on Wednesday and given the news. They went with Kovalainen because of his greater race experience in F1 and his More…

Posted on November 14, 2013


Heikki Kovalainen has appeared in the F1 paddock in Austin and spoken of his surprise and delight at being hired by Lotus for the final two races of the season, standing in for Kimi Raikkonen, who has gone for back surgery ahead of a move to Ferrari next season. Kovalainen was only contacted on Tuesday evening UK time so the deal came together quickly, with the Finn able to spend Wednesday on the simulator and in the Lotus F1 factory having a seat fitting and getting up to speed with the technology on the Lotus car. He has done a More…

Posted on November 1, 2013


Lotus F1 team owner Gerard Lopez has issued a fascinating post on the team’s website, seeking to throw a fire blanket over the fallout with his lead driver Kimi Raikkonen after the exchange of profanities on radio during the Indian Grand Prix and Raikkonen’s proposed “no show” this weekend. Raikkonen had to be persuaded to come and participate this weekend, after the latest difficult moment between team and driver in what has been a tricky period since he announced he was moving to Ferrari next season. Raikkonen has gone public again this weekend on the fact that the team has More…

Posted on October 31, 2013


[Updated] The F1 driver market is starting to kick into gear for next season with the logjam over who will drive for Lotus appearing close to clearing. Although Pastor Maldonado remains tight lipped, it seems that he has signed or is about to sign for Lotus for next year, Venezuelan oil backer PDVSA having reached an agreement with Williams over severance. “At the moment I don’t have any confirmation. We will see later. I hope to have a clearer idea before the end of the season,” said Maldonado in Abu Dhabi this afternoon. “There is a lot of speculation. It’s More…

Posted on October 14, 2013


Nico Hulkenberg is the driver in demand at the moment after a series of outstanding performances at the wheel of the Sauber. The 26 year old German is firmly believed to have signed a contract to move away from Sauber next year, but interestingly, there are conflicting reports about where he is headed. Several pundits, including BBC’s Eddie Jordan, believe he is going back for Force India, for whom he raced in 2012, while Gazzetta dello Sport in Italy has announced that he has signed for Lotus, the official announcement due imminently. Hulkenberg, now managed by Werner Heinz, who managed More…

Posted on August 24, 2013


Kimi Raikkonen has spoken about his contractual situation with Lotus and the interest in him from Red Bull Racing, saying Lotus know what they have to do to keep him. After showing consistently impressive form since his comeback, the Finn is in demand and has been speaking to several leading teams. Raikkonen has consistently said that he is happy at Lotus and that being in the right environment is as important to him as everything else. But as one of the highest paid drivers in F1, he needs the confidence that the team will be able to deliver to his More…

Posted on July 24, 2013


As discussed in our UBS Race Strategy Briefing yesterday, Lotus has a real chance to win the Hungarian Grand Prix this weekend. But the key will be qualifying towards the front of the grid. So we thought we’d make that the subject of a competition. At the same time, we are delighted to offer a limited edition JA on F1 “Speed Merchants” T shirts with a logo that means a lot to me, as it combines the style and spirit of racers of the 1960s. It’s a cool collectible; “Speed Merchants” says it all really, it’s what the sport is More…

Posted on July 14, 2013


Red Bull’s preferred method of winning races is to do the damage to the opposition at the start, create a margin and then manage the race from there. But the lap time traces from the German Grand Prix show that Lotus got a bit too close for comfort, according to JA on F1 technical adviser Mark Gillan. “Vettel tends not to push too hard in the second half of the race,” says Gillan. “But in Germany he had to push because Raikkonen was catching. If you study the traces you can see that Raikkonen took a bit too much out More…

Posted on July 8, 2013


There is always some movement of drivers in F1 from one season to another and there is usually one driver who holds everything up. This year the situation is slightly different as the retirement of Mark Webber creates an opening at the sport’s top team, Red Bull. This has fired a starting gun on driver movements for 2014. As a result there is some action in the paddock with drivers’ agents getting busy making conversation with team bosses. Kimi Raikkonen is in the frame for the Red Bull ride, up against Daniel Ricciardo and Jean Eric Vergne. While Sebastian Vettel More…

Posted on June 18, 2013


Lotus F1 boss Gerard Lopez has sold a 35% stake in the team to Infinity Racing, a consortium of investors with US and Middle Eastern backgrounds. The team hopes that this investment will give the team the financial boost it needs to challenge current top dogs Red Bull and Ferrari for wins and championships. Lopez’ Genii Capital concern will continue to hold a controlling stake of 65% in the team and Lopez remains as Chairman and his partner Eric Lux as a director. Infinity’s chairman is Mansoor Ijaz and the deputy chairman is Suhail Al Dhaheri, CEO of the Abu More…

Posted on May 8, 2013


The Lotus F1 team has today announced that technical director James Allison is to leave the team and that Nick Chester has succeeded him as technical director. While Chester’s credentials for the role are unquestionably strong, the loss of an innovator like James Allison is a blow to the team, which has made great progress in the last two years on a significantly lower budget than the other front running teams. Allison is much in demand among the top F1 teams in an engineering arms race as F1 heads to a new formula from 2014 onwards. Under Allison Lotus has More…

Posted on April 20, 2013


One of the biggest surprises in Saturday’s qualifying session for the Bahrain Grand Prix was the performance of the Lotus cars, with Kimi Raikkonen 9th fastest and Romain Grosjean 11th. They were the pace setters on Friday, set the fourth fastest time in Saturday morning practice and Raikkonen set a competitive Q2 time in 1m 33.146, the third fastest time in that session. So what happened? According to Lotus’ Trackside Operations Director, Alan Permane, the result is something of a mystery. They believed – and many other teams agreed with the view – that Raikkonen could win this race, based More…

Posted on March 22, 2013


Kimi Raikkonen, the winner of the Australian Grand Prix, eradicated any doubts that his Melbourne performance was due to exceptional weather and track conditions by topping the time sheets in Sepang on Day 1 of the Malaysian Grand Prix weekend. With track temperatures over 30 degrees, the 33 year old Finn edged out Sebastian Vettel’s Red Bull and Felipe Massa’s Ferrari, but the margins were tight; just 9/100ths of a second separated first and third. Lotus’ technical director James Allison confirmed that only Raikkonen had the new updates on his car today, with Romain Grosjean thus disadvantaged. Lotus has a More…

Posted on January 28, 2013


Lotus became the first F1 team to unveil its new car, when it pulled the wraps off the E21 in front of an audience live online via You Tube and on Sky Sports News in the UK. The launch was handled by team owner Gerard Lopez and team principal Eric Boullier, while technical director James Allison together with the drivers Romain Grosjean and Kimi Raikkonen pulled the wraps off the car. Raikkonen said that he believes the team has what it takes to win the world title. Boullier said third place is the target for the 2013 season, which is More…

Posted on January 23, 2013


The Lotus F1 Team has announced that it will pull the covers of its 2013 challenger, the E21, in an online ceremony on Monday 28th January, making it the first 2013 Formula 1 contender to break cover. Fans can join in the fun, as the whole event will be streamed live from the team’s base in Enstone; the launch will be broadcast on the team’s YouTube channel – http://www.youtube.com/lotusf1team – from 19:15 (GMT) / 20:15 (CET). We will have technical analysis of the new car soon after the launch here on JA on F1. So be sure to check in More…

Posted on January 7, 2013


Lotus F1 boss Gerard Lopez has set his team a bold objective for this season: finish in the top three of the Constructors’ championship table this year and end the season on the same level as the best teams. Last season Lotus ended up fourth after a strong year, particularly with Kimi Raikkonen, who was third in the Drivers’ standings ahead of both McLaren drivers. But if their other driver Romain Grosjean had been more consistent they might have gone some way towards bridging the 75 point gap to McLaren. The Frenchman scored just 96 points compared to his team More…

Posted on December 17, 2012


Lotus has finally confirmed that Romain Grosjean will retain his seat at the team for next season, with the Frenchman vowing to put the lessons learnt from his turbulent 2012 into practice. Although the 26-year-old had been expected to be kept on alongside Kimi Raikkonen for a second straight season the delay in the reconfirmation suggested the Enstone team’s hierarchy was carefully taking its time to ensure Grosjean was ready to make improvements in 2013. As while the Frenchman, after resurrecting his career in GP2 following his brief ill-fated initial F1 stint with the same team in 2009, showed his More…

Posted on November 4, 2012


Kimi Raikkonen was his usual enigmatic self this evening after taking his first win since 2009 in his comeback season with Lotus. Asked, “How long will your celebrations of this win last ?” the notoriously bibulous Finn said, “I have almost two weeks. As long as I manage to get myself to the next race I think the team is happy. Maybe I will try to get home at some point.” However this light hearted response belies his general tone when speaking about his win after today’s race; he has been refusing to get carried away, describing it as “just More…

Posted on October 29, 2012


Kimi Raikkonen will drive for the Lotus F1 team again next season, a move which was widely anticipated, after no real sign that he was in the running for a seat at Ferrari, McLaren Red Bull or Mercedes, all of whom have confirmed their drivers this summer. There is no word in the statement about the future of Lotus’ other driver Romain Grosjean. Raikkonen’s comeback from two years away in rallying has been very impressive, he lies third in the drivers championship, the after a competitive season, with six podiums among 16 points scoring results out of 17 races. Only More…

Posted on October 20, 2012


During his first Formula 1 career Kimi Raikkonen’s dislike for sponsor and media engagements was almost as well-chronicled as his achievements on the track. But second time round, and with perhaps a greater freedom and desire to go in his own direction, the 2007 world champion has become involved in something very different with a clothing company from his homeland in Finland. Makia Clothing has signed the Lotus driver to be the ‘face’ of its new motorsport range and to launch the partnership has got the 33-year-old to star in a viral video campaign. The first teaser clip played on More…

Posted on September 4, 2012


Jerome D’Ambrosio will race in place of the suspended Romain Grosjean’s for Lotus at this weekend’s Italian Grand Prix, the team has as expected confirmed, marking the former Virgin driver’s competitive return to a race environment for the first time since the end of last season. Although some of the bigger name drivers currently on the F1 sidelines were immediately linked to the one-off drive after Grosjean’s one-race ban for causing Sunday’s first-corner pile-up at Spa was announced, it was logical that Lotus would turn to their well-regarded Belgian test and reserve driver to fill the void at Monza. The More…

Posted on August 23, 2012


The Summer break has dragged on, with all F1 factories shut down for two weeks since the last Grand Prix. But that does not mean that nothing has been happening. Behind the scenes F1 is moving forward on several fronts, at the same time as keeping an eye on the prosecutor’s office in Munich for any signs of a follow up to the conviction of Gerhard Grobkowsky, who said he had accepted a “bribe” from F1 commercial boss Bernie Ecclestone. The teams are closing in on a deal to secure their involvement for the medium term, the next 8 years. More…

Posted on July 4, 2012


Formula 1 will move into a more environmentally-friendly era when the next generation engine formula is introduced in two years’ time and amid on-going attempts by teams to improve their own sustainability and efficiency Lotus has unveiled its new solar-powered simulator building. The construction of the new state-of-the-art race facility adjacent to the main building at its Enstone base, which has been fully operational for the past few months and was revealed to the media this week, has been used as a platform to further reduce the team’s dependency on traditional energy sources, which has been ongoing since the Genii More…

Posted on May 20, 2012


Commercial partnerships and collaborations in F1 are commonplace, with most teams having “technology partners”, “performance partners”, “logistics partners and so on. Now the Lotus F1 team has gone one step further and found an “angry partner”; Rovio, the Finnish company behind the popular Angry Birds game. It’s a tongue in cheek story, but designed to draw attention to a couple of significant milestones for both companies. “While Lotus F1 Team will contest its 500th Grand Prix in Monaco, the No.1 digital game in the world – Angry Birds – has just reached 1 billion downloads. As a result, both brands More…

Posted on April 11, 2012


Group Lotus has moved to deny suggestions that it has ended its formal involvement in Formula 1, the sportscar firm revealing details of a “reshaped” arrangement with the Lotus F1 Team that has seen its owner Proton give the Enstone outfit a £30m loan. In an astonishingly strongly-worded statement issued by the British-based manufacturer this evening hitting back at what it claims have been “mistruths” concerning both its F1 involvement going forward and the wider situation at the company, Group Lotus sought to clarify its relationship with Lotus F1 and Genii Capital following Gerard Lopez’s comments at the end of More…

Posted on April 10, 2012


The Lotus F1 Team has tonight issued a statement clarifying the intention of a report from which quotes attributed to representatives of the team appeared in an official Bahrain Grand Prix press release earlier today, the Enstone team saying it had been meant for confidential use only. On a further day of frenetic reporting over the situation in the Gulf kingdom ahead of F1’s scheduled return next week, Sakhir organisers took the opportunity to go on the offensive in wake of the increasing stream of negative reports with race chairman Zayed Al Zayani claiming “scaremongering tactics” had created “huge misconceptions” over the More…

Posted on April 6, 2012


The use of the Lotus name in Formula 1 proved one of the most bitter and protracted sagas of recent times but a story that appeared to reach its resolution late last year has today taken a dramatic new turn with the revelation that the recently-rebranded Lotus F1 Team has cut all sponsorship ties with Group Lotus, little more than one season into a seven-year deal. Genii Capital co-owner Gerard Lopez, whose Luxembourg-based investment company owns the Enstone-based former Renault team outright, has told Autosport that the title sponsorship agreement that he signed with Group Lotus in late 2010 has More…

Posted on February 29, 2012


Lotus will return to the track at Barcelona on Thursday with its technical director James Allison confident that the chassis problems that forced it to pull out of last week’s test – which have now been confirmed as issues with the mounting of the upper front wishbone – have been fixed following an “intense” few days at its Enstone factory. After a promising start to pre-season when Romain Grosjean set the pace for 2012 cars at Jerez, the Frenchman reported the new second chassis as feeling strange on his first flying lap of the second test at the Circuit de More…

Posted on February 5, 2012


The team formerly known as Renault officially launched its new Lotus era today by unveiling its new car with the relatively low-key target of moving up one place to fourth in the constructors’ championship in 2012. The Genii Capital-owned outfit revealed the E20 – the ‘E’ in reference to Enstone, the team’s home of 20 years – on the internet but, rather than a live stream, released a novel pre-recorded broadcast from its factory which included the car’s unveil, interviews with drivers and management, along with behind-the-scenes footage. The black and gold-liveried challenger features the in-vogue stepped nose, but is More…

Posted on October 5, 2010


The ambitious Lotus F1 team has announced that it will use gearboxes and hydraulics from Red Bull Technology next season – which it will marry with a Renault engine. The engine deal is likely to be announced shortly. Effectively it will have a back end similar to the one which is competing for the championship this year and this will provide not only better performance but also better reliability. This year, in common with all the new teams, Lotus has been using Xtrac gearboxes and hydraulics and the hydraulics in particular have proven unreliable. Lotus and Cosworth announced their separation More…

Posted on September 27, 2010


The row over the use of the Lotus brand in F1 has been bubbling under the surface for a long time and today it went public. Proton, the owner of Group Lotus, which makes road cars said that the F1 team had no rights to use the name Lotus. This followed an announcement at the weekend that Tony Fernandes’s Lotus F1 team had acquired the rights to the Team Lotus name from David Hunt, who has owned it since 1994. From next season Tony Fernandes’ outfit will be called Team Lotus. He has made this move in order to bring More…

Posted on September 13, 2010


The Lotus Formula 1 team is making some bold moves forward as it nears the end of its first season in Formula 1. The team, established exactly one year ago by Tony Fernandes, the Malaysian music to airlines entrepreneur and F1 engineer Mike Gascoyne, will soon be renamed Team Lotus and this weekend it inked a deal with Renault for a technical collaboration involving two years supply of engines, gearboxes and KERS system. The technical deal is similar to the one Force India enjoys with McLaren Mercedes. For a small team to get the entire drive train from an established More…

Posted on August 14, 2010


When I was doing some behind the scenes filming at the Lotus factory in Norfolk, I came across a room which houses the chassis mock up, made of what looked like clay, which the team built over the winter prior to building their first car. This is also where the drivers have their seat fitting, making sure they actually fit in the cockpit. It was amazing to see perfect replicas of the Cosworth engine, the fuel tank, the oil tank and so on, which the engineers and mechanics spent hours on, like a giant Lego set to make sure the More…

Posted on May 19, 2010


When Rubens Barrichello threw his steering wheel out of the car in Monaco on Sunday, the electronics engineers and the accountants at Williams will have screamed. Those things are packed full of incredibly complex electronics and are expensive – over £40,000 a piece! If you want to know more, I’ve done a behind the scenes video on the secrets contained in an F1 steering wheel and now seems like the perfect time to show it. The drivers are very busy at the wheel nowadays during a Grand Prix. In addition to the clutch and gear change functions on the back More…

Posted on February 12, 2010


Lotus unveiled their new team, car and drivers in London this evening. It was a professional and understated presentation, the key themes were passion and heritage rather than promises and hype. Team boss Tony Fernandes is a builder of brands and here he has pulled together various strands into this team, leaning heavily on the heritage of the Lotus name. But the Chapman family who founded Lotus are fully behind him and were at the launch, also behind him are Mike Gascoyne and his experienced technical team made up of former Toyota, Super Aguri and Renault staff. There are 160 More…

Posted on December 14, 2009


The new Lotus F1 team has revealed the scale of its ambition by announcing that Jarno Trulli and Heikki Kovalainen, both race winners in F1, will drive for the team in its debut season next year. From the point of view of the drivers this is a big vote of confidence in technical director Mike Gascoyne, who worked with Trulli at Renault and Toyota. Lotus boss Tony Fernandes has empowered Gascoyne, given him the resources he asked for to get the job done and to have two highly experienced drivers, both of whom are capable of extracting the maximum performance More…

Posted on December 4, 2009


Tony Fernandes, the team Principal of the new Lotus F1 team will deliver the keynote address on the first day of the 2009 Motor Sport Business Forum in Monaco. All eyes will be on the Grimaldi Forum next Wednesday morning as Fernandes, talks about his new team, his innovative ideas for sponsorship and monetisation of the team and his ambitions within Formula One. I will be putting the questions to him. Send me a suggestion for a question and if I like it and think it’s appropriate, I’ll add it to the list. Fernandes has been a sponsor in F1 More…



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