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Lotus evoke past glories as new adventure is launched
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Lotus evoke past glories as new adventure is launched
Posted By: James Allen  |  12 Feb 2010   |  9:00 pm GMT  |  78 comments

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.

Lotus 3
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 people in the team at present and most of them were at the launch. Also present were some ex Lotus drivers, Sir Stirling Moss and Nigel Mansell among them.

Most of the engineering team are ex-Toyota, with a 30 strong design office in Cologne, near the old Toyota headquarters. The wind tunnel team is based in Italy. Gascoyne claims that the car went together better in the car build stage than any car he has been involved in before.

Lotus 1
The car looks fairly straight forward without perhaps the intricate refinement of the new cars from the likes of Red Bull or McLaren. But Gascoyne says that it is a solid base on which to build for the future. He knows what it takes to succeed in F1 and is a good planner, so you have to take his word for it.

“Probably we need to take some weight out of some of the components, and we made some design decisions very early on that we’ll want to refine,” he said. “But I have to say I think we’ve designed a very contemporary 2010-spec car. It’s not out of date, it’s very well designed, so I’m not worried – I think we’ve got a very solid base to build on.

“We will be a very solid professional team. We’ll score some points and we’ll spring some surprises towards the end of the year.”

This has been a remarkable effort; the team only pushed the button on building a car five months ago and at that stage there were just four employees including Gascoyne.

The team has done remarkably well to get drivers of the calibre and experience of Jarno Trulli and Heikki Kovalaianen. Both will regard this as a move down and it will be interesting to monitor motivation as the season goes on. But I think they will be fired up to build this team into something – there is an infectious enthusiasm and a family atmosphere about this team, reminiscent of what teams were like in the late 1980s /early 1990s when I started working in this sport.

Lotus are the second new team to reveal their car after Virgin Racing. Team boss Tony Fernandes plans for this to be the only time this year that they follow behind Virgin and said that he has ordered the stockings for Virgin’s Richard Branson to wear when he loses their bet and has to work as a cabin stewardess on Fernandes’ airline. That is the forfeit for whichever of them finishes lower in the championship.

The other two new teams are now in a real race against time. Campos has a car from Dallara and engines, but is struggling to find the funding to pay Dallara and start the season. USF1 meanwhile seems to have the funding, but is running behind on the technical side and is in a race against time to get the car ready for the start of the season in Bahrain.

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1
Jorge Moreira da Costa

Looks beautiful (mostly for the livery) and I really hope it lives to it on track. It would be unfortunate to see a second GB famous brand just making up the numbers (as Jaguar did).

2

I hate that this team is called Lotus. Why did they have to call it Lotus? It’s not Lotus any more than if I make a car and call it a Ferrari. I love small and gutsy teams in F1 – I was really sad when Super Aguri left. But leave great names to their great pasts unless there really is a proper connection. It’s annoying and saddening for big F1 fans and it’s confusing to new or passing fans.

3

Here’s an analogy:

Suppose Luca di Montezemolo, having been unable to get his way on a third car, decide to start a new F1 team. He gets a bunch of laid off Brawn, Sauber and Toyota people (unlikely, I know) and calls it Lancia, but the Lancia road car division is not involved. Would people (esp. the tifosi) accept it as Lancia???

4

Think that’s a bit OTT given the big 4 teams – I would imagine they will take top 6 places at most races

5

Lotus Racing (the new team) has no relation with Team Lotus (the old team). Just before Team Lotus went bankrupt, it was bought by James Hunt’s brother. He wasn’t mentioned in the news related to the new team at all, so he may still have the brand.

The only relation of Lotus Racing is with Lotus Cars but this is another story.

Anyway the car looks quite “square”. I am sure it will be off the pace.

6

May well be more between Lotus F1 Racing and Lotus cars then you think

http://www.lotus-central.com/en/news/356-lotus-evora-cup-testmedia-day.html

7

What just because Trulli do a bit of cross-promotion?!

If Luca di Montezemolo had sat in a Ford Escort it wouldn’t suddenly become a Ferrari.

8

By the way – I know the team isn’t calling itself ‘Team Lotus’ before you say it. It’s the fact that it has ‘Lotus’ in it at all to take advantage of the Team Lotus history – otherwise why not just call it Proton?

9

Lee, sorry but I think you have your own argument mixed up. You originally weren’t arguing as to whether the team is committed or has good staff, or what the pinnacle of motorsport is. Your new points have absolutely nothing to do with whether this team has links to the original Team Lotus – it is the name of the team that offends many fans, not the team’s commitment or staff.

Secondly, do you think that Proton and the Malaysian government ran the original Team Lotus? By the way I know you say ‘Lotus Cars’, but S2K’s post argues (rightly) that this has nothing to do with ‘Team Lotus’, and that a link with ‘Lotus Cars’ is another story. This is no more Team Lotus than it was Jaguar who entered 2000-2004.

10

Proton (backed by Malaysian government), who own group Lotus have pumped money into Lotus F1 racing, Group Lotus have acquired quite a few ex Ferrari staff, with the aim of bringing Lotus motorsport up to the level of Ferrari, they are not going to go to all that expense and have a team called Lotus F1 racing which has nothing to do with Group Lotus are they? I would imagine they see F1 as the pinnacle of motorsport don’t you?

11

Yeah the tiny nose looks weird… maybe Renault and Lotus should share some nose cone material! Lol

12

Love the BRG colour scheme but the car really does look very boxy. Is it perhaps a evolution of the Lotus 109 rather than a new 2010 car. You can’t help but think that all those details found on a 2010 Red Bull, McLaren or a Ferrari appear to be missing here! All that said, I really hope it’s quick!

13

People keep moaning on about it only being Lotus in name and it has no actual link to the Lotus of past, but by the same logic is the Mercedes not just a Mercedes by name alone. Surely there is more Brawn or even Honda to that team than Mercedes?

Same can be said for Renault. Even Mclaren and Williams dont own their team 100%.

I think its great that they are back, even if only in name. The car looks basic, but it will be a strong base to build upon.

What a year in prospect!!!

14

I think trading on the Lotus name is a bit risky, it belonged

to a different era and people. Still, hope they do better than Jaguar…

15

They have the blessing of Clive Chapman (Colin’s son) I understand. I think there might be a little bit of spirit rather than just the name.

16

Sorry gang, but I seem to be the only one (apart from AK) who doesn’t like this colour scheme.

The car looks like a old family car that is owned by a 19 year old who has decided to hot it up a bit, and tried to make his average car look like a classic.

It looks really old fashioned, which may make it hard to attract sponsors, as no one will want to be associated with a old looking back-of-the-field car.

17

I’m delighted to see “Lotus redivivus” racing in F1 again. Love the BRG-based colour scheme, although I think the racing-stripe might have been handled more creatively (and thus the logo, too), but hey, it’s a start!

Now if only McLaren would revert to their proper orange, all would be well!

18

the car looks good. Quite possibly the best of the newcomers.

19

Hopefully it’s front wing will remain attached! 🙂

20

Does this mean then that Petronas Mercedes GP points will not be added to those accumulated by the old ‘silver arrows’ mercedes team. Not trying to be a smart arse just curious?

21

I have a suspicion that not only will Lotus be comfortably the best of the new teams (despite winning its entry far later than the others), but may end up ahead of Toro Rosso in the constructors’ champsionship by the end of the year. For a new team, that would be an excellent achievement.

22

The new Lotus looks pretty good. I definitely like it a lot more than the Virgin car.

Maybe once all teams have launched you should have a poll to see which car people like the look of the most? Or maybe just have the new teams (plus Renault perhaps consider their car looks so different?). I’m sure that new fans to F1 will start following some of the newer teams and the designs probably have a big impact on what teams people will choose to follow.

23

I think the livery looks excellent. The first race I can remember was Portugal ’85 so it’s great to have lotus back in F1, even if it’s just in name.

I think this comment may be a bit much…

“We will be a very solid professional team. We’ll score some points and we’ll spring some surprises towards the end of the year.”

This looks like a comment that will come back to bite them on the rear.

“We will be a very solid professional team. We’ll score some points and we’ll spring some surprises towards the end of the year.”

The points may go up to 10th this year but not only will they’ll need to be faster and smarter/luckier than the existing teams they’ll also have to have amazing reliability. Car failures are as rare in todays F1 as a good race performance by Heikki is.

Also, if the cosworth is really down on performance will they be able to tune it up before the first race or at some point in the season? I know there’s a freeze but having dangerously slow new teams is a special case.

As for the side bet with Branson. I can see this being won by the team scoring the highest non points winning positions and not through points.

Especially if Steffan GP get to race.

24

What an achievement! When you think 5 months ago Lotus only had 5 employees and now they have launched a car, quite impressive.

That said, this car looks like the Force India VJM02 at the front and the F2002 at for the coke bottle.

Glad to see the name and colours are back. The same goes for Gascoygne, Trulli and Kovy.

I also hope they perform better than Virgin so that Sir Dick wears the AirAsia stewardess outfit.

25

It looks great. If Virgin racing don’t improve they will look very foolish, is there stil a rule where you don’t get to race if you are too slow? Used to be 110% of the pole time I think.

26

It was 107% of the pole time and no, it’s not in place any more. Not sure what would happen if a team was 10-15 seconds off the pace.

27

Branson may as well start dressing up now. The Lotus won’t be quick but it won’t be a slug either ( which is what the virgin clearly is )

28

James, can you shed any light on the T127 name? That has the ring of an official Lotus type number (certainly the Evora racer was the Type 124, putting it in the right area), giving the car rather more sanction from Lotus Cars/Team Lotus than is widely reported.

Is the car officially the Lotus Type 127 or has it just been given a name that sounds like it would be what Lotus would have called the car if they’d actually made it?

29

fantastic looking car. Hope it is fast (at least faster than most people are expecting them to be),

30

British racing green should stay in the 60’s; it’s far to bland for today’s F1.

31

Have you seen the new Renault?

32

Yup. That colour scheme should definitely have stayed in the 70’s.

33

i have to disagree.

34

And what about the Bentley which won Le Mans a few years ago? With its british green, the car was fantastic looking.

I find this Lotus F1 scheme very very nice looking, and much better than Virgin, Force India or Sauber.

35

Heikki bears a striking resemblance to circa 1974 Mahavishnu Orchestra’s John McLaughlin!

http://en.espnf1.com/lotus/motorsport/image/8691.html?page=1

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:JohnMcLaughlin.jpg

36

You guys… honestly. You’ve all gone gaga. I know every Brit in the Known Universe wants “Lotus” in F1, but it ain’t really them!

Hell you could go find some other Big Name in History’s Dustbin … like AutoUnion or some such… and buy the name rights for $5 from the 4th cousin of the great grandaughter of the Founders 2nd Ex-wife and it would be about as authentic.

Get a grip!

37

I think the design looks great!

Pleased to have them on the grid. My gut feeling says that Lotus will beat Virgin over the season but we see!

38

What happened to the Lotus logo? It’s just a pizza slice with green and yellow stripes now. Why go the heritage route with the old colour scheme but stuff up the old, famous logo?

39

I think I remember it was a bit of a sticking issue when 1Malysian F1 team applied to enter Formula 1 with the Lotus name.

They could not use the logo as Lotus (the car manufacturer) despite belonging to another Malaysian company (Proton) is a separate entity.

41

Well its not the old original Lotus team, so i doubt they could use the old Logo.

42

Looking at the apparent problems at Virgin, I think it is already safe to say that the money will be on Mr Branson handing you a glass of champagne on your next flight. The Lotus car looks solid (if a bit underdeveloped) and should not prove awful. Testing inaccuracy notwithstanding, Virgin look very far off the pace. This leads me to a question – do they still have a 107% rule in qualifying or can you start a race with a car 9 seconds off the pace? Also Given all the new teams and the rain we have had at Jerez, will the FIA allow all (or just the new) teams some extra testing days to make up?

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