F1 Winter Break
Team Lotus on entry list for 2011 F1 championship, Trulli and Kovalainen confirmed
Team Lotus on entry list for 2011 F1 championship, Trulli and Kovalainen confirmed
Posted By: James Allen  |  30 Nov 2010   |  4:33 pm GMT  |  68 comments

The FIA has just issued the entry list for next year’s world championship. Ten of the 24 seats have yet to be filled and the main story is that Tony Fernandes’ team, which was known as Lotus Racing this year is officially registered as Team Lotus, the historic name that Fernandes purchased, or is in the process of purchasing, from David Hunt.

Team Lotus won 79 Grands Prix and seven constructors’ championships in its original guise, between 1958 and 1994.

At the same time the team is retaining the two drivers from this season Jarno Trulli and Heikki Kovalainen, meaning no place for Bruno Senna, who had hoped to move from Hispania.

There has been quite a bit of action behind the scenes on this story in the last few months, as Group Lotus, run by Danny Bahar, was trying to stop Fernandes using the Lotus brand in F1 and withdrew the licence from Group Lotus, which Fernandes negotiated for this season.

Bahar has been trying to bring Group Lotus into F1 and was negotiating with Renault about a link up with its F1 team.

The dispute between the two Lotus entities is still ongoing and there is due to be an appearance at the High Court in London at some point next year to resolve the matter, but what appears to have happened in the last few weeks is that the proposed deal between Group Lotus and Renault F1 team, whereby Lotus would become title sponsor and potentially shareholder, has been delayed as Fernandes’ claims to the Team Lotus rights seems to be prevailing.

Today’s announcement from the FIA rather underlines that. It is worth pointing out that this is not a finalised list, some names may change, but any change of chassis name will require F1 commission permission.

I’m told unofficially on the one hand that Bahar and Fernandes have been told by the Malaysian government to try to work together rather than continue to create a confusion over Lotus branding. This is something which Team Lotus would be prepared to do, but Group Lotus and its owners Proton have other ideas. If this is forced on both sides, it will be an uncomfortable arrangement at best and there is bound to be plenty more horse trading before the season starts.

However there are also suggestions that the tie up between Group Lotus and Renault F1 is still going ahead as planned. That deal was due to go through on the Wednesday after Abu Dhabi and there are suggestions that there will be some movement on this soon.

Today’s announcement is a significant stepping stone in this story, but not the final chapter.

Renault F1 Team is still currently registered under its original name with no Lotus tie-up.

Other items of interest are that Williams is still down as AT&T Williams, the title sponsorship still in place for the moment and there is no sign yet of Pastor Maldonado as team mate to Rubens Barrichello.

Force India appears to have both seats to be confirmed, which is interesting as Tonio Liuzzi has a contract for next year, in theory. The team is known to be negotiating with Nico Hulkenberg, who was released by Williams despite his pole position in Brazil.

Also interesting is that Toro Rosso names neither of the drivers it confirmed earlier in the year – Jaime Alguersuari and Sebastien Buemi. There is no word on the second driver at Renault, while HRT and Virgin both have two seats available.

Peter Sauber’s team reverts to the name Sauber F1, dropping the BMW after an extra season following the BMW withdrawal. He has both Kamui Kobayashi and Sergio Perez confirmed for next season.

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Excellent news re Team Lotus. Tony has had a lot of support from the fan base, most of whom accept David Hunt's ownership and sale of the Team Lotus brand to Tony.

Will Force India sign up half a dozen drivers again only to disappoint most of them? SStill it was good having Karun in the 5Live commentary box on several occasions. But there is no shortage of ex/current F1 drivers to fill the commentary boxes of all the world.

Once again it's all about money, so many excellent drivers who never got a chance in a half decent car because they don't come with the necessary millions in their pocket.


I still think that we'll have Lotus Renault next year and that Team Lotus will have to look for a new name. It's only a money issue for now.

James, if Team Lotus or Renault change names, they'll loose the FOM money unless there's a unanimous agreement from the other teams. It's not an issue for Tony Fernandez as he'll receive money for letting the LOTUS name and his team is only tenth in the standings. But for Lotus Renault (Genii and Proton) they'll loose a handful of millions dollars and that may be much more harmful for them. I don't see Williams letting Renault going away with it as they might be their main opponents next year.

Sauber will also loose the FOM money. By the way that's really a strange rule that a team which changes its name needs the agreement from the others to receive the money deserved for sporting competitiveness. Sauber needs and deserves that money.


I agree. I do hope this is the case and the powers that be in the Malaysian Government have "convinced" Group Lotus to see sense. Seems utterly pointless to get involved and sponsor another team, when they effectively have "free" advertising on the grid anyway - seems to be all about ego of certain people at Group Lotus, in my humble opinion.

I'm sure they'll be another twist in the story though......


I agree. Pushing through the Renault takeover seems to be purely a matter of egos for the guys behind it (Bahar and probably Lopez).

I'd understand more if Lotus Racing had been an embarrassment, but they've turned out fine. For group Lotus, the only real advantage of the Renault deal over the current situation is that race-wins can be expected reasonably quickly (perhaps as soon as next season) while podiums are almost a certainty. The Endstone team has four championships under its belt after all. And they have Kubica. In that respect it also makes more sense than the Sauber/STR tie-ups that were mooted a few months ago.

Other than that, it's a most unsound plan. Perhaps Bahar has already made commitments he cannot get out of? Or perhaps he isn't interested in running Lotus unless he can achieve all his ambitions in the short term. Such an attitude would explain the aggressive (and "un-Chapmanesque") revision of the Lotus Cars model line-up as well.

On the whole, the expensive Renault tie-up doesn't seem to be the most sensible course of action for a company that hasn't made a profit in a while. Especially since Team Lotus:


-is independent (like it always was!)

-is liked by the fans (or rather: has fans while the re-invented Lotus Cars hasn't really)

-has ties to the Chapmans and Old Team Lotus (which, impertinently, is central to Lotus Cars' marketing strategy even though they have no ties to F1 themselves)

And don't get me started on the way Group Lotus have carried themselves since Bahar's arrival. Their attitude in this whole affair has been infuriating.


Agree, i was pleased when i saw its Team Lotus next year. Regardless of it being "the original" team or not is irrelevent to me, to have Team Lotus back in F1, and under a team that has won a lot of supporters is wonderful news. Best of luck to them in 2011 & in the High Court, if it goes that far.


Full list: http://fia.com/en-GB/mediacentre/pressreleases/f1releases/2010/Pages/f1_2011_entry.aspx

Interesting how Button has #3 and Hamilton #4, even though Hamilton came ahead in 2010. Is it because Button more recently won the World Championship?


team orders I guess. McLaren should be fined 100K for that


More like $100m if Ferrari have anything to do with it.


Maybe McLaren have gone for alphabetical order for their drivers?


i don't get that either - schumi is also ahead of rosberg. although number allocation is inconsequencial to performance, i would have thought that these 'competitive animals' would want to stamp down their authority if they finished ahead of their team mate in the previous year - to get any sort of 'edge'.


ye i saw that. and how come alonso isn't number 3?


McLaren is 2nd in the constructors championship, that's why they have their numbers after the team winning the driver's title.


It's based on constructors' championship rankings, unless your team has the world champion driver in which case you get 1 and 2 by default. McLaren finished 2nd in the constructors' championship, hence they get 3 and 4. Ferrari finished 3rd so they get 5 and 6, Mercedes 7 and 8 and so on. Used to be even more confusing when the teams were able to pick their numbers without any relation to how they performed the previous year - that could really get confusing!

As for Button, I would imagine it's because he had the first car out of McLaren's two on the list last season by way of having the number 1 to his name, and they probably didn't see much point in swapping them around for this year. Also helps deflect any claims of favouritism towards Lewis which may have resulted HAD they swapped numbers...


McLaren are numbered 3 and 4 as they were 2nd in the Constructors Championship.


The DWC takes number one with him while the order thereafter follows from the Constructors' standings. Since Ferrari were third, Alonso starts with number five.


Because # 1 & 2 are reserved for the world champion and his teammate, from then on it goes by the order of the teams in the constructors championship. McLaren came second in the Constructors championship so they automatically get 3 & 4, and so on from there...


because Maclaren were 2nd in the constructors championship, I assume.


Constructor finishing positions determine the car numbers after the driver WDC 1 and team mate have been assigned.

I wonder if Hamilton and Button tossed a coin?


@Nick: From #3 onwards, numberings are by the previous seasons constructor positions rather than driver positions.


after the world champion's team, the numbers are allocated by constructors i.e. mclaren came second in constructors title.


Because the first two numbers are given to the team with the drivers champion. And the rest of the numbers are assigned the numbers in constructor order.


Numbers from 3 upward go by constructors points, not drivers.

"The way the cars are numbered is as follows: numbers 1 and 2 are appointed to the team for which the World Drivers' Champion will drive in the next season; after that, the final classification of the Constructors' Championship is followed. Thus, for the 2000 season the numbering was: 1 & 2 McLaren (because Mika Hakkinen was World Champion), 3 & 4 Ferrari (Constructors' Champion), 5 & 6 Jordan (3rd in Constructors' Championship) and so on down to 22 & 23 for BAR, who came last in 1999. Jaguar was considered to be the continuation of Stewart Grand Prix, and therefore took numbers 7 & 8. Number 13 is skipped in the awarding of the numbers, since many people consider it unlucky."



The WDC winner gets car no.1 for the next season and his teammate gets car no.2. The rest of the numbers are allotted to teams based on their rankings in the constructors' championship. Since McLaren were second in the constructors' championship, they get nos. 3&4


Cause Ferrari came 3rd in the constructors?


Or maybe Button is superstitious, like Schumi 😀


It is incredulous that the teams are now testing parts of their new cars. Lewis is driving his in the simulator and yet the 2011 regs have yet to be published. Teams seem to be going on the nods and winks that have accompanied various suggestions for rule changes.

Previously the FIA was obliged to give 18 months notice of new specifications.

We hear that there will be moveable rear wings, or is it only flaps? (under ridiculous totally unenforceable usage restrictions) And that front flaps MAY be banned. Also that the F duct is banned but then it is not, only the driver movement activation is banned. So as far as I can see a whole field of cars is being built upon speculation when the FIA should have released the firm regs months ago.

KERS is rumoured to be permitted only at the same desultory development strangling levels as before, totally negating any greenish leanings.

What is going on at the FIA? Are they trying to ensure that only teams with huge resources available are able to comply with different late published regs and change design in the last few months to comply, it certainly looks extremely unfair on the smaller teams.


FOTA are the driving force behind the rule changes, not the FIA.

So if it "Looks extremely unfair on the smaller teams", you know where to apportion blame, and we all know how much Ferrari disapprove of the new teams 😉


Not sure if this 100%, but generally its the teams engineers that sit down in working groups with FIA, to draft the rules. So considering they are involved in the drafting, they know what will be the correct specifications!


Hi James, is there any word on the future of Paul Di Resta at Force India? I reckon the guy deserves a chance to show what he's got, looked pretty handy in the free practices he took part in this year and he beat vettel to the F3 title in the same car, whats your opinion of Paul Aand his chances of getting a race seat?

Thanks and keep up the good work, also love the fact that you put plenty of Darren Heath's work on here, his stuff is stunning.


How come Lewis is No4 when he finished higher in the championship than Jenson?


Alphabetical order, maybe?


From Wikipedia:

"Each driver is assigned a number. The previous season's champion is designated number 1, with his team-mate given number 2. Numbers are then assigned in order according to each team's position in the previous season's constructors' championship. The number 13 is not used."

As far as I know, it is up to the teams to pick which driver gets which number (Redbull being the exception this year of course). My guess is that McLaren awarded the numbers based on the fact that Button is the more recent WDC of the two.


I'm glad they are on the grid. They seem to get a lot of stick, and I'm not quite sure why that is. Perhaps it's the idea of them coming in and 'buying' their history rather than starting from scratch. Surely that's just a bit of fluff for the marketing department, and most people can see that they are making a geuine effort to be a proper race team.

I'm pretty happy that they've kept their existing drivers, too. Taking on Senna after his record this year would have been mad (I know driving that HRT may not be a fair crack of the whip, but he got spanked by Klien). It will be nice to see their new black and gold paint job.


"Senna got spanked by Klien"

Guess you didn't watch the last GP of the season.


In fact it was only singapore quali where Klien did better than Senna! Overall Senna's racecraft over the last few GP's was much better.


I'd heard the spec of the two hrt cars was different from about half way through the season....

James, was that just something dreamt up or do you know anything on this?


I think this Lotus issue should be decided just like the Malaysian government suggested. Why fight over this when you can join efforts for the sake of the team? It's money talking, there is no interest in the sport whatsoever, it's just commercial stuff, sales, marketing... When the sport should come ALWAYS first.

Kinda annoyed with all of this Lotus crap.

Mark - Anacortes

From what I've heard, Mr. Hunt originally offered to sell the "Team Lotus" branding to Proton, but they never got back to him on it. They weren't interested at the time. Now that Mr. Fernandez has made it a going concern, suddenly Proton (Group Lotus) is interested, falsely claiming a racing pedigree that they don't have. It is just as ludicrous as if Tony Fernandez started claiming he made great road cars.


Hope Paul di Resta can make his F1 debut in 2011, certainly a very fast and intelligent driver.

Petrov is the Nº1 candidate for Renault seat, he was seen hanging around RF1 factory last week.

I think a lot of people are disappointed with the whole Lotus affair, it's doing the marque no good, while Tony is not an innocent freedom fighter and no hero. He's an entrepreneur and a super clever one, the opportunity was there so he seized it. They obviously did a great job in 2010 so all credit to him/his team of workers. But there are no altruists in this world,certainly not in F1!


if i was force india i would boot sutil and liuzzi and hire hulkenburg and di resta. both this years drivers have had enough time in f1 now and neither look like superstars. the two young guns look like they have more potential and should be given there chance.


I hope Nico gets a drive. He did well I think for a rookie


i was under the impression that AT&T were staying as williams title sponsor anyway? i know they are losing Phillips RBS etc but i didnt think AT&T were leaving


So no bruno at Lotus? Shame


Yeah the Senna eyes and iconic crash helmet sat in a black & gold Team Lotus would have been a big story. I think Lotus are wise to stick with Jarno & Heikki though. Hope Bruno gets a drive somewhere though.


For Proton (who could have been laughing their socks off) when they stop and think, they did have the best deal possible, but they have now blown it.

I suppose it all depends on how you look at it. If I were running Proton's PR I would think as follows:

I've got Tony Fernandes pushing the Lotus name for me, which keeps Lotus in peoples minds and promotes my road/sports cars and it's not costing me a penny!

While as Proton Renault I have my name in front of millions of punters who otherwise may never hear it.

If major F1 sponsorship does not sell product, then Bernie, the teams, et al have all been conning everyone since the dawn of......

So the smart move for Baha would have been to say "Oh all right, you do it then Tony and we will sponsor Team Renault.




I think that it is very unfair on Buemi/Alguersuari to not have them on the list when they had previously been confirmed earlier in the season.

Why do (and I am assuming here) Helmut Marko and Franz Tost insist on playing Machiavellian tricks on them before the winter break has even really got underway?

Would it not be better to support them and if they dont cut the mustard with full support then cast them off and bring Ricciardo in. No excuses can be bandied round that they were under pressure etc etc

Especially when you consider the cotton wool they wrap Vettel in......

If you are not on their side it appears to be:

"If you're right you're wrong and if you're wrong you're f****d


I hope Force India don't bottle it and finally do give Paul Di Resta his long-awaited and thoroughly-deserved shot at F1 - winning the F3 Euroseries against stiff opposition and the DTM have got to count for something in addition to his performances on a Friday.

If rumours that Hulkenberg turned his nose up at a year at HRT then he would only have himself or his management to blame if he were to end up without a drive next season, it would be totally unjust for him to scupper the chance of someone who deserves a place in F1 on merit.


Race drivers are famously superstitious, so my guess is that Button requested the three car because of his connection to Japan via his girlfriend Jessica. The Japanese word number four sounds similar to the word for death.

After the season, I was actually contemplating this very issue and if Button was going to do anything about it. Oddly enough, four might be lucky for Button, and perhaps he should have kept it! His championship winning car was numbered 22, and if you add the two individual digits together you get 4. The next McLaren chassis is 26, so and if you subtract 2 from 6 you get 4. Next year Button will turn 31, and of course if you add those two individual digits together you get 4.


Hahah it seems that you have way too much time on your hands, but an entertaining post nonetheless. 🙂


If numbers, or the colour of your underpants, or the alignment of the stars, were lucky, there wouldn't be any point in racing. I wonder what feng shui consultants think about f-ducts?


1. Robert Kubica

Surely no explanation needed

2. Heikki Kovalainen

Possibly been his strongest season. In 10 races he finished ahead of the drivers in the 3 new teams. Holding Petrov off in Canada was superb as was qualifying 15th in Malaysia and 13th in Spa.

3. Kamui Kobayashi

How does a guy finish just 16th in GP2 last year, with a highlight being one podium for 3rd, then come to F1 and performed wonders? Would’ve put him higher if he wasn’t out-qualified by Pedro more often than not.

4. Nico Hulkenberg

As quick as Rubens in his debut year, pole in Brazil was pure class, a bit inconsistent but most rookies are.

5. Jaime Alguersuari

In ’09 he took part in the last 8 races (with no F1 experience) almost exactly where he improved this year showing he’s learning. Out-qualified Buemi in final 5 races


sorry wrong article


I'm just glad the BMW name has gone from Sauber. Just how wrong was the BMW Sauber Ferrari name

Mark - Anacortes

How about the Lotus branded Dallara/Honda in the Indycar series?


I think:

Renault: Petrov

Williams: Maldonado

Toro Rosso: Buemi, Alguersuari

Force India: Hulkenberg, Di Resta

HRT: Sutil, Senna

Virgin: Glock, Aleshin

Team Lotus - Black and Gold

Lotus Renault - Green and Yellow


It's my understanding that Sauber won't lose their payments, as the team is just dropping the BMW prefix.

At Force India, I agree that Hulkenberg and di Resta should be in the cars next year. Liuzzi was awful compared to Sutil, who is no more than a midfield runner. Hulkenberg is a great talent, and di Resta has proved himself in the practice sessions. Williams shouldn't have let Nico go, but in this case, money talks.

I don't think Lotus should have kept Trulli. He just appears negative even though this is alongside the equivocal Kovalainen). However, I can see the logic, due to the team still being in it's relatively embryonic stages. I'm just saying I would have done it differently and gone with Senna or Chandhok.

Speaking of these two, I do wish them seats but it is looking increasingly unlikely.


I suspect most will back Tony Fernandes' outfit if what I'm led to believe about Team vs Group is true (and I've no reason to believe otherwise). And if Group Lotus do arrive as a sponsor to Renault, we can have good Lotus vs bad Lotus - and there is where the problem lies - as a fan I don't care if there are two, but Group is not going to like either team being known as 'bad' Lotus since it isn't good for their road sales. So surely the onus is on Behar to catch himself on and let Fernandes do his thing?


One nil to the good guys so far (team lotus).

Hopefully sense will prevail and group will support team lotus. I suspect a lot of words and lobbying have been going on in Malaysia.

I fail to see the business sense in having a team with your name on it, building for the future. But instead, lotus is in the press for all of the wrong reasons.


I didn't finish..... Lotus had loads of publicity, mainly good.

What is the sense in buying renaults f1 team? Absolutely crazy in my view.

I am afraid for lotus long term future as so many cars so quickly in the product range for lotus, so many motorsport arenas. I make that a recipe for running put of money pretty quickly. Let alone taking on f1.

If danny bahar really thinks anybody will buy a lotus nowadays over a Ferrari, Porsche or lambo he really is losing it.

He wasn't at mg rover at any point was he? My rant over anyway 🙂


You echo my thoughts there Andy C. I know how big the Hethel production plant is having been round it many times. I don't see them either making enough or selling enough. The new car range whilst attractive is unworkable and I see Lotus Cars and hence Group Lotus in financial trouble (again) within the next two years if not sooner. This impression is heightened by the excellent article by Joe Saward here: http://joesaward.wordpress.com/2010/12/03/the-renault-situation/

Also a bit about the driver numbers to calm those worried above:



Is it just me or is the whole lotus group/ team lotus debarkle another interesting facet of formula 1 which keeps me on a slow burner in the cold winter months?

Really how much attention does anyone pays for football team sponsors?

One side point, everyone whines that f1 squeezes what it can from each country and organiser to a point where nearly each event is loss making. With the goings on at FIFA with the world cup bidding process I do believe all the bernie e hecklers should show some gratitude for the relevant transparency of the f1 calendar. Still I think the whole f1 tv rights for 10 years is sold exclusively via mr eccelstones company is abit excessive but it really is bernies baby and he is taking what he is due. I fear it would be a 'misbehaving pregnant teenager' if it wasn't for mr ecclestone.


Why are TF and 1 Malaysia F1 the "good guys" all of a sudden? All they have done is drag the Lotus name through the mud at the back of the grid and an arrogant condescending " we are Lotus" attitude.

Let us remember that had Proton not bought Group Lotus , Lotus would have been consinged to history and the Lotus name would be worthless. Proton kept Lotus going and kept the name alive, unlike TF who simply bought a name and nothing more.


You've missed the point. Yes Proton buying GROUP Lotus has kept the company alive, but Group have not been any part of TEAM Lotus since the 1950s when Colin Chapman hived off the F1 team from the car company.

TF has bought (it would appear) legitimately the Team Lotus name from David Hunt who was the last recognised owner of Team before they withdrew in 1994. I don't see TF as having an arrogant and condescending attitude, to me he has completed a business deal for a name that was available and which Proton did not want.

In all truth, the only "real" Team Lotus would be one that never went bankrupt in 1994. But as the recognised owner of the name (a point recognised in High Court judgements between DH and Group) David Hunt had the right to sell the name or do with it as he wished (for example create his own F1 team under the name). He's done the deal with TF and I hope that remains the case.


Well said. TF has gone about everything in the right way, and got the approval of the chapman family. The Group and Team have operated as separate enties since long before chapmans death.
David hunt bought the team in 94, and even used the name after that in 95 in an ill fated tie up with the pacific team. No one at group lotus cared back then, did they......


Just noticed that Ferrari are still associated with a Tobacco sponsor in their official name. How do they get away with that?

Should have been banned years ago, along with that dodgy bar code.


They're cheating the system really. Got around it by changing the name of the team instead of a simple sponsor sticker on the car. It's a con really and I doubt that most teams would be allowed to get around the tabacco ban in the same way.

CJ the 2cnd, probably...

This thread seems to have strayed a little off topic in places but on the Lotus issue here are my humble thoughts. Respect to Team Lotus this year for an acceptable rookie year, but it seems to me that neither entity (team or group) has much connection with the Lotuses (Lotii ?) that I remember, namely JPS's driven by Andretti and my personal hero Peterson. Don't get me wrong, I am happy to see the return of the Lotus name to Grand Prix, but surely this is all branding rather than genuine racing pedigree?


Interesting point here...

The 2011 FIA entry list gives McLaren as:

3. Jenson Button

4. Lewis Hamilton

Despite Hamilton finishing higher, McLaren have decided not to emphasise this but have kept Button as the ‘lead’ driver in the numbers, a legacy of his 2010 allocation after finishing P1 in 2009.

Ferrari, on the other hand:

5. Fernando Alonso

6. Felipe Massa

Alonso’s rise to number 1 is confirmed and written down for all to see. If Massa needed any vote of confidence, he hasn’t got it in the entry list.

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