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Riad Asmat takes on more responsibility at Team Lotus
Posted By: James Allen  |  24 Aug 2011   |  7:57 am GMT  |  9 comments

Riad Asmat, who was one of the founders of Tony Fernandes’ version of Team Lotus, has been promoted to a CEO role in a move which brings the recently acquired Caterham Cars operation and the GP2 team all under one umbrella. Asmat will be in charge of anything to do with automotive and engineering. Formerly he was CEO of just the F1 team.

“In F1 the goal remains the same,” said Asmat. “Grow over the long-term and achieve our goals in realistic timeframes. Next year we need to take another step up and we have the building blocks in place to enable us to do that. On the road, we will be producing cars that are efficient, light, technologically innovative and, crucially, cars 21st century consumers across the globe want to buy.”

A Malaysian who was educated in the USA, Asmat has worked for Nike and for Sepang International Circuit. He also has inside knowledge of Group Lotus as he used to work in the managing director’s office at Proton, owners of Group Lotus and was responsible for the company’s motor sport programme in 2006, which included A1 GP, prior to joining up with Fernandes to launch Team Lotus in 2009.

The pressure will be on Asmat next year as the team has to take the step it hasn’t made yet to get amongst the midfield teams.

Meanwhile Team Lotus boss Tony Fernandes has explained this week why he bought the Queens Park Rangers football club, which plays in the English Premier League,

“While (QPR) is another new challenge it also opens up some very exciting opportunities for all the businesses I am involved with,” said Fernandes. “One of the most interesting areas we will be looking at straight away is what we can learn in Team Lotus about the interaction between QPR and its fans – across the whole football industry there is a much more integrated day to day relationship with clubs’ supporter bases than F1 and its teams have with their fans and I think that we can learn a huge amount very quickly about how we can be even more accessible to our fans than Team Lotus has been since day one.”

It will be interesting to see how, if at all, he tries to join up the football team and the F1 team from a promotional and marketing point of view, both of which are competitors in sports series with huge global media reach. This is something that hasn’t been done yet.

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In a short period of time the guy started up F1 team, acquired car making business (wanted Lotus but got Caterham instead), bought 200+ planes for his air line business, and bought Bernies’s stake in QPR becoming an owner of a football club. I mean Fernandes, does he want to rule the world or what?

Most people dread to spend a penny right now and the bloke is like full speed ahead. And good luck to him.


I foresee good things for Team Lotus as long as the backers don’t get bored and cut them adrift.

They appear to be investing in the right areas to strenghten the team on a technical level and Mike Gascoigne can produce very good cars.

They’ve managed to put some considerable air between themselves and HRT/MVR in terms of pace so if they can achieve the same jump in the next off season they should be in the thick of the Mid field and scoring points.

Their roster of Key Personell looks very impressive compared with last year and they still made strides between seasons so I’m optimistic for them and I wish them luck!

James, what about Nick Heidfeld? Are Renault knee jerking here? I doubt there is much more to come from the chassis than he can extract from it. OK, in the hands of Kubica it could be 3 10ths quicker but that isn’t going to win them any races. Shouldn’t they be looking at the cars shortfalls rather than playing musical chairs with drivers. With the big update package they are bringing to Spa, it could be difficult to get meaningful back to back data from Senna and Petrov due to their lack of experience.


My opinion:

Renault got all they could, development-wise, out of Nick. Now they want/need money, and they know that Senna will bring that by virtue of being Brazilian and having the surname “Senna”.

If they put Senna in at the start, they wouldn’t have a car that is nearly as competitive now… and if they kept Heidfeld in the car until the end of the year, they wouldn’t get all the money and publicity as they will, especially with the German GP gone and the Brazilian GP yet to come.

I hope Heidfeld at least gets to do Spa, so that he can sample their big update and show he’s still capable.


Perhaps they have some recent update on Kubica’s chances of come back, that is it isn’t going to happen anytime soon. So they realized the need to do something because Heidfeld is not taking them anywhere.

Poor old Nick is trying hard but with little result. Renault aim higher than that. Obviously the car is rubbish at the moment, but one has to think it is much to do with the morale in the team being low. They want someone like Kubica and Nick is not the one and the spirits go ever lower and so on.

Who knows, maybe Senna will bring some of much needed fresh air?


Interesting article…I feel it’s only a matter of time before Team Lotus move into the midfield, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see them score their first point before the end of the season, given how close they were to STR at Hungary.

One point of interest though, while Football hasn’t linked up with F1 explicitly, the Formula Superleague tried to do something like it, and it seems as though the football link-up aspect totally failed. They are now racing as Countries rather than football teams, apparently because the football teams wanted extortionate amounts for free advertising.


Although it may not have reached stratospheric heights, Superleague Formula is still surviving, and seems to be in good health. It has done much better than what A1 GP managed.

That said, I can’t say that I am a big fan.



Any comments on the (suggested) axing of Heidfeld?


Maybe they’ll change the ground to “Team Loftus Road”.

Good to see Tony get involved in the premiership and at a club that has real growth potential. QPR have always had a loyal fan base and with some sensible investment on and off the pitch they could be successful.

I’d have to admit I’ve been surprised they havent closed the gap more to the midfield this season, but its a mammoth task and they’re putting the building blocks in place for future success. I’d love to see them make a success of it.


any more on the Senna rumours at Renault? Its all gone quiet since EJ declared it as a done deal. I believe they found quite some sponsorship in the recent trip to Brazil which is facilitating the Bruno drive. I really rate him so hopefully he’ll get a chance to show what he can do.


There is far too much football about already and F1 is an escape from it, we do not want football impinging on F1 in any way shape or form.

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