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 |  Oct 20 2010, 5:50 PM

It’s one thing to sponsor a driver, but it’s only a few who are honored with their very own watch. Swiss watchmaker Audemars Piguet has chosen to honor Italian F1 driver Jarno Trulli with his very own timepiece.

Trulli, a former Formula Three national champion, has been an F1 driver since 1997. Winner of a Formula One grand prix, he’s taken the  pole position four times, the podium 11 times and scored over 246 points in his career so far.

And although this year hasn’t been the best for him (driving for the best of the newcomers at Lotus Racing, he was unable to start one race, unable to finish another six, and of those he has finished, he’s hasn’t been able to score a single championship point), this commemorative special edition watch is sure to pick him up out of the slump.

The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Jarno Trulli Chronograph is certainly as impressive as its name. It boasts a forged carbon-fiber case, a ceramic bezel, titanium fixtures, red luminous indices and hands. Making it tick is a 59-jewel automatic movement with 365 parts, a 60-hour power reserve and a 22-carat gold oscillating weight that’s been covered in anthracite – pretty impressive. Only 500 watches will be made, offered initially at the company’s boutique in Tokyo before it goes global.

 |  May 07 2010, 5:43 PM

LotusF1Spain

After an understandably slow start to the season, Lotus Racing appears to be discovering some added pace during testing prior to this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix thanks to the Lotus Cosworth T127′s updated aerodynamics package. Jarno Trulli pumped in 26 practice laps and was 19th fastest during his second session, while Heikki Kovalainen completed 17 laps and ranked 18th during the first practice session.

After testing Trulli stated, “First day back in the car in Europe and I’m really happy with how we have progressed with the car. Obviously it’s still too early to assess it properly, but as soon as I got out on track I could feel that we had taken a major step forward. We have solved a number of the issues we had and we’re definitely in the right direction, so I’m really pleased for everyone in the team as they’ve put in a great effort to get us here. This afternoon we continued with the program and everything went really smoothly, on both the hard and the soft tyres. I must admit that I’ve been really pleased with the speed gain we’ve seen in the car and, again, that’s down to the work the team have put in with the car – all I need now is a little bit of luck, and a trouble free weekend!”

Kovalainen added, “I’ve been really looking forward to being back in Europe and particularly here in Barcelona. It’s been great to see the grandstands already busy, and I’ve seen a load of Finnish flags out there. On track, this morning was a really good session and I’m very encouraged by the updates – they’re immediately working like we’d hoped. The car feels better to drive, the high-speed stability especially is better, and that’s what you get when the aerodynamics of the car improve.”

Chief Technical Officer Mike Gascoyne reported: “Basically it was a good day’s work. The drivers have been very happy with the updates and we’ve been making adjustment to the improvements on the cars throughout the day to help us fine tune the updates. There’s a fair bit more time to come from the new package, and everyone in the team has worked very hard to get us to this point, so it’s great to hear such positive feedback from the drivers. Now we’re looking forward to building on this performance tomorrow and seeing where we are in qualifying.”

Of course practice lap times don’t always reflect the true pace of the car in Formula 1, but it’s encouraging to see Lotus making progress and we look forward to seeing how the aero updates translate during qualifying and the race during this weekend’s Gran Premio de Espana Telefonica 2010. Meanwhile, for you Lotus fans out there, the video after the jump may help to get you pumped up before this weekend’s action.

[Source: Lotus Racing]

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 |  Feb 12 2010, 5:19 PM

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Lotus has just unveiled its 2010 Formula 1 car as the historic British automaker returns to the top tier of motorsports after a very long absence. Backed by the Malaysian government, the new Lotus team will field two cars, driven by Jarno Trulli and Heikki Kovalainen.

Earlier in the week, the car made its first test laps during a shakedown session at the famous Silverstone track in the U.K., piloted by test driver Fairuz Fauzy.

The 2010 F1 season is shaping up to be an interesting one with three other rookie teams (Campos, Manor and US F1) joining Lotus to make up a 26 car grid. The season starts March 12 in Bahrain.

Find out more at the Lotus Racing fan site here and check out the videos below:

http://www.lotusracing.my/

GALLERY: Lotus Cosworth T127

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 |  Dec 14 2009, 11:43 AM

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Lotus has just confirmed its driver lineup for the 2010 Formula One season with both Jarno Trulli and Heikki Kovalainen signed on to pilot the new Lotus cars on the team’s rookie season and the brand’s return to F1.

Trulli was long rumored to join the Lotus team as he has a strong relationship with the team’s technical director Mike Gascoyne, having worked with him twice already under both Renault and Toyota. Trulli has been looking for a ride since Toyota decided not to race in the 2010 season. His skill has been in doubt, often finishing at the back of the pack in most races – although we may now see if that had more to do with the Toyota team and its cars.

As for Kovalainen, he has been in search of a ride since his contract was not renewed with McLaren, which decided to go with World Champion Jensen Button instead.

The 2010 F1 season is shaping up to be an interesting one with three other rookie teams (Campos, Manor and US F1) joining Lotus to make up a 26 car grid. The season starts March 12 in Bahrain.

[Source: LotusF1Racing]

 |  Oct 16 2009, 10:41 AM

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Lotus is set to return to Formula 1 next year and with a dedicated group of followers and the media circus that surrounds any British F1 team, the company has released some of its plans and ambitions for the 2010 season, along with the first full-sized wind tunnel model.

Lotus F1 Racing Chief Technical Officer Mike Gascoyne said in an interview-style statement that while the team as huge challenges ahead of it with such a short preparation time, it hopes to have a full vehicle ready for February testing.

As for the car, Gascoyne says the Lotus team is working with Fondtech for the aerodynamics, Xtrac for the gearbox and a deal with Cosworth has been arranged for the engine company to supply engines. Gascoyne also comments that the team is working with technical experts in Malaysia. In fact, the Malaysian connection is a big part of the Lotus team with financing coming from both the country’s private sector as well as through the Malaysian government. In return, Malaysia intends to use the team as a marketing expert to help promote the country on the world stage. In addition, Lotus has a long term plan to set up an engineering center at the country’s Sepang race circuit.

With a long and storied history in motorsports and Formula 1 there are a lot of expectations behind the Lotus team, but Gascoyne says they have to be realistic. “We are a new team and we are starting our development late,” he said, “so it will be an achievement just to get two cars on the Bahrain grid. I hope by the middle of the season we will have established ourselves as the best of the rookie teams and then continue to make forward progress for the rest of the year.”

As for the driver’s Lotus is entertaining several offers and no doubt trying to poach some experts from other teams. One of the leading candidates is rumored to be long-time Toyota driver Jarno Trulli.

Official release after the jump:

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