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For those, like yours truly, who grew up watching F1 racing in the late 1970s and the 1980s, the Lotus racers, draped in the classic black and gold colors of sponsor John Player Special rank as the most memorable. Driven by the likes of such greats as Emerson Fittipaldi, Mario Andretti and Ayrton Senna, they were frequent visitors to the winner’s circle as well as propelling the team to a number of driver and constructor’s championships.
However, since the end of the 1986 season, the famous black and gold livery has been notable by its absence on the F1 circuit. For 2011, that’s set to change. Lotus Racing wants to bring back the famous colors and wants F1 fans to have a hand in the final design.
“We have worked all year to make sure our fans are given unprecedented access to our team,” Lotus Racing marketing boss Silvi Schaumloeffel said. “We are all very excited about the move to a black and gold paint scheme for next season, and we want our fans to help us design the livery that will be racing around the world next year.”
Schaumloeffel also stated that the team will shortly be announcing how fans can take part in the design process, asking them to visit the team’s website www.lotusracing.my for the latest updates. Not only that but the person that is selected to design the final livery will join the team for the new car’s first testing session early next year. “For Lotus and F1 fans, it is the chance of a lifetime to help us take the next step forward in our amazing story in 2011,” said Schaumloffel.
Lotus F1, the Malaysian upstart team trading on the name of the famed British sports car maker, is apparently switching from Cosworth to Renault power for the 2011 season.
With Renault powering the dominant Red Bull Racing entry, the factory works Renault team, and a host of other teams, Lotus is hoping to acquire some of the magic contained within the French V8s. Negotiations between the two camps reportedly took place between the two camps at the British Grand Prix, but no announcement has been made.
While Lotus and Cosworth have a long historical alliance, Lotus has previously used Renault power, most notably when Ayrton Senna notably won four races for Lotus with Renault power in 1985.
[Source: Inside Line]
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]
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: