AutoGuide News Blog
The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
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 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.
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:
Team Lotus will return to Formula 1 after a 16 year absence… sort of. While two cars scheduled to run in the 2010 season will proudly wear the Lotus name, the team will actually be owned and operated by Litespeed, a U.K.-based Formula 3 team.
Team Lotus rights holder David Hunt has allowed the company to use its name, in part due to the many ties Litespeed has with Lotus and its past Formula 1 efforts. Litespeed founders Nino Judge and Steve Kenchington are both former Lotus engineers.
Additionally, former Team Lotus driver Johnny Herbert will be involved in the project as an ambassador for the team and a manager for the drivers.
The new Team Lotus has also announced that vehicle design is being overseen by MGI and its owner Mike Gascoyne, a native of the Lotus stomping grounds in Norfolk.
“Team Lotus is synonymous with great British engineering and F1 innovation… both of which easily demonstrate why ex-Lotus personnel would want to bring this championship-winning name back to the formula,” said Judge in an interview with AutoSport. “Litespeed was born from a similar British background.”
“David Hunt has been the custodian of the name for so many years and we thank him for entrusting us not just with its safeguard but, more importantly, its development in the racing world of tomorrow.”
Team Lotus started in Formula 1 in 1958 after great success in the F2 series. Over the years some of the greatest drivers in motorsports raced for the team including Stirling Moss, Emerson Fittipaldi, Mario Andretti, Nigel Mansel, Nelson Piquet, Mika Häkkinen and of course Ayrton Senna. The team won seven World Championships with its last race win coming from Senna in 1987. It continued on into the 1990s but struggled financially and on the track before it pulled from F1 at the end of the 1994 season.