Frankfurt 2009: Lotus Returning to Formula One

Lotus is returning to Formula One racing with a team run by the Malaysian government and a group of Malaysian investors.

The Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile selected the Lotus F1 Team to replace the withdrawing BMW team in the 2010 season. Lotus will be the 13th team, restoring the brand as an F1 constructor for the first time since 1994. Lotus confirmed the news at its press conference at the Frankfurt Auto Show.

The team will be headed by Tony Fernandes, founder and chief executive officer of Malaysian-based Tune Group, owner of Air Asia airline. Though the ownership is based in Malaysia, the team will initially be based in Norfolk, England, just ten miles from the Lotus factory.

The BMW Sauber team was appointed the 14th team, ready to step in should another team withdraw, though the FIA says it may increase the grid to 28 cars. In a news release, the FIA said BMW Sauber had an “application of high quality” and would be competitive even without the support of the manufacturer.

[Source: FIA]

Official release after the jump.

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