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Nielsen joins Lotus as sporting director

ESPNF1 Staff
November 8, 2011 « Williams talks leave Barrichello in limbo | Renault Sport appoints new president »
Steve Nielsen has moved from Renault to Lotus © Sutton Images
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Former Renault sporting director Steve Nielsen has joined Lotus to replace Dieter Gass.

Nielsen, who started his career at the original Team Lotus before working for Tyrrell, Benetton and Arrows, left Renault earlier this season. He will start in his new role on December 12 and was welcomed to the team by boss Tony Fernandes.

"I first met Steve in Singapore 2010 and offered him a job then which he turned down, so I am delighted he has finally taken up the chance to join us. It is a good mark of our team that we can attract people of Steve's calibre and I am thrilled that someone who is so well respected, and is coming from a team that is ahead of us in so many ways, shares our belief in our ability to grow and, in due course, challenge the midfield."

Chief technical officer Mike Gascoyne, who worked with Nielsen at Tyrrell and Renault, is also confident his team has got the right man.

"Firstly we are obviously sorry to say goodbye at the end of the season to Dieter Gass who was instrumental in helping us put our first car on the grid in 2010 and for bringing the team to such a high level in record time," Gascoyne said. "He is returning to Germany and he goes with our thanks and with our wishes for every success in the future for him and his young family."

"It is excellent news for the team that Steve has accepted the offer to join us as Sporting Director. I have worked with him extensively in the past at both Tyrrell and Renault where we played our parts in helping to build Championship winning teams, which is what we are aiming to do with Team Lotus. I am sure he will integrate very quickly into our operation and will be made very welcome by everyone in Hingham and Malaysia.

Lotus has also renewed the team manager Graham Watson's manager and Fernandes said there was more news to come before the end of the year.

"I am also very pleased that we have been able to agree a new contract with Graham Watson as he has been one of the core pillars of our team, and has had a direct influence on our growth, both on and off track," he said. "There are more announcements to come over the next few weeks which will all help us achieve our long-term goals, and today's news about Steve and Graham is another step forward for the whole team."