- 2010 Launches
Lotus unveils new car
Lotus unveiled its 2010 car at a launch ceremony in London's Royal Horticultural Hall on Friday, in an event which played homage to the past but looked firmly towards the team's future.
The new T127 has a distinctive green-and-yellow livery, harking back to the colour scheme of the 1960s, and will carry the hopes of Jarno Trulli and Heikki Kovalainen this year. Team principal Tony Fernandes was on hand to help with the unveiling and spoke about the achievements of his team in the past five months.
"I am extremely proud to be here today and to be able to show the world the fruits of the team's hard work. It's humbling for me and my fellow shareholders to see how a team that five months ago didn't even exist is now a thriving workforce, full of enthusiasm and passion for Lotus Racing and the challenges ahead, and capable of producing such a beautiful machine in such a short time.
"Now we've achieved two major milestones; confirming our entry and unveiling our car. But now the real work starts. Next we move on to testing and the season ahead, and I'm confident that the team will exceed expectations wherever we go, and will do so on a wave of support around the world that has been growing daily since we first unleashed Lotus Racing back in September '09."
Chief technical officer Mike Gascoyne, who has worked for a number of top teams including Toyota and Renault in the past, said he was delighted to get the car up and running ahead of its official test debut in Jerez next week.
"The last few months have been some of the most challenging of my career, but it's been a challenge the whole team and I have thrived on since we first started work on the car up in Norfolk," he said. "I'm delighted that we've reached this point, and now we have a beautiful car that gives us a great base to work from for the season ahead and a fighting chance of going racing in the right way, with a winning mentality. The hard part starts now, and I know everyone in the team and I are up for whatever lies ahead."
Trulli said that the initial expectations for the car would be low but maintained that he had no regrets about his decision to join a start-up team for 2010.
"It is a big responsibility to drive a car with the name Lotus, but I am really looking forward to it," he said. "I am very proud and happy to have secured such a good seat for this season. We are looking to the future. As a young team we can't expect to go out there and be on pole position straight away; it is a massive job to start to build a car from nothing. I think we have a great team and we will work very hard to improve very quickly."
Ex-McLaren driver Kovalainen agreed that there would be added pressure running under the historic name.
"I am so impressed with what the team has achieved so far, to be honest the guys have really exceeded my expectations," he said. "I am really pleased to be driving for Lotus as I think this was really the best opportunity for my future; this is not just a one-year project. There is a lot of pressure on all of us to race under the Lotus name but I am so proud to add my name to a list of such exceptional drivers like Mansell and Senna. I really can't wait to get to Jerez next week and start to drive the car."
The team gave the car its initial shakedown at Silverstone on Wednesday, where it performed systems checks in preparation for its group testing debut in Jerez. It is the second of the four new teams to launch its 2010 car, after rivals Virgin unveiled its challenger last week. The readiness of Campos and US F1 still remains in doubt although both insist they will make the first race in Bahrain.