It looks like the FIA have awarded the 13th place on the 2010 Formula 1 grid to Lotus, bringing them back to F1 for the first time since 1994.
For me as a Lotus fan it’s great news. Mike Gascoyne will be teams technical director, with Cosworth providing the engines. Although it will initially be based in Norfolk at the RTN facility originally built for Toyota, the team will eventually move to a purpose built centre on the Sepang circuit in Malaysia. Most of the funding will be coming from the Malaysian government and investors.
It’s a shame that the team will race under the Malaysian flag rather then the UK, but it’ll be good to have such a historic name back in the sport. Before the teams exit in 1984 they were in F1 for 37 years, entering 491 grand prix, winning 79 of them on the way to 7 constructors titles.
In the last few races before they left the sport they fielded a car that was technologically brilliant – Lotus were the first people to realise the potential of Active Suspension – but the Lotus 109’s raw speed was let down by unreliability, and despite Johnny Herbert qualifying 4th at Monza, his race was ended at the first corner by Eddie Irvine. Eventually they ran out of money and had to pull out of the sport.
Hopefully they’ll be able to field a competitive car and driver line up now they’re back. With Danny Behr joining the company as CEO from Ferrari, a return to F1 and the new Evora road car winning awards everywhere it must be an exciting time at the companies headquarters in Hethel!