DECEMBER 14, 2009
Lotus opts for known quantities
The new Lotus F1 team has confirmed that Jarno Trulli and Heikki Kovalainen will be its drivers in 2010. Malaysia’s Fairuz Fauzy will be the test and reserve driver. The announement was made in Kuala Lumpur with the country’s Prime Minister Sri Najib Tun Razak in attendance. The decision to run with two veterans is no surprise as the team’s technical chief Mike Gascoyne knows the value of experience in the current F1 environment
“I have been impressed by the long-term vision of the team management and technical staff,” said Trulli. “Tony (Fernandes) has set out very ambitious plans and I am ready to help the team achieve these high targets. I am also pleased to be back working alongside Mike Gascoyne, someone with whom I have enjoyed previous success at other teams. I get on very well with him and I respect his working style.”
Kovalainen’s F1 career dates back to 2006 when he joined Renault as a test driver. He had a poor season racing for Renault in 2007 and then moved to McLaren for 2008 and 2009, winning in Hungary in his first year with the team.
“I recently visited our factory in Norfolk and was so impressed by seeing how far the team has come in such a short time since it was launched in September,” Heikki said, “and by how determined everyone is to meet Tony’s ambitious targets. I knew immediately it would be a fantastic opportunity to help them achieve their goals.”
Between them the two drivers have won just two victories but team boss Fernandes is not making any shallow boasts.
“Jarno and Heikki are two extremely versatile drivers who have proven themselves more than capable of achieving solid results no matter how tough the conditions,” he said. “We only secured our 2010 entry from the FIA in September and already we have our first car in production and have signed two Formula One race winners to drive for us, as well as a home-grown Malaysian driver. Not bad for three months hard work!”
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