Lotus drivers are a “statement of intent”
January 10, 2010
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Heikki Kovalainen, with Tony Fernandes and Jarno Trulli
The chief technical officer at Lotus, Mike Gascoyne, has said that signing Jarno Trulli and Heikki Kovalainen, instead of rookies, shows that the team are serious about succeeding in Formula 1.
Rumours were going around that Lotus were going to hire two well-funded rookies instead, which would financially sustain the team. However, Gascoyne is relieved that Tony Fernandes chose experienced drivers instead. In an interview with Autosport, he said:
“I said all along that I wanted two experienced drivers, and actually we discussed it at a very early stage and Jarno was always our number one choice. I probably expected in the other seat we would have someone with a couple of years’ experience, that was my hope.
“From very early on, Tony said: why not Jarno and Heikki? I sort of went… ‘yeah, yeah, yeah. Forget it!”
“Where Tony is exceptionally brave is that you have to generate the finance to make the team sustainable and he has not taken the short term route – ‘let’s take a guy who is bringing me in three or five million Euros’ – he has taken the downstream route: ‘let’s bring in a guy who is really going to take the whole team up, who is going to deliver results, and downstream I may be signing sponsors for 10 or 20 million Euros.”
Gascoyne also said that Lotus was an attractive option for drivers, because of all the uncertainty will many other teams and drivers. He said: “Lotus quite quickly came to be looked at as one of the best seats to get into. Okay it was a new team, but with Tony on board, with myself running the technical side, people seemed pretty confident in it.”