Tag Archives: Tony Fernandes

Fauzy to drive in Malaysia practice

Fairuz Fauzy testing for Lotus in the winter

Fairuz Fauzy testing for Lotus in the winter

Lotus have announced that reserve driver Fairuz Fauzy will drive their car in Friday Practice for the Malaysian Grand Prix.

He will temporarily replace Heikki Kovalainen at the wheel. The former GP2 driver has been involved with several test sessions with Lotus before the season began.

While it’s good to see reserve drivers being given the chance to test their skills in an F1 car, I feel that this isn’t the right idea for Lotus. The car needs as much improvement as possible, and Trulli and Kovalainen are the right people for this job. While allowing Fauzy to drive is good for him, the sponsors and the investors (the 1Malaysia group), I would think that the return of having a better developed car is better than pleasing the sponsors and the home croud.

Of course, this is the Malaysian Grand Prix, a country that hasn’t had an F1 driver since Alex Yoong, and he didn’t exactly set the world on fire, so maybe Fernandes and Lotus want to promote Malaysia’s next top F1 driver.

New Lotus T127 launched

The new Lotus T127

The new Lotus T127

The Lotus T127 has been launched in London today.

As I reported a few days ago, the team are to use the same livery that they used in the 1950’s and 1960’s. This is green, with yellow stripes.

The last time Lotus raced in Formula 1 was in 1994. The team is now owned by Air Asia chief executive officer Tony Fernandes.

At the launch, Fernandes said:

“Words cannot express how I feel today. It is an amazing job to get an F1 licence, have five people in Hingham and turn up today with this car.”

“I was thrilled when Clive [Chapman] said that this was just like te beginning of Lotus back in the early days.”

Jarno Trulli and Heikki Kovalainen are to be the team’s drivers for 2010. They will join the other teams in Jerez testing next week. The car has already been shaken down, in Silverstone last week. The engne firing-up was completed a few days beforehand.

Clearly, the Lotus name puts a lot of pressure on Fernandes. Speaking at the launch, he said:

“We know we have a huge burden on our shoulers, standing on the shoulder of giants – Clark, Moss, Hill, and Mansell. We know we have a tremendous journey in front of us, we are honoured and cherished to be a part of history – we will leave no stone unturned in our efforts and we will do our best to return Lotus to its glory days.”

The livery looks great, as it really suits the car design. There are parts of the car that appear very well designed, like the hugely complicated front wing and endplate sections. The mid-section of the car looks good also. However, I’m slightly concerned at the simplicity of the rear wing and nose cone. The rear wing is incredibly plain and boxy, with no endplate add-on at the sides. The nose cone, while slightly similar to others in places, does not incorporate Red Bull’s horned nose design.

Having said that, the design doesn’t look bad, so I’m looking forward to their efforts in 2010.

Pictures from the launch:

Spy shot of new Lotus

The new Lotus F1 car

The new Lotus F1 car

A “spy shot” has been released by Autosport of the new Lotus F1 car.

Rather than the last “spy shots” we featured on the blog, this picture is actually properly done.

However, I’m slightly worried that the car isn’t good enough, at least aerodynamically. The front and rear wing are just very simple and block-like in shape. Look at the turning vanes on the side if you need any more convincing.

The livery is in tune with the one that Lotus had used ithe 1950’s and 1960’s, with the traditional green and yellow colours. It is unknown, however, if this is the livery that the team are to use for the season. We will find out on theie launch day, the 12th February.

This picture was taken at the car’s shakedown test in Silverstone yesterday. It was being driven by reserve driver Fairuz Fauzy. The car had been started up last Saturday, and Tony Fernandes stated on his Twitter feed:

“Shakedown started. Quite a few tears.”

Lotus drivers are a “statement of intent”

Heikki Kovalainen, with Tony Fernandes and Jarno Trulli

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.”

Kovalainen “a better driver” after McLaren

Heikki Kovalainen, with Tony Fernandes and Jarno Trulli

Heikki Kovalainen, with Tony Fernandes and Jarno Trulli

Heikki Kovalainen says that, even after 2 difficult seasons at McLaren, he has still come out of it a better driver.

In an interview with Autosport, he said: “I am a better race driver. I can drive the car quicker than when I drove the Renault (2007). I have learned many things – how to work with a team, how to set-up a car, how to go racing. I think I am better in every area.”

Kovalainen was released from McLaren after the 2009 season ended. After negotiations with many teams, he has moved to the new Lotus team, alongside Jarno Trulli. He also said that he believes it was a better option than moving to an established team.

“I just felt that this was the most stable option available to me,” he said. “The other teams were still wondering who was going to own the team, who was going to sponsor the team and who was going to pay the bills.”

“Funnily enough, for a new team I was convinced after I met Tony [Fernandes] and Mike [Gascoyne]. First of all, they have the budget in place. They have the people coming to the team eventually – they will be current people and not people who have been out of the paddock for one or two years.”

When asked about his prospects for 2010, he said: “”I think it will be very tough. Sometimes when I talk to Tony he is very excited and it seems like we are going to win the first race. But, I am being more realistic and I don’t want to build too big expectations.”

When he was with McLaren in 2008, he was outscored on points by Lewis Hamilton with 98 points to 53, although Heikki took his first win. In 2009, he was outscored again, by 49 points to 22, and not even getting on the podium once.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 55 other followers