Team Lotus F1 Racing has released pictures of their model car and a press release consisting of a Q&A with technical chief Mike Gascoyne. Like many other motor sport news sites, I thought you might enjoy the pictures and Q&A but…unlike other blogs and news sites I also thought you might be interested in our own Paul Charsley’s news that he dug up somewhere regarding USF1-GPE-XYZ’s answer to the Lotus pictures and announcement. First, Lotus:
How important is the completion of Lotus F1 Racingâ€™s first windtunnel model?
â€œThe start of any windtunnel testing is an important step in the development of a new Formula 1 car,
but it is particularly exciting for us as we continue preparations for our first season. It has been a very
busy time since our entry was confirmed by the FIA. We had been working on the entry for several
months so we already had aspects of the team infrastructure in place; the finances, the factory and the
top management. Once our entry was confirmed in midâ€September, we were able to accelerate our
recruitment and car development process and this is really where we are at now.â€
What precisely is the involvement from Malaysia?
â€œOur entry has only been made possible thanks to financing from the Malaysian private sector, so
Lotus F1 Racing will be a Malaysian team through and through. Additionally we have valuable support
from the Malaysian government through its 1Malaysia initiative, so we will essentially be flying the
Malaysian flag in Formula 1. I am liaising with our Team Principal Tony Fernandes about our plans on a
daily basis and am currently spending some time in Malaysia interviewing potential candidates for
technical roles. The team is also in the process of recruiting Malaysian employees for other positions,
including administration, marketing and PR.â€
The team is currently based in the UK, but is there a longâ€term plan to move to Malaysia?
â€œThe longerâ€term vision is to create a centre of technical excellence at the Sepang circuit which we
have already started planning together with Tony Fernandes and his associates. Naturally this takes
time, so we have opted initially for a UK base at the RTN facility in Hingham from where we will run the
F1 operations while we establish our Malaysian facilities. Ultimately, the team will be headquartered
in Malaysia, but we will keep a small UK base which will give us a logistical advantage when we are
racing within Europe.â€
What technical partnerships do you already have in place?
â€œWe have been working with Fondtech to develop the aerodynamics, as well as with gearbox
specialists Xtrac. We have an engine supply deal in place with Cosworth and we also have the support
of engineering and composites teams in Malaysia who will play an integral role in developing the car.â€
Is there really enough time to get a car and a team up and running before the first race in Bahrain?
â€œThere is no escaping the challenges that we face simply to get the car ready for the first race of next
season, but I am confident that we are up to the task in hand. Our target is to get the car ready for a
roll out by the middle of February so that we can carry out preâ€season testing in preparation for
Bahrain in midâ€March.â€
What are your expectations for the first year?
â€œWe need to remain realistic in our aims for the first year. We are a new team and we are starting our
development late, so it will be an achievement just to get two cars on the Bahrain grid. I hope by the
middle of the season we will have established ourselves as the best of the rookie teams and then
continue to make forward progress for the rest of the year.â€
How integrated will the F1 team be with other Lotus groups?
â€œIt is a big honour to be associated with such an historic and prestigious Formula 1 brand as Lotus for
whom I have a lot of respect. We will have a close relationship with other Lotus groups and we will do
all we can to ensure that the Lotus name is treated respectfully with our new team.â€
Finally, has there been any decision made on drivers for next year?
â€œWe have been looking closely at the driver market to determine our best options for next year
including Malaysian drivers, but no decisions have been made yet. We need versatile drivers. We need
reliable and technicallyâ€minded drivers who can help us develop the car during the season, but at the
same time we need drivers who are hungry for results and who can extract every little bit of
performance from the car at all times.â€
And now for the “insider” news. Our own Paul Charsley, upon hearing the Lotus announcement, got to working the phones and email and came up with the scoop. The photo is not the best quality as they borrowed a Kodak 110 instamatic camera from a neighbor for the press release but…this just in from Paul Charsley via email to F1B world headquarters under the 630ft. Arch:
“Not to be outdone by Lotus, USF1 released their wind tunnel model today!
read’em and weep Campos”