A Malaysian group will take the final grid slot for the 2010 season, effectively replacing BMW, under the name Teal Lotus. The new team is funded by the Malaysian government and a group of Malaysian entrepreneurs who have secured the name Lotus to use as their moniker. The team will be based in Norfolk but intend to move their operation to the Sepang circuit eventually.
Our old friend and technical guru Mike Cascoyne will head up the squad as technical director and the team is being lead by Tony Fernandes who is the founder of the Malaysian Tune Group which owns Air Asia. According to the BBC, it is understood that the team was selected over BMW and Epsilon Euskadi after a serious due diligence session by the FIA.
The car will be powered by Cosworth and one can assume that the sponsor will be Malaysian oil company Petronas but that is pure speculation on my part. Mike Gascoyne told the BBC:
“We are not just a small new team, we have the possibilities to be a very substantial team,” Gascoyne told BBC Sport. “And the FIA recognise that, combined with the name and that we’re also a team based outside Europe.
Moss glad to see return of Lotus
“When you look at the calendar now, the centre of F1 is changing. With all that’s happening in the sport, this is a very good news story for F1.
“Next year will be a huge challengeâ€¦ we will be releasing the car late, and that has reliability aspects. But we’ll target being the best of the new cars on the grid and I would hope by mid-season we are challenging the bottom rung of the current teams. That’s achievable.”
That’s not a bad benchmark to be honest and it seems to be something most of the new teams are shooting for; to be the best of the freshman class. Considering that most of the class will be operating with the same engine, as so expertly mandated by the FIA, it will be down to engineering and driver ability to suss out the wheat from the chaff. In that arena, Gascoyne has the right pedigree.
So where does this leave BMW? Well you can see that here.