Lotus Racing are now back in the middle-east for the last race of the 2010 season, the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. The team is in buoyant mood after another solid performance in Sao Paulo saw them tighten their grip on tenth place in the Championship, moving ever closer to achieving their primary goal in their debut season.
The Lotus Racing story is nothing short of spectacular. The team has already won an army of fans worldwide, gained huge respect within the notoriously tough F1 paddock and in the wider commercial world, and gone from a workforce of just four in September 2009 to over 200 now, all focused on taking a major step forward in 2011 to take on and beat the established teams ahead.
Fairuz Fauzy (driving in place of Heikki Kovalainen in FP1): “I’m looking forward to getting back in the car and I think it will be a very special atmosphere, on track and in the garage. The twilight running obviously makes the race very interesting, but as I’ll be going out in FP1 the real challenge for me is to try and push on what will be a very green track. I’ve spent a bit of time in a simulator to prepare for the run on Friday, but it will obviously be different when I get out on the real thing.”
Heikki Kovalainen: “Abu Dhabi is a great track and I like the fact we race in the fading light. I think it will be a good fight up at the front, and for us it’s the end of a very long, but so far very rewarding season. Everyone in the team has done really well all year, pushing us along to where we are now, and this weekend is all about maintaining concentration and giving it one final effort before we start focusing entirely on next year. I’m excited about the race and I think we’ll be in good shape to keep up the pressure on the guys around us.”
Jarno Trulli: “It’s the last race but for me it’s still all about getting my car across the finish line with Heikki so we can tie up tenth place. The track isn’t a huge challenge – it’s not as rewarding to drive on as somewhere like Brazil, but we’ll be ok there as our car should be pretty much as far ahead of those around us as we have been in the last few races.”
Mike Gascoyne: “Down to the last race and I don’t think we could be going there in any better shape. Abu Dhabi should be another track where we can take the fight to our nearest rivals, and all season long we have seen that the investment in experience throughout the whole team has held us in very good stead in our first season. You could see in Brazil that both Heikki and Jarno were able to pull away from Timo throughout the race, and that is down to excellent work all year by the team at the track and the factory, and in the two cockpits, and we are aiming for that to be repeated at the last race. The goal is obviously to finish tenth, and we would like to do that in the same style we have shown all season – by beating those around us, so everyone will be putting in one last big effort to repay the faith shown in us by our fans all year and everyone who has helped us reach this point of the season.”
Tony Fernandes: “As we approach the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix I feel a great sense of accomplishment and delivery. In just one year we have delivered a team that has presented itself and behaved like one that has been racing for a long time. We made the bold decision to bring in two experienced drivers who have helped us push our way up as quickly as possible, on and off track, and from the earliest days of our team we have respected the heritage of Colin Chapman and his family and treated them both with the honour and style they deserve. It will be an incredible feeling to see the culmination of our first season back at another track where the Lotus Racing dream took shape. We came to the 2009 race, and while I hoped then that we would be where we are now, I could not have predicted we would have come quite as far as we have. Our future is extremely exciting. We have everything in place to take a big step forward next year, and I truly believe we have already exceeded our own expectations in our first season. For a team that had only five months to build our first car, as well as an entire race team and factory, we can hold up our heads up high to our fans, the Chapman family, the paddock fraternity and most importantly, to ourselves. There has been a huge amount of discussion about Lotus re-entering Formula One for the first time since 1994, but we spent this year looking ahead and not engaging in the talk about bringing the Lotus brand back. We went about our business in our own unassuming way, letting our actions speak louder than our words, and we will continue to do just that. We have a unique style and will always stay true to that as we move forward, up to the ultimate position of one day being World Champions.”
Check out Jarno and Heikki’s’ thoughts on Abu Dhabi: