Remember all those rumours about Lotus and Tony Fernandes entering the sport of F1? It looks like they’re true after all.
A new team entry called Team Lotus F1 run by a company called the 1Malaysia F1 Team Sdn Bhd has been accepted as the 13th and final entry on the grid, joining other newcomers such as Campos, Manor, US F1. The team will be based at the RTN factory in Norfolk which is 10 miles away from Lotus cars.
1Malaysia F1 Team’s principal will be none other than Tony Fernandes himself, with funding coming from the Tune Group and a consortium of Malaysian entrepreneurs (names being mentioned include Naza’s SM Nasarudin). Norfolk-born Mike Gascoyne will be the team’s Technical Director. The man who is nicknamed “the bulldog” for his confrontational and aggressive style used to be the Technical Director for Jordan, Renault, Toyota, Spyker and most recently Force India.
Engines will be provided by Cosworth, transmissions by Xtrac and aerodynamics by FondTech. Fondtech is run by former Ferrari aerodynamicist Jean-Claude Migeot. In the future, an R&D, manufacturing and technical facility will be built at the Sepang International Circuit.
As for the drivers, they will only be announced on the 31st of October 2009. Currently six local and international drivers have been selected. I’m pretty sure at least one of the two drivers will be a Malaysian – anyone wanna take a shot at guessing who? Fairuz Fauzy?
Sadly the 13 teams does not include the current BMW Sauber team, which has been assigned a ’14th place’ on the grid, which means it will be first in line to be slotted in in case anything happens. The FIA is currently calling for the permission to extend the grid to a total of 14 teams, which would mean 28 cars.