Lotus Racing fared the best among the rookie teams in yesterday’s Bahrain GP, with both Heikki Kovalainen and Jarno Trulli classified as finishers (15th and 17th). In contrast, the two Virgin and two HRT cars retired, so the team’s stated mission is firmly on track.

Team Principal Tony Fernandes was delighted at the result. “I’m completely over the moon! I cannot describe the feeling. Six months of work and to have both cars finish is just unbelievable. We’re thrilled, we’re happy and the spirit in the team is fantastic. I’m really proud of Jarno and of Heikki and everyone here. It’s a great start and better than I could have dreamt of. We wanted to finish the race and to do so ahead of established teams is fantastic.

“From here we keep going. Before the race Clive Chapman gave me Colin Chapman’s old Lotus cap and said ‘when you win the first race you’ll be the man to throw this up in the air like my Dad used to.’ That meant a lot to me, it was a wonderful gesture and it’s like handing over the mantle of one of motor racing’s great dynasties”

Tech chief Mike Gascoyne was also contented. “I have to say thank you to both drivers. They drove great races – Jarno struggled early on but when he changed to the soft tyre he was much more competitive. Apologies to Heikki because he may have suffered from the strategy, and apologies to Jarno because he had a hydraulics problem and he had to slow down to get the car to the finish, but overall a great result.”

The Lotus Racing pit box and hospitality area saw former stars Emerson Fittipaldi, Mario Andretti and Nigel Mansell dropping by. Perhaps they were drawn in by the fragrance of the nasi lemak served by the Malaysian owned team!