Virgin Racing and HRT could not better 12th in Abu Dhabi, which means that Heikki Kovalainen’s 12th place finish in Suzuka clinched 10th place for Lotus Racing in the constructors’ championship. But team boss Tony Fernandes has more than just TV money to be happy about. He told Autosport:

“There are three things I am really happy about. One is that we have got tenth in the constructors’ championship. Two, which is probably just as important as tenth is that we have built a great team. Paddy McNally was saying to me that truckies are coming to talk to me and I know all their names, and I said that was our culture – everyone counts,” he said.

“But the third aspect which I can finally say, and I have resisted from saying it all these months, is that Colin Chapman would have been very proud of what we have achieved. We are the only team that really had to come up from scratch – in the same way that Colin Chapman built his team.

“We didn’t have a big budget, we didn’t have huge sponsors, we didn’t have a team like Vijay (Mallya, of Force India) who bought an outfit, or other people who have bought teams. We didn’t have an F3 team to back us up like Dallara or Manor, we had to build everything from scratch and it was me, Mike Gascoyne, Harry Nuttall, Silvi (Schaumloeffel) and a dog, who walked into Hingham. It was a place I had never been to in my life and I can say today that I am really, really proud,” he beamed.

“I can say that wherever he is he would have been proud after 16 years of us bringing the Lotus name back. Many people have talked about it, but we did it. And I am thrilled that we were able to do it and do it with style. This is the first time I have said it, but I am confident to say that we have brought honour and pride to the Lotus name,” the AirAsia boss added.

Our man Harvinder Singh spoke to the Lotus Racing boss in a telephone interview before the season finale. Click here to play it.