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Lotus targeting best newcomer honours in 2010 15 Sep 2009

Mike Gascoyne (GBR) working for the BBC at this race.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 3, Chinese Grand Prix, Practice Day, Shanghai, China, Friday, 17 April 2009 Tony Fernandes, CEO of AirAsia.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 2, Malaysian Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Sepang, Malaysia, Saturday, 4 April 2009

Lotus aim to be the best of the four new teams entering Formula One racing next season. That is according to technical director Mike Gascoyne, following Tuesday’s confirmation of Lotus’s entry in the 2010 championship.

The new team, which will see the Lotus name return to the grid for the first time since 1994, is a partnership between the Malaysian Government and a consortium of Malaysian entrepreneurs.

“We’re realistic that it’s a tremendous job we’ve got in front of us to be fully prepared on the grid in Melbourne, but we’ll do it,” Gascoyne told British F1 broadcasters the BBC. “With the work we’ve done we’ll target being the best of the new cars on the grid and that’s a very clear - and realistic - initial target. I’d hope that by mid season we’re challenging the bottom rung of the current teams and I think that’s achievable.”

Lotus will initially be based near the UK headquarters of Lotus Cars (owned by Malaysian auto giant Proton), before moving to a new purpose-built base at Kuala Lumpur’s Sepang International Circuit.

“We are a very substantial team,” added Gascoyne, who has over 20 years’ experience in the sport. “We’ve got our own factory, the RTN factory in Norfolk, which is fully equipped for Formula One, plus the facilities we’ll be looking at in Malaysia. We’re not just a small new team, we have the possibility to be a very substantial new team and the FIA recognise that.”

Headed by Tony Fernandes, CEO of Air Asia, Lotus already have a wind tunnel programme underway with Fondtech in Italy and will be starting wind-tunnel testing within the next few weeks.

“We’re very confident with the group, with Tony Fernandes leading the team, that we’ll be able to put in place a package that will allow us to be very competitive,” concluded Gascoyne.