Lotus thrilled after double finish at Sakhir 14 Mar 2010
Whilst fellow new teams HRT and Virgin fell by the wayside during the Bahrain Grand Prix, Lotus will leave Sakhir on Sunday with their heads held high after both Heikki Kovalainen and Jarno Trulli recorded race finishes on the teams Formula One debut.
Im completely over the moon! said Lotus team principal Tony Fernandes. I cannot describe the feeling. Six months of work and to have both cars finish is just unbelievable. Were thrilled, were happy and the spirit in the team is fantastic. Im really proud of Jarno and of Heikki and everyone here.
Its a great start and better than I could have dreamt of. From here we keep going. Before the race Clive Chapman gave me Colin Chapmans old Lotus cap and said when you win the first race youll 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 its like handing over the mantle of one of motor racings great dynasties.
Although former McLaren driver Kovalainen only took 15th place, a full two laps down on Ferrari race winner Fernando Alonso, he did manage to finish ahead of Sebastien Buemi, driving for established team Toro Rosso. And Kovalainen was thrilled that they managed to meet their objectives for the weekend.
It was a good race for our team - to get both cars to the finish is a great achievement, said the Finn. My car didnt have a single problem. The primary goal was to get both cars to the end and we achieved that. So far the team has reached every goal we set ourselves so that is fantastic. In terms of my race, I had a good start and was battling with a lot of guys we didnt think wed be fighting with.
I really enjoyed driving the car, it felt really good and it was good to push. Everybody in the team should be really happy but now the honeymoon is over and we need to start working on better results.
Kovalainens team mate Jarno Trulli fared less well, but while he failed to make it over the finish line after technical problems he was still classified 17th in the results.
The car was understeering quite a lot and I couldnt really predict the balance so at the pit stop the team, who did a really good job, changed the front wing setting and I started pushing again and putting in some good laps, said Trulli. At the end of the race I had a hydraulic problem so I just had to get it to the end of the race. Im really happy and proud for the team because in six months every single target we have fixed we have met so its really good, and, as Tony said, one day Lotus will win and I hope to be here when we do.
Thanks to the teams double finish, the iconic Lotus name has returned to the championship standings in ninth place, ahead of BMW Sauber, HRT and Virgin.