Interview with Lotus team principal Tony Fernandes 13 Mar 2010
The Lotus brand lives on, and for many of the former world champions who are in Bahrain to celebrate 60 years of Formula One racing, visiting Lotus in its new guise was something not to be missed. Although repeating the glory days will be a difficult ask for the small start-up, team principal Tony Fernandes is hungry to succeed
Q: How does it feel to see your cars in action during qualifying?
Tony Fernandes: Its fantastic to see Lotus back on the grid after 16 years. So many things could have gone wrong, like gears not working or hydraulic problems, but we have finished our first qualifying and have broken the two-minute mark. So I am very, very happy.
Q: Any tears of joy from your side?
TF: It is now about pure competition. We are trying to build up from what we have got. We have celebrated every time we have achieved something, and for me (our first test) in Jerez was very special to see the car go out for the first time. Now we are in the business of trying to do better and there are no real emotions.
Q: There have been some Lotus legends in the garage on Saturday, including Nigel Mansell, Emerson Fittipaldi, Mario Andretti and Peter Warr
TF: It is fantastic that we have some form of credibility and endorsement from these legends. Obviously we are still far away from what they achieved, but its great that they respect what we have done and that they want to be part of it. It was great to see Emerson and Mario during qualifying, which made me really proud. It is usually that everyone wants to be with the winner, and no one with the loser, so it was great that they stood up and wanted to be a part of history being made today.
Q: Do you have any special words for the people back home in Malaysia?
TF: I have to thank them for all the support. I can promise that we will go out there and do our best, as this is only step one of a very long journey. We are really happy that we are here and can line up on the grid. We hope that we can do them proud by the end of the season. We need to go out there and see how we do throughout the whole season.