Fairuz Fauzy tipped for third Lotus seat

Fairuz Fauzy at the Spyker launch in 2007

Fairuz Fauzy at the Spyker launch in 2007

The Malaysian-backed Lotus F1 team is likely to have a Malaysian in its 2010 driver line-up – but only in a testing role.

The team’s chief technical officer Mike Gascoyne told the Malaysian Star Fairuz Fauzy is likely to be the team’s third driver. He said:

Fairuz will be in the team probably as a reserve driver or a test driver. He has the talent but we don?t want him to ??crash and burn? in the race because of his inexperience.

Take (Fernando) Alonso for example. He was signed as a test driver and didn?t get a race seat until after three years with Renault and he went on to win trophies. This is exactly what we want with Fairuz, for him to have enough experience because racing in the Formula One is at a much higher level than he [is] used to.
Mike Gascoyne

Gascoyne’s words are extremely diplomatic and the comparison with Fernando Alonso is particularly optimistic.

Fauzy has covered many miles since making his racing debut in British Formula Ford ten years ago, but hasn’t done an awful lot of winning. I could only find records of three races he’s won in that time.

After finishing 12th in the British Formula Three championship in 2004 he made the jump to GP2. He spent two years in the category without scoring a point, but had quite a few crashes.

Since then he’s been in the World Series by Renault where he finished a creditable second in the championship this year behind Bertrand Baguette.

Fauzy was one of Spyker’s five nominated test drivers in 2007.

For now we should give him the benefit of the doubt – he might just be a late bloomer. But it’s hard to avoid the impression putting him in the team is anything other than a sponsor-pleasing tactic.

And with testing so tightly restricted at the moment, any third driver will lucky to get much time in the car outside of straight-line aerodynamic tests.

In the meantime Lotus are facing questions about their wind tunnel model and the similarities it bears to Force India’s design. Gascoyne previously worked for the Silverstone-based team.

Lotus F1 team

Advert | Go Ad-free

27 comments on Fairuz Fauzy tipped for third Lotus seat

  1. steph90 said on 8th November 2009, 11:32

    Maybe a third driver is more of an insult these days with so little testing :P I agree probably more to please sponsors and PR etc.
    Kobayashi is meant to be eyeing Lotus seat
    The new ‘spy scandal’ incident with Lotus and FI is ridiculous in my opinion. Gascoyne isn’t going to radically change his ideas and…

    Aerolab has hit back at claims it and the new Lotus team may be breaching Force India’s intellectual property.
    It has been reported in recent days that the Silverstone based team was concerned that the wind tunnel model of Lotus’ 2010 car strongly resembles the 2009 Force India.
    Mike Gascoyne, formerly of Force India, has used the Italian engineering company for both of his most recent F1 projects.
    Aerolab hit back at the reports, revealing that it is in fact pursuing Force India in the courts after “serious and persistent breaches of contract”.
    “These rumours are designed only to tarnish the company’s reputation and professionalism and to divert attention away from the facts,” said Aerolab’s Jean-Claude Migeot.

  2. But it’s hard to avoid the impression putting him in the team is anything other than a sponsor-pleasing tactic.

    Kind of like Alonso at Ferrari? ;) Eh, everyone needs to keep the sponsors happy. We’ll just have to wait and see how he does.

  3. John H said on 8th November 2009, 13:09

    Lotus eh?

  4. mp4-19b said on 8th November 2009, 13:22

    Wiki mentions that his first name is Mohamed. So, if he does race in 2010, will he be the first moslem driver in F1?

  5. Bertrand Baguette

    Not to forget his cousin, Christopher Croissant

  6. Gascoyne’s comparison with Alonso is more than a little disingenuous, not only because Fauzy has shown few signs of being a world champion, but also because Alonso did a year’s racing with Minardi in 2001, aged 19, before he began testing with Renault. He then took a year out testing in 2002 before stepping up to a race seat the following year, bjut he probably would have done just as well had they put him in a year earlier.

    If Lotus really want a Malaysian on the driving side, then why not recall Alex Yoong? He was pretty awful when he drove for Minardi late 2001 (alongside Alonso, incidentally) and 2002, but since then he has done some winning in A1GP and generally shown himself to have developed into a competent performer.

    • Praveen Titus said on 12th November 2009, 18:04

      If Lotus really want a Malaysian on the driving side, then why not recall Alex Yoong? He was pretty awful when he drove for Minardi late 2001 (alongside Alonso, incidentally) and 2002, but since then he has done some winning in A1GP and generally shown himself to have developed into a competent performer.

      Fairuz Fauzy himself has finished on the podium in A1GP and I think has also won a few races in that series. That’s no indication, though, that a driver will be good in F1. A1GP and F1 are different.

  7. Sush Meerkat said on 8th November 2009, 14:20

    Gascoyne’s words are extremely diplomatic and the comparison with Fernando Alonso is particularly optimistic.

    thats his marketing head saying that, to appease the financial overlords funding his project that so happen to be Malaysian.

    If he was funded by Thor he’d nominate lightning as a driver like Alonso.

    I’m not saying thats a bad thing, in his shoes I’d say the same thing about a Malaysian driver when I work for a Malaysian company while speaking to the Malaysian media

  8. Owen G said on 8th November 2009, 19:20

    Bertrand Baguette is a great name! Sounds like a driver from a 1980’s computer racing game.

  9. wasiF1 said on 9th November 2009, 1:25

    I think its nice give him a year to test then place him in the racing car.Rumors are that Trulli will be joining Lotus for 2010.

  10. I know nothing on Fuazy so I can’t comment on him, but the difference in F1 with when Alonso was a test driver to gain experience and now is that with the testing ban a third driver now won’t get that much experience.

  11. Nitpicker said on 9th November 2009, 11:03

    For now we should give him the benefit of the doubt – he might just be a late bloomer.

    Nobody rated Kobayashi much until he tussled with the World Champion-elect and showed his mettle. F1 suited him better than GP2 it seems. The same could be said of Fauzy or any other also-ran driver in the lower leagues, but we won’t know until every one of them gets an F1 test which of course can’t happen.

    A high turnover of rookies could be a good move for the new F1 teams — give them half a season of ‘testing’ to prove some ability, or they get replaced by the next rookie.

    • Praveen Titus said on 12th November 2009, 18:09

      Nobody rated Kobayashi much until he tussled with the World Champion-elect and showed his mettle. F1 suited him better than GP2 it seems. The same could be said of Fauzy or any other also-ran driver in the lower leagues, but we won’t know until every one of them gets an F1 test which of course can’t happen.

      Quite true. Damon Hill wasn’t particularly mpressive in the lower categories, but became World Champion. The opposite is also true. Nelson Piquet Jr, Heikki Kovaleinen, etc. were so good in GP2 but were found wanting in F1.

  12. Rob Wilson said on 9th November 2009, 12:55

    if he’s gunna be the test driver who’s gunna be in the car? i thought it was – Trulli, Fauzy…but seemingly not, i say hopefully Kobayashi, he’s been impressive :)

    • steph90 said on 9th November 2009, 13:41

      I’d say Koby. Jacques V is a possibility if Lotus want to go for a line up which is completely experienced but they may as well shove a young promise in the other car like Williams are and get the best of both worlds.

Add your comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

All comments must abide by the comment policy. Comments may be moderated.
Want to post off-topic? Head to the forum.
See the FAQ for more information.