Lotus sign Trulli and Kovalainen for 2010

Jarno Trulli will be back on the F1 grid in 2010 with Lotus

Jarno Trulli will be back on the F1 grid in 2010 with Lotus

Lotus have confirmed their two drivers for their return to F1 in 2010.

Ex-Toyota driver Jarno Trulli will join the team, being re-united with designer Mike Gasconye for the fourth time in his career.

He will be partnered by Heikki Kovalainen, who was squeezed out of McLaren by the arrival of Jenson Button.

The announcement was made by Prime Minister of Malaysia Najib Tun Razak in Kuala Lumpur on Monday.

It means the new Lotus team will have drivers of the same nationalities for its first race as its predecessor did for its last – an Italian and a Finn. Alessandro Zanardi and Mika Salo started Lotus’s last race at Adelaide in 1994.

Trulli is heading into his 14th F1 season, Kovalainen his fourth – and they each have a single Grand Prix win to their names. With a combined 268 starts between them, Lotus have a line-up with more experience than any of the driver pairings announced so far except for Williams’s.

Malaysian Fairuz Fauzy will be the team’s test driver.

Of the four new teams racing in F1 next year so far Campos has announced Bruno Senna and Virgin has confirmed Timo Glock, with Lucas di Grassi expected to be announced as their second driver tomorrow. USF1 are yet to announce their line-up for 2010.

What do you think of Lotus’s F1 driver line-up? Have your say in the comments.

Read more: 2010 F1 drivers and teams

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74 comments on Lotus sign Trulli and Kovalainen for 2010

  1. wasiF1 said on 14th December 2009, 9:00

    Good,but it does mean that chances of Kobayashi racing in 2010 is slim.8 seats are still empty with the biggest one of them all is Schumacher racing in 2010,USF1 & Sauber are the only team still to name their drivers.

  2. James said on 14th December 2009, 9:31

    I was expecting Kovy to go to Renault myself… he has good ties there. Although I guess the uncertainty surrounding the team put him off.

    Sounds like Lotus have a strong line up. If Virgin wanna compete with that, they’ll have to sign Anthony Davidson now. Nobody else on the table really.

    • vettelfan said on 14th December 2009, 22:46

      I agree about Renault-Heikki. I thought he would go there too, but either they weren’t offering him a deal (or a good enough one) or like you say, Heikki wanted a certain future.

      Personally I think it is a good move for him, he has the chance to become No1 driver for Lotus and show his true potential against a team-mate that isn’t as good as Lewis.

  3. Dennis said on 14th December 2009, 9:32

    I think it’s a shame. I grew tired of Trulli. Sure he’s got a lot of experience but in the races he’s just annoying. Very hard to pass and a poor racepace. Heikki I’m not so sure about either. Sure he’s been driving with Hamilton the last 2 years and Hamilton always is the no 1 driver of the team and he gets all the benefits and updates earlier as we all know. I think this could be the worst team since Minardi a few years back. Hopefully they get a superb car, otherwise I don’t see any reason at all why those 2 drivers will get further than place 25 and 26.

    • I agree with what you said about Trulli, prefer to see new blood coming in with new teams although cant blame them for going with the experience.

      Im undecided with Heikki, i dont think he got a fair crack at Mclaren and there is no doubt he had potential so maybe he might suprise us all.

      I really hope they dont linger in 25th and 26th although i can see it happening. Would be such a shame to see a great name just making up the numbers at the back.

  4. A solid line-up for a new team, having two experienced drivers must surely put them at an advantage to the other new teams.

  5. Marrc said on 14th December 2009, 9:38

    i think this is a good line up. Kov who can keep up with the best but not win. Thats all a new team needs! and trulli who is good in qauli and crap in races

  6. two defensive drivers – definitely neither a winning, nor a developing for a win lineup :-(
    Shame for the name who sported greats like Jim Clarke and Senna and many others.

  7. Chalky said on 14th December 2009, 9:51

    If anything, they should hopefully bring some finishes for the team.
    It’s the experience in their first year that they’ll need to set them up. But then Toyota thought that when they started.

  8. I think it is great to see what Heikki can do now. He just couldn’t achieve his full potential at McLaren, I don’t know why and it doesn’t matter now but at least we have the chance to finally see if he’ll fail everywhere or whether he can drive great in a lower pressure team.

    Remember Frentzen bombed at Williams against Villeneuve, and he was flying in the year he got out. Remember he was a suprise title contender that year in the 3rd best car, compare that to when he was average in the fastest car. I hope we see Heikki do well, I remember Alonso had faith in him before his debut as he knew him from Renault, so I hope he was right!

    • Also may I just say, Heikki started out at McLaren really well. If it weren’t for bad luck at Australia, he would have followed Hamilton home to a 1-2. He did well in Malaysia, did better than Hamilton in Bahrain etc. He suffered lots of bad luck in the first half of the season when he was at his most competitive., and some more in the second half losing out a lot of points.
      He was destroyed by Hamilton in the second half of the season and this year as well so I don’t know what happened to him, maybe he had his confidence destroyed. It is up to Lotus to get it back.

  9. Robert McKay said on 14th December 2009, 11:13

    I think it’s a very good line-up for a new team. Neither have been chosen because are bringing substantial sponsorship money, which seems to be a significant factor in many of the other new teams decisisions for at least one driver.

    Trulli is a better race driver now than he was a couple of seasons back, but still with some lightning quali speed.

    Kovi was disappointing by Mclaren standards, but he’s still young and hungry but with much more experience than GP2 drivers, and there is some talent there. I think he might flourish being away from Hamilton and Mclaren.

    But having said that, it’s clear that Trulli and Kovalainen’s careers are not going where they want. Trulli may not have time to stay and build Lotus up over 5+ seasons, even if he could. And Kovi has left a very top team for what will be a near-the-bottom team most likely.

    Still, good for Lotus to get these names – difficult to see another new team with a better overall lineup I think.

  10. WidowFactory said on 14th December 2009, 14:12


  11. Two Also rans on the one team, not sure if it is the best choice. Both these drivers usually make early departures from races…

  12. SaloolaS said on 14th December 2009, 15:32

    I think it’s a good choice. Trulli is very experienced, great in qualifying and is overall quite a good driver. Kovalainen really didn’t achieve much in McLaren, but he had a great season in Renault. For some reason he wasn’t fast in McLaren, and we’ll see if he can be fast in Lotus. Let’s hope so.

    • he could have been putting his mclaren on the limit? just lewis was able to take the car much, much further

  13. DanThorn said on 14th December 2009, 15:45

    Great lineup. Trulli’s qualifying pace would be an asset to any team, and he’s more than capable of driving great races when the car is working for him. It’s a great chance for him to use his experience to help establish a new team before he retires (see: David Coulthard, Giancarlo Fisichella).
    Heikki is also a good choice, it will be interesting to see whether he can recapture the form from his debut season now he’s free from the shackles of being Hamilton’s team mate.

  14. John H said on 14th December 2009, 17:16

    The first time I read about this, I thought the same as most I guess – two crapOs. But having thought about it for a while, for a brand spanking new team this is the sensible long-term choice to get some solid points finishes with nothing spectacular, and a good base to put a rookie in the car in 1 or 2 years time.

    This is the opposite approach to Campos, so it will be interesting to see how they get on.

  15. Lotus in 2010: around P18

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