Lotus were the last team to gain an entry for 2010 – but so far they look like the most promising of the new teams.
Even so they’re still expecting to start the year around four seconds per lap off the pace. Can the team do justice to their historic and evocative name?
With such a tight time frame to design and build a new car it’s no surprise the Lotus T127 is a conventional-looking creation.
Shortage of downforce seems to be the main cause of their lack of performance, but at least the car has been reasonably reliable.
Designer Mike Gasconye has in the past concentrated on bulk updates to his creations so keep an eye out for a B-version of the T127 sometimes after the teams return to Europe.
Jarno Trulli and Heikki Kovalainen may not be a combination that sets pulses racing, but that’s a good thing for a fledgling team like this. The last thing they need is a rookie sticking the car in the wall, forcing an expensive rebuild and wasting precious track time.
Trulli was often the most productive driver during pre-season testing, managing a whopping 141 laps on one day at Jerez. He will relish the return to low-fuel qualifying and if the team can get their car within touching distance of the established runners Trulli could be the first man to claim some Q1 scalps.
Two years alongside Lewis Hamilton at McLaren did Kovalainen’s reputation no favours. In eight months’ time, once we’ve seen how Jenson Button gets on alongside Hamilton, we may have cause to revise our view of Kovalainen.
Remember, this is the driver who kept Kimi R?â?ńikk?â?Ânen at arms’ length in the streaming rain at Fuji in 2007. Lotus gives him the opportunity for a fresh start.
Gascoyne is a veteran of several F1 teams and has worked with Trulli on several occasions, notably at Toyota during their most successful season, 2005. Several ex-Toyota staff have followed Trulli to Lotus including his race engineer Gianluca Pisanello, giving him some useful continuity.
The team had no major scares in pre-season testing and encouragingly have begun picking up sponsors in the form of CNN.
They’re not that quick.
Poll: championship position
‘Best of the newbies’ appears to be the highest Lotus can shoot for in 2010. Where do you think they’ll finish?
See all the articles in the F1 Fanatic 2010 Season Preview
2010 F1 season