Fernandes enters Team Air Asia in GP2

Lotus team principal Tony Fernandes has started a new GP2 team.

Team Air Asia has been accepted to compete in GP2 and GP2 Asia from 2011 to 2013.

GP2 series boss Bruno Michel said:

Team Air Asia [...] is a new team built on a strong relationship with a current Formula One team presided by Tony Fernandes.

The seriousness of their presentation, their ambition and their worldwide project were really appealing and in line with what we expect from all our teams. We are very happy to welcome an Asian team to our paddock.
Bruno Michel

Fernandes’ Air Asia airline currently sponsor Williams but their backing is expected to switch to Lotus next year.

The Junior Lotus Team already competes in World Series by Renault, using the same colours as the T127 F1 cars.

British team Carlin is the other new addition to the GP2 grid for 2011. Arden, ART, Addax, Dams, iSport, Ocean, Racing Engineering, Rapax, Coloni, Super Nova and Trident have all been retained.

Read more: Lotus team information

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21 comments on Fernandes enters Team Air Asia in GP2

  1. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 21st September 2010, 15:05

    I wonder how much of Lotus’ results influenced this decision. I know Manor were bidding for a GP2 grid berth, because they wanted to plot out a GP3 -> GP2 -> Formula 1 route for prospective drivers. But they’ve been struggling compared to Lotus (largely because of gearbox penalties) … I’d be curious to see how the GP2 entry bid process differed to the Formula 1 system.

  2. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 21st September 2010, 15:23

    Interesting aside: no more DPR. I’m guessing that either Michael Herck is trying to step up to Formula 1 (Nelson Piquet did the same thing with Piquet GP), or Andre Herck has run out of money and shut the team down. I’d say the latter is far more likely, because given Herck’s results to date, no team in their right mind would pick him up.

    But then again, Peter Sauber fired and re-hired Nick Heidfeld twice, so stranger things have happened.

    • I’m sure that the teams are chosen by GP2, so after 3 years the organisation looks at team that contribute too little to the series in terms of results or similar. If any teams dont match certain criteria they are replaced (as DPR has been replaced this year). So i think what you say about DPR just leaving is wrong.

      • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 21st September 2010, 15:55

        Except that DPR’s been in the sport in its current form since 2006. If they were assessed every three years, then they would have been removed by now. They might have had a race win or two back in 2006, but if what you say is true, it wouldn’t be enough to save them. As perennial tail-enders, it’s much more likely that they went the same way as Durango and BCN Competition: financially-induced cardiac arrest.

  3. This is good news I think. Fernandes is clearly in F1 for a long time, not just a good time, and interested in bringing through drivers. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Fauzy and so on being the driver line up for this next year.

  4. I suppose it makes commercial sense for Fernandes not to enter this team under the air asia banner but I would’ve thought he’d race it as part of team lotus. Sigh.

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 21st September 2010, 16:12

      If I were entering a GP2 team, I’d do exactly the same thing – I’d want to get in on my own strengths, not simply because I already had a Formula 1 team. Fernandes has clearly thought this through and is obviously in the sport for the long haul.

  5. Jameson said on 21st September 2010, 16:14

    Fernandes just acquired the rights to use the Team Lotus name, so why would he not race under that banner with his Air Asia line as the primary sponsor?

    • Maybe thats because the GP2 races are not really broadcasted anywhere. Sponsoring the team but making its name Lotus would mean the bussiness hardly gets any publicity.

      Any publicity to come would be from having the team name announced with details what’s going on.

  6. Does Webber have anything to do with the Arden team or is that just in GP3?

    • It’s only in GP3, Arden is still Horners team so there’s a kind of a connetion to Webber and Red Bull through Horner.

  7. I wonder whether this team will evolve to be renamed Team Lotus GP2…

  8. The Last Pope said on 21st September 2010, 18:52

    Fernandes wants Lotus to be known once again for competing at the pinicle of motorsport. Using the Lotus name in gp2 would go against this and serve no purpose. Also would not be good for the new gp2 team who need to become known as a team in its own right, not just a feeder for the Lotus f1 team.

  9. US_Peter (@us_peter) said on 21st September 2010, 19:07

    Good news for Lotus.

  10. wasiF1 (@wasif1) said on 22nd September 2010, 2:04

    They have done a good thing as this GP2 team will feed them good test drivers for the future & if they do a great job then they may get a chance to seat in the F1 car.

  11. Bad move. He’s expanding too much too early. Fernandes is set to go bust & lose all his money at this rate.

    • wasiF1 (@wasif1) said on 22nd September 2010, 7:41

      In kind of agree with you, his ideas are great but I just hope his investment pays off.

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 22nd September 2010, 8:41

      I don’t think he’s expanding too much, too quickly at all. He’s clearly got big ideas, and he wouldn’t be able to get them through if the Powers That Be didn’ agree it was viable.

      • Plus he has the money, and controls a ready sponsor.

        He’s a bit of a magnetic character, he kind of attracts the right attention and people to him by way of his people skills, attitude and clarity. He’s gonna be a colossus at this rate.

  12. we in Malaysia are getting confuse… is it now TEAM 1MALAYSIA or TEam LOTUS or TEAM AIRASIA???

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