Best finish yet cements Lotus’s position as top new team (Lotus race review)

Heikki Kovalainen, Lotus, Suzuka, 2010

Heikki Kovalainen all-but confirmed Lotus as the highest-ranked new team in the constructors’ championship by finishing 12th in the Japanese Grand Prix.

With Jarno Trulli finishing 13th the team look set to claim tenth in the teams’ championship and win a significant amount of prize money.

Jarno Trulli Heikki Kovalainen
Qualifying position 19 20
Qualifying time comparison (Q1) 1’35.346 (-0.118) 1’35.464
Race position 13 12
Average race lap 1’47.658 (+1.356) 1’46.302
Laps 51/53 52/53
Pit stops 1 1

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Jarno Trulli

Headed the new teams’ drivers in qualifying, a few hundredths faster than his team mate and a second ahead of the Virgins.

Pitted behind the safety car but that left him stuck behind Sakon Yamamoto, who he took until lap 14 to overtake.

Lost time from lap 39 with an hydraulic problem but was safe from Timo Glock behind him who had lost even more time behind Yamamoto.

Compare Jarno Trulli’s form against his team mate in 2010

Heikki Kovalainen

Started on the soft tyre and delayed his pit stop until lap 35, allowing him to get out and in ahead of Trulli. Took advantage of the high number of retirements to finish 12th:

It was a wicked race, really absolutely fantastic for me, Jarno and the whole team. We decided to start with the soft tyre, which was a little bit of a gamble, and then stayed out during the safety car.

The target was to build up enough of a gap to allow me to pit without losing places to the guys behind and we did that, though it was very close with Jarno when I came out. On the harder tyre the car just felt brilliant – I had a huge amount of grip from the second set and it was a lot of fun to push for the rest of the race.

Our pace was amazing ?ǣ we were only lapped once and at this kind of circuit, where we needed to perform, we could not have done any more. An amazing day for the whole team, and now we?re another big step closer to that tenth place, which is obviously the main aim of the whole season.
Heikki Kovalainen

Team principal Tony Fernandes said:

I am absolutely delighted, just so pleased for the whole team. The result today is a tremendous response to the negativity that we have been dealing with off-track over the last week or so.

This is the best ever result in the as yet very short life of Lotus Racing, and 12th and 13th far exceeds any of the expectations I had at the start of the season. The future for our team is so bright, and the decisions we have been making recently are giving us an incredible platform from which to build on days like this.

Thank you Mike, Heikki, Jarno, Riad and everyone.

Compare Heikki Kovalainen’s form against his team mate in 2010

2010 Japanese Grand Prix

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13 comments on Best finish yet cements Lotus’s position as top new team (Lotus race review)

  1. Griggs said on 11th October 2010, 16:22

    Well done Lotus.

    Definitely the best of the new teams. I’m looking forward to seeing their car next year.

    This has to be one of my favourite F1 quotes this season though: “Our pace was amazing – we were only lapped once” – Heikki Kovalainen

    • US_Peter (@us_peter) said on 11th October 2010, 20:36

      That really is impressive though if you think about the giant leaps forward all the top teams have made. If anything you’d think they’d be getting lapped more this late in the season.

  2. Considering there were only 16 finishers, its hardly a great acheivement.

    • Griggs said on 11th October 2010, 16:50

      Why are people who follow F1 always so negative?

      They came 12th out of 24 cars, that’s 12 cars who didn’t make it to the finish line before them.

      Yes they aren’t as fast as the established teams, but they are aiming to finish top among the new teams, and this result pretty much guarantees them that.

      Give them a break, they are clearly ambitious and heading in the right direction.

      • Its not that im “negative” its the fact that they didnt finish ahead of any of the established teams.

        Had they finished ahead of Alguesuari or Buemi, there might be cause for celebration.

        I just dont see what there is to celebrate about them finishing in their regular spot (i.e behind the established teams).

        Yes, theres some money to be had for 10th in the constructors, but Lotus had that position in the bag anyway before Japan.

        • UneedAFinn2Win said on 11th October 2010, 20:19

          Mclaren, 1966, 9th / 13
          Mercedes, 1964, 9th / 13
          Red Bull, 1997, 9th / 11
          Williams, 1978, 9th / 17
          Renault, 1977, “also-ran” /20
          Force India, 1991, 5th / 19
          Toro Rosso, 1985, “also-ran” /19
          Sauber, 1993, 7th / 13
          Lotus (Chapman), 1958, 6th / 9
          Lotus (1Malaysia), 2010, 10th / 13

  3. how much money does a team can earn if it finishes at 12th?

  4. f1yankee said on 11th October 2010, 18:53

    well, congrats to lotus. of course next year, there will be no congratulations for being the 9th loser. i do expect them to mix it up in the middle of the pack.

  5. Robbie said on 12th October 2010, 4:05

    Congratulations to Lotus. I’ve been following and quietly supporting them on the side since they started, mainly because of KOV (nice fella) but Mike Gascoyne too. Great to see them developing so well. I think they’ll be challenging the midfield this time next year.

  6. Under the Concorde Agreement the top ten teams in Formula One share 50% of the sport’s underlying profits that comes from revenue sources such as TV rights and trackside advertising. The higher a team finishes the more it gets, with tenth place receiving £17 million but 11th and 12th place receiving nothing at all.

    • TheGreatCornholio said on 12th October 2010, 9:25

      Lotus racing budget for this season was around £55million so £17million would be 35% towards next years budget. Thats a lot of carbon fibre or wind tunnel time!

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