One of Formula One's new teams for 2010, Malaysian based Lotus F1 has revealed the first images of its very first wind tunnel model. Technical director Mike Gascoyne is happy with the achievement but is aware that a lot more work needs to be done.
"The start of any windtunnel testing is an important step in the development of a new Formula One car but it is particularly exciting for us as we continue preparations for our first season," Gascoyne explained.
"It has been a very busy time since our entry was confirmed by the FIA. We had been working on the entry for several months so we already had aspects of the team infrastructure in place; the finances, the factory and the top management. Once our entry was confirmed in mid-September, we were able to accelerate our recruitment and car development process and this is really where we are at now."
The Malaysian team, funded by AirAsia tycoon Tony Fernandes, is currently based in the UK but plans to set up a factory at Malaysia's Sepang circuit in the near future. "The longer-term vision is to create a centre of technical excellence at the Sepang circuit, which we have already started planning together with Tony Fernandes and his associates," Gascoyne continued.
"Naturally, this takes time, so we have opted initially for a UK base at the RTN facility in Hingham from where we will run the F1 operations while we establish our Malaysian facilities. Ultimately, the team will be headquartered in Malaysia but we will keep a small UK base which will give us a logistical advantage when we are racing within Europe."
Until now no drivers have been signed, although several sources indicate that Jarno Trulli could be in contention for one of the seats. Gascoyne has been working with Trulli in the past while at Renault and Toyota.
"We have been looking closely at the driver market to determine our best options for next year - including Malaysian drivers - but no decisions have been made yet," Gascoyne confirmed. "We need versatile drivers; we need reliable and technically minded drivers who can help us develop the car during the season, but at the same time we need drivers who are hungry for results and who can extract every little bit of performance from the car at all times."