Q+A with Tony Fernandes

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Lotus F1 Racing has today confirmed that Italy's Jarno Trulli, Finland's Heikki Kovalainen and Malaysia's Fairuz Fauzy have joined the team to spearhead driving duties for its debut Formula 1 season in 2010. After the announcement, Tony Fernandes took the time for a short interview.

There has been a lot of speculation recently about the driver line-up. How did you reach your decision?

"Firstly, I would like to say this is an historic day for all us at Lotus F1 Racing as we announce our first driver line-up. We have three drivers who I believe complement each other excellently and who I think represent what Lotus F1 Racing and 1Malaysia is all about. That is not to say it was a straight-forward decision because we spoke with other drivers who I rate very highly, but ultimately we have opted for a careful mix of experience, youth and ambition. In Jarno we have the F1 veteran who proved in 2009 that he is as quick and determined as ever. In Heikki we have a continuing rising star who is still hungry to prove himself, and in Fairuz we have a Malaysian national driver who is eager to progress up the F1 ladder to fulfill the hopes of a nation. It's the full package if you ask me."

What do you expect from the drivers in 2010?

"It is more a question of what we all expect from each other rather than just from the drivers. 2010 will be the first season for Lotus F1 Racing and we have a lot to achieve in a short space of time. As with any new venture, it is a case of 'all hands on deck'. Everybody has a vital role to play but it is about bringing a new team together and gelling. The drivers each bring different experience to the team and I think the combination of their skills will help us quickly establish ourselves as the ones to watch in 2010 and beyond."

Did you ever think you would see two race winning drivers in the team’s first season?

"I am still pinching myself. We have not even finished our first race car, so to attract two race winning drivers to the team is a huge achievement and honour. I think it is a testament to our ambition and our long-term vision that we have such talent on our books in year one. It is further proof that we are serious about what we do and I am sure the other new teams are looking at us with some envy right now."

You have also unveiled the new team logo...

"We have thought long and hard about our team brand and logo, and I am very pleased with the end result. F1 aficionados will immediately recognise the classic green and yellow colour of Lotus, but we have given it a modern twist which is essentially what this team is about. We are not pretending to be the Lotus of the past, but we are honoured to be able to bring the name back into Formula 1 at the start of a new decade of racing. We will draw on its heritage and use it to inspire and motivate our team, Lotus F1 Racing. I hope everybody likes the logo and enjoys a small glimpse into the livery of our race cars for our first season."

Related news article:
Lotus confirm Trulli, Kovalainen and Fauzy
Source Lotus