A visible part of the flurry of applications for the 2010 Formula One season has been the revival of the revered classic names of Formula One, and now Team Lotus is proposed as one of the new entries. Lola, the world's leading single-seat racing...
A visible part of the flurry of applications for the 2010 Formula One season has been the revival of the revered classic names of Formula One, and now Team Lotus is proposed as one of the new entries.
Lola, the world's leading single-seat racing car manufacturer, has already lodged an entry -- considered one of the most viable of the ones known to be submitted -- and the defunct March name is also proposed to be resurrected. Further, German businessman Franz Hilmer has lodged an entry in the name of "Brabham Grand Prix," much to the chagrin of the Brabham family.
Unlike Brabham, though, the rights to the team Lotus name are clear: David Hunt, the younger brother of the 1976 world champion James, bought the struggling team in October 1994, shortly before it closed down. Hunt has since been trying to find a way to re-enter the Formula One scene, and he has now joined forces with Litespeed owner Nino Judge.
Judge, who worked for Lotus from 1989 to 1991, is joined by respected F1 veteran and technical director Mike Gascoyne, and now also former Team Lotus driver Johnny Herbert, who will be the team's commercial ambassador. Joining Judge (team principal) and Gascoyne (chief designer) is also Steve Kenchington, another Team Lotus alum, who will have the role of director of engineering.
The team further announced that it will be using the Racing Technology Norfolk (RTN) facilities as its base. RTN was used by TOM's in the late 1980s in its stillborn Formula One effort, and then subsequently used by Audi and Bentley to develop their Le Mans-winning sports cars. The addition of RTN and Kenchington significantly adds to the technical credibility of the Litespeed/Lotus bid.
Gascoyne, for his part, is excited about the choice of facility. "I am Norfolk born and bred. For me to continue my F1 career under the banner of the Team Lotus name and help to bring it back to its deserving place in the world championship is a fantastic feeling and something that I am extremely proud to be doing."
Of course the situation for the 2010 F1 season is still very much in flux; the FOTA teams have submitted conditional applications, and depending on their level of participation next year, the FIA may have to reject some or most of the new teams applications, potentially leaving as few as three spaces for new teams.
However, the Team Lotus name would certainly add some appeal to a championship, and take some wind out of the argument that teams like Litespeed lack fan recognition.