Lotus aim for steady progress

The new Lotus F1 team, who revealed their 2010 car in an official launch this weekend, have said they are aiming for steady progress towards the sharp end of the grid. Team boss and Air Asia magnate Tony Fernandes said that finishing races would be the first year’s target but that in time the team would compete with the best.

“What are my expectations? I would just love to finish every race in the next year. If we can beat some of the new teams that would be a fantastic start. If we can beat some of the established teams towards the end of the season that would be great,” said Fernandes.

“As Heikki [Kovalainen] said this not a one-year project, we are not here to come last every year. We are here to build a proper team, build the right foundations, not have any aspirations but build quietly and confidently. But mark my words we will compete with the very best, over a period and I think we’ve shown our seriousness by signing three very good drivers.

“So the expectation this year is to try and build every race. Let’s learn a lot.”

Fernandes went on to comment on the unusual nature of the car’s front end, but that he did not know what a fast car looked like and that he was trusting in famously free-spirited chief designer Mike Gascoyne.

“Well I’m looking at the car and I can’t see what a good or bad car looks like,” he said. “That’s my not my expertise, that is in bringing in a group of people, giving them the right environment to work.

“I think that is one of the things that Mike and the team have said – they are enjoying being back in Formula 1. The power of giving the ability of someone to perform.

“Sometimes when you work in a corporate environment and everything is bureaucratic you don’t get the best out of people. That’s my ability, to bring a group of people together, give them the right environment to do their best. And then get Mike the best drivers.”

Lotus will join next week’s second Jerez test.