Fernandes almost in tears as Team Lotus secure tenth

By on Monday, November 28, 2011

© Team Lotus

16th and 18th positions might not sound like a reason for celebration in any grand prix, but for Team Lotus today it was a result of enormous significance.

While not in its own way dramatic, Team Lotus’s finish, or more pertinently the failure of HRT or Virgin to improve on the three 13th places that Lotus achieved in Australia, Monaco and Italy, ensure the team from Hingham, Norfolk, finished tenth in the Constructors’ World Championship for consecutive seasons, and with it in effect gained promotion to a more senior level of F1 team membership with all the financial advantages that entails.

The tenth position in the constructors' championship is vital for Lotus because by finishing in tenth for two seasons in a row, they will secure a Column 1 payment believed to be worth around 25 million dollars (around 19 million euros).

“Almost tears for me today! I am absolutely overjoyed,” said team principal Tony Fernandes, who before the race had confessed he expected it to be the longest afternoon of his life. “Two years of hard work have paid off today and it was great to see both cars home safely, helping us win tenth place. The icing on the cake was beating a Renault… We have a fantastic little team here… and I know how much it means to each and every person associated with us to have finished this season where we wanted to. Now we look forward to our new life as Caterham F1 Team and we say goodbye to Team Lotus.”

“I think that is a great way to end the season and secure tenth place,” added chief technical officer Mike Gascoyne. It was a tense afternoon for us with all the possible weather changes, but the conditions held off and we had the sort of race we have been putting in for much of this year. Both drivers were pushing all afternoon – with Jarno we put him on a two stop race which meant he had to look after his tyres. That might have ended up costing him some time, but with Heikki we ran a three stop race and he brought his car home where we thought he could.”

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