Team Lotus: We must score points

By on Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Team Lotus say they are under pressure to score points this year, following their successful debut season in 2010.

CEO Riad Asmat said: "This year, I've got shareholders on my neck saying it's points time.

"We know where we need to be - that's running with Toro Rosso and Sauber."

The team are owned by Malaysian businessman Tony Fernandes - the owner of the Air Asia airline - and his fellow shareholders Kamarudin Meranun and SM Nasarudin.

They invested a budget of approximately £50m in the team in 2010 as the start of a five-year programme that they hope will end with them winning races.

They competed under the Lotus Racing banner in 2010, but have acquired the Team Lotus moniker for 2011. Howeve Group Lotus' partnership with Renault has thrown the naming issue into question

"We know we are Team Lotus, so it's really not an issue for us," Asmat said. "It is what it is.

"We have a five-year plan. It's unfortunate they decided to go their own way for reasons which to me are trivial.

"They get free publicity but we know who we are. It is about the culture of the team. That's what we've taken out of last year.

"When we started the programme, the target was to be up the front in five years' time and we won't change that by virtue of someone else being there, because if we push ourselves too much we will over-commit, and that's not good business."

Asmat added that it was "unfortunate" that Group Lotus and Team Lotus had not been able to resolve their differences but pointed out that Team Lotus are a constructor, whereas Lotus Renault are simply Lotus sponsoring the constructor - Renault.

Team Lotus will field Heikki Kovalainen and Jarno Trulli this season. A test and reserve driver has not yet been announced but it is understood that HRT refugee Karun Chandhok could get the nod in a deal that would see him race in Korea and India.

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