The erstwhile Lotus F1 Team which will be known as 1Malaysia F1 team is re-entering Formula One. FIA, Formula One's governing body on Tuesday awarded Lotus the 13th spot on the grid for the 2010 season.
Lotus, an England based team had been out of F1 since 1994. It is now funded by a partnership between the Malaysian Government and a consortium of Malaysian businessmen. The team headquarters is expected to relocate to a purpose-built facility at Sepang International Circuit, home of the Malaysian Grand Prix for the last 11 years.
FIA turned down an application from BMW Sauber, but said the team would be granted a spot in 2010 if a vacancy arises. FIA said it is consulting urgently with teams about a possible expansion to 14 teams and 28 cars for 2010.
Lotus' team principle will be Tony Fernandes, owner of the Air Asia airline. The team technical director is Mike Gascoyne, who held the same role with Force India, Toyota, Renault and Jordan. Lotus has reached an engine supply deal with Cosworth.
"The 1Malaysia F1 team is a government and private sector initiative combining the collaborative experience of Proton and Lotus, coupled with world class expertise," a Malaysian government statement said ahead of the news conference.
The investors in the venture are Proton, budget airline AirAsia and Naza Motors, a local auto group.
Lotus competed in F1 from 1958-94, winning 79 Grand Prix races and seven constructors' titles. Lotus had world champion drivers in Jim Clark, Graham Hill, Jochen Rindt and Emerson Fittipaldi.