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Friday press conference - Singapore GP - Pt.1

I think it is one of the best on the calendar as well. Just having family from Singapore helps. I am assured support in one form or the other. It is just next to Malaysia so we represent Asia to a certain degree and we hope we will be able to push our name, our brand, into the region.

Q:
There are rumours of a name change but also a change of location for the team, whatever it might be called. It has been for so long in Norfolk it is difficult to imagine that Team Lotus will be elsewhere.

Riad Asmat:
I'll take the one question first which is the location. Our home in Norfolk, in Norwich in Hingham, and that is, for sure, never going to change. That will be maintained as one of our parts but as a team that is growing and progressing we need to have a look at how to get more efficiencies out of the team and one of the main areas is to be in the motorsports belt of the UK. It is something we are looking into and when the time is right we will make the necessary announcement. But for sure Hingham is our home.

Q:
Will you keep facilities there?

Riad Asmat:
Yes, we bought the place and it is home for us. We will never go away. On your second point?

Q:
The name change?

Riad Asmat:
Name change. No decision as yet. We are still Team Lotus as you can see but as my shareholders have mentioned we are open to anything and we will see how it progresses from this point.

Q:
Gerard, we hear about new facilities and new investment in the team. Can you tell us a little bit more about that?

Gerard Lopez:
Yes, we essentially wanted to bring the place we are in right now, Enstone, up to the best standards in Formula One and it was missing a couple of things. One was the wind tunnel, which was still only 50 per cent scale. The second one was the driver simulator and then also a couple of logistical areas so we have decided essentially to expand the factory. Improve the wind tunnel up to 60 per cent, which is the maximum allowed and build the new simulator.

Q:
Is that really state-of-the-art or even better than anybody else's?

Gerard Lopez:
I think everybody else that is a state-of-the-art team has the 60 per cent tunnel so I think that is matching essentially the best. On the simulator, as far as we know, it is probably going to be one of the very best simulators in the business.

Q:
Are there plans for further investment?

Gerard Lopez:
We have to invest every day essentially, just because it is a Formula One team so things become obsolete quite quickly. I think we have maxed out in terms of personnel. When we took over there were about 480 people. There are 520 I believe now, so we increase that number. The investments will continue essentially as much as we need to, to try and be where we want to be, which is a top three team in Formula One.

Q:
Your third driver is the new GP2 champion Romain Grosjean. What are your plans for him?

Gerard Lopez:
It's a question that I need to take from a different angle, also of a management company that manages his career. I think the plans for a GP 2 winner, especially one that wins it in such a convincing manner, is to be in Formula One. We are going to try and help him sit in a Formula One car next year.

Q:
Actually you were in a difficult position until quite recently of having five drivers for two cars potentially.

Gerard Lopez:
And more. There's people that are interested just in case. But right now we have a commitment to Robert (Kubica). He has done amazing things for the team. We know what he is capable of and I think any team would take him if he is capable of delivering the same thing. Our commitment is to try and see if he can come back and we will wonder about anything else afterwards.

Q:
Sam, a sad moment for you isn't it, leaving Williams?

Sam Michael:
It's been a great 11 seasons with them. I think they were such a prestigious name and it has been an honour to work with Frank [Williams] and Patrick [Head]. This weekend is the last race and the main thing for me is that we finish everything off properly which we are doing. I leave Williams with a very good relationship with the company. I have nothing but good memories of the place but it is time for a change after so many seasons.

Q:
When exactly do you join McLaren?

Sam Michael:
That's not decided yet. That is something being discussed privately so it's not really appropriate to go into that here.

Q:
But you've got a bit of gardening leave have you?

Sam Michael:
Well, as I said, I better not discuss that here.

Q:
Tell us about the technical challenges of this circuit?

Sam Michael:



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