The reborn Lotus team has revealed that it expects to be able to unveil its first contemporary Formula One contender in around a month's time, giving it an equal time to prepare for the 2010 season opener.
Team owner Tony Fernandes made the brief confirmation that the first Lotus to grace F1 in 16 years would make its public debut on Friday 12 February, although a venue had yet to be revealed. The team was the first of the four newcomers to reveal its 2010 line-up – signing proven F1 pair Jarno Trulli and Heikki Kovalainen – and is now the first to confirm the launch of its car.
"Turning on engines on the 5th, official launch 12th February,” Fernandes wrote on his Twitter
feed, “Great atmosphere at Higham."
The mid-February launch will give Lotus a month to get the car fettled for the new season, with the first race weekend due to kick off in Bahrain on Friday 12 March. The date of the unveiling will also mean that the team misses the first group test, scheduled for Valencia at the start of the February, although it appears that it will be in good company, with 2009 runner-up Red Bull Racing also looking set to make a belated appearance in 2010.
Fernandes, meanwhile, has other matters to attend to in addition to his F1 aspirations and Air Asia airline, as he is waiting to hear whether a rescue bid for his beloved West Ham United has been accepted. The Malaysian had been pondering an involvement with the financially-strapped London club for some time before making an investment offer, but his interest has competition from rival bids.