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Trulli was my first choice, admits Gascoyne.

Jarno Trulli was top of the list of candidates for the new Lotus team, although Mike Gascoyne admits he thought it impossible to sign him - or any other experienced driver - to a start-up operation.

Mike Gascoyne has spoken of his delight at having helped attract Jarno Trulli to the new-born Lotus F1 operation, and not just because of the Italian's vast experience in the top flight.

The pair's grand prix paths have crossed regularly, working together at Renault, Jordan and Toyota before linking up once more in 2010, and the Briton admits that knowing each other well has helped foster a strong understanding of what each other is looking for as they help to push the team forward.

"To be honest, he was always number one on the list - that was from my point of view and also from [team principal] Tony [Fernandes]'s," the chief technical officer confirmed, "The whole driver choice was interesting because we had three groups of drivers and I very much wanted to get two experienced drivers in because, as a new team, you need that experience to provide a platform.

"We had a sort of group of experienced drivers with current teams we thought might be available and approachable, and we hoped we might get one of them, then we looked at some guys who had a couple of years of experience, then GP2 drivers and new drivers - but Jarno was top of our list."

Despite his eagerness to attract Trulli to the team, however, Gascoyne admits that he was sceptical about getting anyone as experienced to take a risk on a start-up operation - especially one starting later than some of its rivals - like Lotus.

"The first discussion we had on it, Tony said 'why don't we take two experienced guys? Why don't we take Jarno and Heikki? I think that will be a good combination'," he recalled, "but I remember saying 'yeah, yeah, this is a new team, forget it, they are not going to want to come'.

"The fact we have ended up with them shows the commitment of Tony to having the strength of character to go for drivers that, quite frankly, cost him money. But it is a statement of intent of where he wants to be. I could not have asked for more from the driver choice."

Trulli's experience is only part of the package that Gascoyne hoped to gain, however, with the Italian also being able to pull out a quick lap when it matters.

"I think we get on well personally, there's a lot of mutual respect, but I think the one thing, over my career, about Jarno is that, over one lap, he is the quickest guy I have ever worked with," he reasoned, "I think that is invaluable for any team, but especially for a new team, where you are struggling to find your feet, to have a guy who is experienced and controlled.

"Working with Jarno, the one thing he gives me is that, on a Saturday, I know the job I have got to do, because that car has gone as quick as it can go. If we are two seconds off pole position, my car needs to go two seconds quicker. Simple.

"I've seen Jarno do it many, many times with cars that aren't very good - he can still get the best out of it. He doesn't panic. He works through his programme and, at times, you wonder what he is doing, but then, come three o'clock on a Saturday, he has done a lap time that you know is as quick as it can do."

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Heikki Kovalainen (FIN), Jarno Trulli (ITA), Mike Gascoyne (GBR), Tony Fernandes (MAS), Fairuz Fauzy (MAS), Lotus Cosworth T127 F1 Launch, Royal Horticultural Hall, London, GBR
Tony Fernandes and Mike Gascoyne, Lotus F1 [pic credit: Lotus F1 Racing]
29.10.2016 - (L-R) Robert Fernley (GBR) Sahara Force India F1 Team Deputy Team Principal with Mike O`Driscoll (GBR) Williams Group CEO and Edward Charlton (GBR) Williams Non-Executive Director.
28.10.2016 - Free Practice 2, Mike O`Driscoll, Williams
03.09.2016 -  Jarno Trulli (ITA) and Charlie Whiting (GBR), Race director and safety delegate
03.09.2016 - Charlie Whiting (GBR), Race director and safety delegate  and Jarno Trulli (ITA)
03.09.2016 - Free Practice 3,  Jarno Trulli (ITA)
03.09.2016 - Free Practice 3,  Jarno Trulli (ITA)
03.09.2016 - Free Practice 3, Jarno Trulli (ITA)
Jarno Trulli - Renault
29.05.2016 - Race, Pastor Maldonado (VEN) Lotus F1 Team E23
28.05.2016 - Pastor Maldonado (VEN) Lotus F1 Team E23
26.05.2016 - Free Practice 1, Pastor Maldonado (VEN) Lotus F1 Team E23
Jarno Trulli - Prost Grand Prix
29.11.2015 - Race, Romain Grosjean (FRA) Lotus F1 Team E23
29.11.2015 - Race, Romain Grosjean (FRA) Lotus F1 Team E23
29.11.2015 - Race, Crash, Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren Honda MP4-30 and Pastor Maldonado (VEN) Lotus F1 Team E23
29.11.2015 - Race, Crash, Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren Honda MP4-30 and Pastor Maldonado (VEN) Lotus F1 Team E23

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Taz - Unregistered

February 15, 2010 7:38 PM

I know the antagonism with regards to the Lotus name but they have made a car that runs (unlike campos and USF1) so best of luck to the team.

mahathir mahadevan - Unregistered

February 16, 2010 6:03 AM

its all gonna end in tears for the malaysian chaps. these are the same guys who spent hundreds of millions buying a motorcycle company and selling it off for $1 few years later. good business for them. lol.

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