Lotus team boss Tony Fernandes has said that he will be concentrating his energies on overseeing the famous marque's return to the top flight, rather than chasing involvement in other sports.

Fernandes' comments come in the wake of his failed bid to take over the reins at ailing Premiership club West Ham United, and amid rumours linking him to other cash-strapped operations such as Portsmouth and Lotus neighbour Norwich City.

"Everything happens for the best, and maybe 'the best' was not for West Ham but to focus on motor racing for the moment," he admitted to Reuters while waiting for Lotus' new T127 to hit the track in testing for the first time, "There is always a danger [of spreading your resources too thinly] - you have to pick the right time to do the right things."

Despite adopting his new stance, however, Fernandes - whose Air Asia concern will continue to back F1 rival Williams this year - believes that there are still 'huge opportunities' to be involved in other sports.

"It is going through a little state of flux, and the easy money is gone, so sensible businessmen will come in and give their money to the right places and monetise those assets," he reasoned, "People aren't getting tired of watching sport, it is just the financial way it's been run that has caused the problems. There is no lack of appetite for going to watch sport - in fact, I think it is probably the best time."

The Malaysian businessman and founder of the AirAsia airline was involved in negotiations to buy West Ham before the London club was sold to former Birmingham City owners David Gold and David Sullivan.

For now, however, Fernandes will be focused on ensuring that Lotus F1 makes it to the grid in Bahrain for next month's opening grand prix, and thereafter on establishing itself respectably among the midfield runners.

"People have said to me that ours was the biggest launch of any car this season," he claimed, "That shows the power we have and I am sure we will attract the right sort of people to come in and support us.

"Today, sponsors will see a real car, and they will see the enormous expenditure that we put out there. It is not just about putting stickers on the cars, there are many other ways of getting revenue. We don't want to say too much at the moment, but we have other sponsors in the pipeline."

Jarno Trulli and Heikki Kovalainen will drive the T127 in Lotus comeback to F1, and are scheduled to join its rivals on track at this week's third group session at Jerez in Spain.


Join the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register to add your comment