The Lotus Racing team will hope for a strong performance in the Italian Grand Prix next weekend on what will be the first anniversary of the team securing an F1 entry.
Despite being the final team to gain an entry for the 2010 season, Lotus has emerged as the most competitive of the newcomers this year and currently holds the vital tenth place in the constructors' championship.
After a fine performance from both Heikki Kovalainen and Jarno Trulli in Belgium last weekend, Lotus heads for Monza in confident mood with technical director Mike Gascoyne admitting that the team was hoping to celebrate its first anniversary in style.
“Looking back to last weekend, Spa was in many ways one of our best performance of the year so far,” he said. “We have had better positions at the end of a number of races, but in terms of reliability, Spa was our strongest performance to date. Now we go to Monza and that's always a special place to race – the Tifosi create an incredible atmosphere, and while it's obviously focused on Ferrari, I think seeing Jarno and Heikki in our green and yellow cars will be pretty special for some of the most passionate motorsport fans in the world.
“Monza will also be very special for me, Tony, Din, Nasa, Riad and the whole team on a personal level. Race day is the 12th September, which is exactly one year to the day since we heard that our entry into the 2010 Formula One™ World Championship had been accepted. It's hard to put into words just what that means to all of us, but it's already been an incredible 365 days, and we have many more exciting times to come. I've been asked a number of times if I really thought we'd be able to do what looked to many like an impossible task – creating a team from literally just words on a piece of paper to now sitting tenth in the Championship, best of the new teams and with a very bright future ahead of us.
“Onto the track itself: Monza is unique as it's now the lowest downforce circuit on the modern Formula One calendar. For the race weekend, we'll have a revised low downforce package with new front and rear wings, plus a few other smaller modifications to the cars.”
Team principal Tony Fernandes admitted that the Monza race will be one of the biggest for the team so far as it continues to live the dream of competing in F1 before a return to Asia – where the team is likely to have a huge following thanks to its Malaysian roots.
“Exactly one year ago on September 12th our Formula One dream came true, and now we'll be competing at one of the world's great race tracks, bringing the green and yellow cars back to where they belong, and I can't wait to see the reaction of the crowds when we take to the track,” he said. “Mike has already said what it means to him to see our cars racing hard just twelve months since we started work on this amazing team, and I echo his thoughts entirely.
“It has been an amazing journey already, but after Monza we'll be heading back to Asia, and it's going to keep getting more exciting with every step we take.”