In what will be interpreted as a further indication of Lotus' burning ambition, the team's chief technical officer Mike Gascoyne has pledged his future to the Anglo/Malaysian F1 2010 newcomer with a new five-year contract, as the Englishman vows to 'finish his career' there.

Tony Fernandes has promised a raft of exciting announcements in the forthcoming weeks, with the confirmation that he plans to revive the iconic 'Team Lotus' moniker from 2011 onwards - albeit since disputed by Proton [see separate story - click here] - expected to be followed by news that an engine-supply and technical tie-up arrangement has been agreed with Renault, and that both Jarno Trulli and Heikki Kovalainen are remaining on-board for a second consecutive season.

As the Hingham-based operation bids to accelerate its march up the grand prix grid, however, the long-term commitment of Gascoyne - a man who has experience of working for McLaren, Sauber, Tyrrell, Jordan, Renault, Toyota and Force India over the course of a long and successful career in the top flight, and who as such is highly-respected within the paddock - is a major boon, with the 47-year-old's strong leadership and technical direction credited with having played a major role in seeing Lotus comfortably emerge as the best of the F1 2010 debutants, ahead of rivals Virgin and Hispania (HRT).

"Having started the team from scratch with Tony, it was always my intention to finish my career here," he affirmed, "so it's great to have formally agreed a five-year deal. I'd like to extend my sincere thanks to Tony, Din, Nasa, Riad and the whole team, and I'm extremely grateful to everyone involved in Lotus Racing for having the confidence to take this into a long-term contract. We've had a great start to our partnership together, and I'm looking forward to continuing that for the next five years, and even beyond that."

"Mike's five-year deal is a major announcement for the whole Lotus Racing team," added a palpably delighted team principal Fernandes. "It shows just how serious we are, not only about how far ahead we are setting our aspirations, but also as a reward to Mike for the incredibly hard work he and the team have already put in to get us from literally four people back in September '09 to our current position as a serious F1 player with a very bright future ahead of us. On a personal level, I've really enjoyed the last year that we've been working together, and I'm very excited about working with Mike for many years to come."


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