Lotus Racing team principal Tony Fernandes admitted he was delighted to see the team secure tenth place in the championship standings following the F1 season finale in Abu Dhabi.
Although the team failed to score a point in its debut season, a superior finishing record was enough to take top honours amongst the three newcomers ahead of rivals Virgin Racing and Hispania.
With the team now focused on making steps forward in 2011 after confirming a switch to Renault engines, Fernandes insisted that Lotus could be rightly proud of its performance through the 2010 campaign.
“I am completely relieved, completely ecstatic, completely happy and completely vindicated in making the decision to go into F1,” he said. “What we have achieved today is what dreams are made of. To complete 19 races after having just five months to build a car and finish in tenth in style is something that is truly magical. It shows you that even in the modern age where money and power counts for so much, there is a chance for ambition and dreams to shine.
“2010 is a year that we can be proud of. We brought Lotus back into F1 after many had talked about it, but we did it. I can confidently say that everyone associated with the Lotus history can be very proud of what we have done this year. This is the first chapter of a long career ahead and we will create our own future, destiny and history from here.
“I am thankful to all the incredibly special staff we have in Hingham, Malaysia and here in Abu Dhabi for what they have done this year and my abiding memory of 2010 comes from one of our engineers, who told me he had achieved higher grid positions with other teams, but never with a team that feels as special as this.
“To all the Lotus fans thank you so much for your support – we could not have done it without you. I am thrilled that Lotus Racing has opened up F1 to everyone out there, and we cannot wait to see you next year.”
Heikki Kovalainen finished 17th in the final round of the year although team-mate Jarno Trulli was a late retirement after his rear wing failed.