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Team Lotus: Colin – we hope we did you proud
29 November 2011
Team Lotus successfully achieved its goal of claiming tenth in the F1's constructors' championship in what was its final race under the evocative name when Heikki Kovalainen and Jarno Trulli finished 16th and 18th at Brazilian GP.
The Norfolk-based squad, who will now exist under the name of Caterham F1, will head into 2012 fresh in the knowledge that its funding is virtually secure, after a second successive top ten finish secured the multi-million pound cash injection.
Sao Paulo was business as usual for both Kovalainen and Trulli, who typically outshone the other younger teams while latching onto the back of the existing midfielders.
Kovalainen enjoyed the better of weekends within the Lotus camp and as ever executed his usual 'rocket start' up the order before settling into a competitive but realistic pace. The Finn, who completed a relatively straightforward race to 16th, congratulated his team on another excellent weekend coupled with an encouraging season which has seen the team progress onto another level.
"Thank you to everyone for another excellent weekend for the team, where I don't think we could have got anything more from the whole package," he said. "All afternoon the car felt great and we managed to make the most of the performance we put in yesterday in qualifying.
"I had another great start today - they've really been excellent for some time now - and, from there, I got straight into a good rhythm right throughout the whole race. I had a few issues with the blue flags towards the end, with so many cars coming around it kind of messes with your own race, but that's just something you have to deal with.
"All year we've kept on progressing and we've finished on a real high with that tenth place, so we're set us up perfectly for next year, where we can take another step forward in the development of this team.”
Team-mate Trulli echoed Kovalainen's thoughts and paid tribute to his team's season-long effort.
The Italian also completed a relatively straightforward race with main objective of bring tinghe car home.
“For me it was a pretty standard race," he said, "I didn't have a great start, but was easily ahead of the cars we needed to beat today and it was really just about getting the car home in one piece so we could seal our place in the championship.
"I want to thank the whole team for the work they've done this weekend and all year. We keep on progressing and it's great to be part of something that shows real signs of where it can go.”
Team principal Tony Fernandes admitted it was almost a tear-jerker as the blood, sweat and tears of the past two years finally paid off. Fernandes also took time to mention the legend of the original Team Lotus founder, Colin Chapman, a key factor which the Malaysian owner has always respected and hoped his team's efforts have preserved the notoriously charismatic Chapman's team in a positive light.
“Almost tears for me today! I am absolutely overjoyed," he said, "Two years of hard work have paid off today and it was great to see both cars home safely, helping us win tenth place. The icing on the cake was beating a Renault – that meant a lot to me as I have always said the good guys do win. We have a fantastic little team here, and some incredible partners in GE, Dell, Intel, APC and CNN and I know how much it means to each and every person associated with us to have finished this season where we wanted to. Now we look forward to our new life as Caterham F1 Team and we say goodbye to Team Lotus.
"Colin - we hope we did you proud and we hope you keep an eye over us as Caterham F1 Team. We know we will do you proud there as well.”
by Simon Evans
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