Feb.5 (Lotus) Gerard Lopez, Chairman of the Lotus F1 Team, speaks on the occasion of the team’s launch of their 2012 challenger, designated E20.
“New season, new name. We are very proud to kick off our 2012 campaign under the name of Lotus F1 Team, continuing with the evocative black and gold livery which made such a well-received return to Grands Prix in 2011.
As well as a new name for the team we have a new chassis designation: E20. The E is for Enstone, our state of the art Formula 1 facility nestled in the heart of the Oxfordshire countryside. More specifically, it’s for the personnel that make up Enstone to highlight the pride we have in every single employee who shares our beliefs and goals.
We have two new race drivers too, with Romain Grosjean promoted to a race seat after impressing us with his potential after just two Friday runs in the car in 2011. Racing alongside Romain will be 2007 F1 World Champion Kimi Räikkönen. After two years contesting the World Rally Championship Kimi returns to F1 fresh for a new challenge, and, with 156 Grand Prix race starts, 18 wins and one world championship we are convinced that Kimi will provide a vital ingredient in driving us forward.
In 2011 we pushed on with developments behind the scenes, and the addition of the 60% wind tunnel which was implemented during the course of last season should pay dividends for this year’s car. We’re not standing still either, and our next exciting resource to go online will be a ‘Driver in the Loop’ simulator to enhance our assets at Enstone yet further.
Last year we saw flashes of strong potential from the R31 and the team, but ultimately we fell short of our goals. That is the nature this highly competitive sport and we are pushing forwards leaving no stone unturned in our quest to reinstate Lotus as the team to beat.”
The aim for 2012?
“If you look at the history of Enstone, there were World Championships won in 1994-95 and 2005-6. This ten year cycle obviously appeals and we are set on repeating this history. We want a step nearer our goal in 2012. If we finish in fifth place in the Constructors’ Championship we will be disappointed. If we finish fourth we can reflect over a good step forwards. If we finish in third position we will be very happy. We know the competition is intense, but that is why we compete.”