The signing of Grand Prix winners Jarno Trulli and Heikki Kovalainen has given the new Lotus team a good chance of achieving its ambition of being the best of the Formula 1 newcomers in 2010.
Trulli had long been linked with the drive, thanks to his friendship and connections with technical director and team guiding light Mike Gascoyne. The 35-year-old Italian has previously worked with Gascoyne at Jordan, Renault and Toyota, and thanks to his qualifying pace is acknowledged as a man who can benchmark a car’s performance.
Kovalainen (above, with Trulli) emerged as a surprise candidate after the team eschewed any commercial considerations to get the best available pairing. The Finn’s reputation has taken a battering at the hands of former McLaren team-mate Lewis Hamilton over the past two years, but he is still highly regarded in the F1 paddock. He’s also bucking the historical trend: three drivers – Emerson Fittipaldi, Ayrton Senna and Mika Häkkinen – went from Lotus to McLaren, rather than the other way around.
Former GP2 racer and 2009 Renault 3.5 runner-up Fairuz Fauzy will be Lotus’s third driver, helping to boost the team’s Malaysian flavour. Fauzy logged some F1 test mileage with Spyker in 2007.