Following much speculation about the future of Team Lotus, the troubled Hethel outfit seems to have a brighter future following an agreement to hand over the reins to a new three-man management consortium.
This decision by the board of Team Lotus International was made easier due to the strong Lotus links of two of the central names: Peter Collins and Peter Wright.
Collins returns to the team where he began his Formula 1 career in 1978 before leaving to become Williams team manager for 1982 and then joining Benetton in 1985. He will take the position of Chief Executive. Peter Wright, in his 16 years with the marque, has been central in applying ground effect and active suspension theories to the Grand Prix cars. In 1988 he was appointed Managing Director of Lotus Engineering. He will remain a non-executive director of Group Lotus.
The third member, Horst Scheubel, has become one of the most successful team entrants in German national racing, winning the International German F3 Championship in 1987 as well as running a Touring Car stable. Team Lotus say he has been instrumental in helping to put together “an operating budget” for 1991 which will allow the team to contest all the Grands Prix. Further announcements about a full-scale backer will follow.
Stressing its aim to “safeguard the interests of loyal team members and suppliers”, the Board says it is “particularly pleased to hand over the running of the racing team to Collins and Wright”.
Judd EV V8 engines will be installed in the new Lotus 103, at least as an interim measure; rumours about future power plants centre on the Ilmor V10 which apart from its performance promise shares very appropriate GM connections with Lotus. At the same time, the team have confirmed the signing of Mika Hakkinen as one of the 1991 drivers. European GM Lotus Champion in 1988 and British F3 Champion in 1990, Hakkinen has yet to drive a Formula One car, but dominated last year’s F3 series with 11 wins from 17 British races. He follows fellow Finns Keke Rosberg and JJ Lehto into the top rank of motorsport.