Sport – Trulli, Kovalainen to drive for Lotus
KUALA LUMPUR: Italian Jarno Trulli and Finn Heikki Kovalainen will drive for Lotus in the 2010 Formula One season, the new Malaysian-backed team
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announced on Monday.
Former Toyota and Renault driver Trulli had been strongly linked to the team, while Kovalainen was freed up for a move after being replaced at McLaren by world champion Jenson Button. Malaysian Fairuz Fauzi was named as the team’s third driver.
“(Trulli) will bring us a lot of experience to develop the team, and Heikki is a young driver but has phenomenal experience so I think we have two fantastic drivers with Fairuz as well,” team principal Tony Fernandes told reporters at a ceremony in Malaysia’s parliament.
“It’s a wonderful mix of experience, youth and passion and shows our seriousness to be a world championship contender.”
Trulli, 35, won one Grand Prix for Renault in 2004, a record matched by 28-year-old Kovalainen with his single win for McLaren in Hungary last year.
AirAsia airline entrepreneur Fernandes said he had set an initial goal of being “the best among the new teams” in 2010.
Lotus are one of four new teams entering the sport next season in an expanded 26 car starting grid.
“We are not setting any big targets, we want to at least be the best of the new teams, but I think it shows our seriousness today by announcing two really world class drivers,” Fernandes added.
The Lotus F1 team, which was set up in September, is supported by the Malaysian government as part of Prime Minister Najib Razak’s “1Malaysia” initiative to promote racial unity among Malaysians.
The government has said that it would not invest in the team except through national carmaker Proton, which owns Lotus.
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