The Anglo-Asian team based in Hingham, Norfolk ,will bid farewell to their iconic name next weekend as the 2011 Formula 1 season heads to the final round Brazil.
Team Lotus will become Caterham over the winter break, as their two-year adoption of the famous Lotus brand becomes to end at Interlagos.
“The Brazilian Grand Prix is a very important race for us for a number of reasons,” said team principal Tony Fernandes. “On track we still have a fight ahead of us to secure our primary goal of the season, and we will also be saying goodbye to Team Lotus.
“Our stewardship of Team Lotus will come to an end in mid-December. In our short time as custodians of the brand we have had highs and lows but the fundamental point is that we brought Lotus back into Formula One and we did it in the right style. We have built up our Formula One team and all our associated businesses from a starting point of an empty factory in Norfolk in just two years, and now we have secured our future and are in control of our own destiny, and therefore we have achieved our first goal.
“After this race we will say goodbye to Team Lotus with very fond memories and then we will look forward to next year when the Caterham F1 Team will signal the start of the next chapter of our very exciting story.”
For Heikki Kovalainen, this has been an enjoyable year in which he has generally had the better of his more experienced team-mate, and seen his young team progress.
“This has been a long, hard season and it will be good to bring it to an end in Brazil, but for me this has been one of the best seasons I have had in motor racing,” said the Finn. “As the team keeps growing and keeps developing I've just had to make sure I am driving as hard as I can, and every time I get out of the car I've been satisfied that I couldn't get any more out of it, so I can't really do any more than that. There is a great spirit in this team – we are definitely going in the right direction, so we will all look back on this year as another step forward, and then make sure we keep that momentum up as soon as we hit the track in 2012.
“For Brazil there's no reason why we can't have another very strong weekend. We have a new rear wing that should give us a bit more quali and race pace, and we have the same medium and soft tyre compounds we used in Abu Dhabi, so we should be able to put in the same kind of performances we showed there and in several races before.”
Jarno Trulli has had little to celebrate over the years in Brazil, but is hoping for better luck next weekend. “Brazil is a track I always look forward to but one I've never been too lucky at,” recalls the Italian. “It's one of the old style tracks, not the stop / start long straight / tight turn we see at a lot of the modern circuits – it's the sort of place you can build up a good rhythm as it's a mix of high speed turns merging into slower corners and from inside the cockpit that feels good.
“I want to try and finish the season as well as I can – the car has felt good in the races and with the update we have to the rear wing I think we can finish the season with a step forward in qualifying, so let's see what happens.”