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Formula 1

A Brief History Of Lotus In Formula One

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This week, the FIA announced that the Lotus name would be returning to Formula One and taking the 13th team on the grid in 2010, becoming the fourth new team for the new season.

Whether you are old enough to remember Lotus in F1 before or not, you will most certainly have heard the name.

The Lotus team was one of the most successful teams in the sport between 1958 and 1994, having won seven world championships in their time, their first with Jim Clark in 1963.

Lotus was founded by Colin Chapman and made its debut in F1 at Monaco in 1958, with drivers Graham Hill and Cliff Allison. The team scored three world championship points that year, and managed only marginally better a year later.

Lotus won its first Grand Prix with Sir Stirling Moss in 1960. 1963 was their first successful year in the sport, with Clark taking the title, having won seven out of ten races. Two years later he won the championship again. After a lull of two years where the team struggled, it was Graham Hill who took the '68 title, following Clark's death during a Formula Two race in Germany in April that year.

Jochen Rindt won a third championship for the team in 1970, but died during practice at Monza. In 1972 Emerson Fittipaldi won the title, to become the youngest world champion at 25.

In 1973 the team won yet another constructors championship, and became the first team to win 50 races, despite Ferrari having won their first GP nine years before Lotus secured theirs.

During the late 70s, Lotus took a huge step forward that would shape the future of F1 and aerodynamics, adding wings to the car to create downforce. In 1978, with Mario Andretti at the wheel, the team took the championship again.

Between 1985 and 1987, Ayrton Senna drove for the team, but by then, following the death of Chapman in 1982, their success was fading. After Senna moved to McLaren for the 1988 season, he was replaced by Nelson Piquet, but the team still failed to be a success.

Mika Hakkinen drove for the team in 1991 and 1992, but he too failed to get the results of the past out of the car and like Senna, he moved to McLaren a year later.

Johnny Herbert joined the team in 1993 managing to get the team to sixth in the championship. After the Italian Grand Prix in 1994, the team was put into administration.

Today, with the team being backed by the 1Malaysia F1 Team, led by Tony Fernandes, Lotus will be making their comeback in F1, but will they be as successful as they were in their early years? Time will tell.

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Laura is a regular contributor to the Formula One section of TCF and can be found on twitter at @laura_marieee
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