Tony Fernandes was left “almost in tears” after his Team Lotus secured tenth place in the constructors' championship at the Brazilian Grand Prix.
It was the second year in a row that the Hingham outfit had beaten fellow 'new' teams Virgin and HRT to the tenth place – thus securing them a greater share of the money dished out to the teams.
The race was the team's last under the Lotus banner ahead of its renaming to Caterham for 2012.
“Almost tears for me today – I am absolutely overjoyed,” declared Fernandes. “Two years of hard work have paid off today and it was great to see both cars home safely, helping us win tenth place.
“The icing on the cake was beating a Renault – that meant a lot to me as I have always said the good guys do win. We have a fantastic little team here, and some incredible partners and I know how much it means to each and every person associated with us to have finished this season where we wanted to.
“Now we look forward to our new life as Caterham F1 Team and we say goodbye to Team Lotus. Colin [Chapman] – we hope we did you proud and we hope you keep an eye over us as Caterham F1 Team. We know we will do you proud there as well.”
Heikki Kovalainen came home in 16th place, after a lightening start that got him up to 15th on the opening lap from his starting position of 19th.
“Thank you to everyone for another excellent weekend for the team where I don't think we could have got anything more from the whole package,” said the Finn. “All afternoon the car felt great and we managed to make the most of the performance we put in yesterday in qualifying. I had another great start today, they've really been excellent for some time now, and from there I got straight into a good rhythm right throughout the whole race.
“I had a few issues with the blue flags towards the end, with so many cars coming around it kind of messes with your own race, but that's just something you have to deal with. All year we've kept on progressing and we've finished on a real high with that tenth place so we're set us up perfectly for next year where we can take another step forward in the development of this team.”
Jarno Trulli was two places behind his teammate, in 18th.
“For me it was a pretty standard race,” said the veteran Italian. “I didn't have a great start but was easily ahead of the cars we needed to beat today and it was really just about getting the car home in one piece so we could seal our place in the championship. I want to thank the whole team for the work they've done this weekend and all year. We keep on progressing and it's great to be part of something that shows real signs of where it can go.”