Monday, December 14, 2009

Kovalainen, Trulli, Fairuz to drive for Lotus F1 team

Malaysian Formula One (F1) outfit, Lotus F1 Racing on Monday announced Italian Jarno Trulli and Heikki Kovalainen from Finland as their two main drivers for next season.

Apart from the two, local boy Mohamed Fairuz Mohamed Fauzy, was announced as the third driver for the team.

"The selection of the drivers, especially Trulli, was a perfect choice as the 35-year-old driver is vastly experienced," Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek who represented Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak told reporters after making the announcements.

Ahmad Shabery said a new team like Lotus F1 Racing would naturally need an experienced driver to gauge the performance of the team.

"The feedback from the driver (Trulli) who has featured in about 200 F1 races will be vital for the technical and mechanical technological aspects of the team," he said.

Trulli who represented the Toyota F1 team in the just concluded season, has seen action in 216 races since 1997 under a number of teams like Minardi, Jordan and Renault.

The Italian scored his maiden Grand Prix win in Monaco back in 2004 and has since stood on the podium 11 times throughout his career.

As for the selection of Mohamed Fairuz as the third driver, Ahmad Shabery in time to come, Lotus F1 Racing aspires to have a Malaysia driver as the main driver for the team.

"It will not only be position of the drivers that will be filled up by Malaysians, because even the other posts will be occupied by Malaysians and currently we already have about 20 percent of the team's workforce featuring locals," he said.

Meanwhile, Lotus F1 Team Principal Datuk Seri Tony Fernandes said the announcement of drivers today was actually an attractive combination of experience, age and passion.

"Kovalainen, 28 also has vast experience as a driver with teams like Renault and McLaren and last year he featured together with 2008 World champion Lewis Hamilton," he said.

Tony also reiterated that the target or objective of Lotus F1 Racing was to finish as the best among the three new teams participating in the F1 next season.

The 2010 F1 season would feature 19 races and kick off with the Bahrain F1 Grand Prix from March 12-14. The Lotus F1 Racing would be managed by 1Malaysia Racing Team (1MRT) Sdn Bhd. -- BERNAMA

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