Lotus F1 Team is a British Formula One racing team. The team competed under the Lotus name for the first time in the 2012 Formula One season, following the renaming of the former Renault team based at Enstone in Oxfordshire. Lotus F1 Team is owned by Luxembourg-based venture capital group Genii Capital. Lotus F1 Team is named after its branding partner Group Lotus. The team achieved a race victory and fourth position in the Formula One Constructors' World Championship in their first season under the Lotus title.
The team's Formula One history started in 1981 as the Toleman Motorsport team, based in Witney, Oxfordshire, England. In 1986, the team was renamed to Benetton Formula, following its purchase in 1985 by the Benetton family. In 1992/3, the team moved a few miles to a new base in Enstone. Michael Schumacher won the drivers' championship with the team in both 1994 and 1995. In 1995, the team also won the constructors' championship, with Johnny Herbert driving alongside Schumacher. Renault purchased the team in 2000, and in 2002, they renamed it to Renault F1. In both 2005 and 2006, Fernando Alonso won the drivers' championship with the team, and the team won the constructors' championship (with Giancarlo Fisichella as their other driver). Starting with the Lotus E20, the team has recognised these achievements by placing three gold stars in the livery of their car, located just forward of the cockpit. At the end of 2009, Renault sold a majority stake in the team to Genii. For 2011, Lotus Cars became involved with the team and it was renamed, first to Lotus Renault GP, then for 2012 to "Lotus F1 Team".
Lotus in Formula One
Team Lotus, a sister company of Lotus Cars, competed in Formula One between 1958 and 1994, winning seven constructors' titles and six drivers' titles between 1963 and 1978. The Lotus name returned to Formula One in 2010 through Tony Fernandes's Lotus Racing team, which used the name on licence from Group Lotus. Group Lotus later terminated the licence, but Fernandes acquired the privately owned Team Lotus name and used it in the 2011 season. For 2012, Team Lotus changed their name to Caterham F1 Team, clearing the way for the Lotus Renault GP team to be renamed as "Lotus F1 Team".
On 29 November 2011, the team announced that Kimi Räikkönen would race for them in 2012 as he returned from a two-year stint away from Formula One which he spent competing in the World Rally Championship; Räikkönen signed for two years with a third year option. On 9 December 2011 the team announced that GP2 Series champion and 2009 Renault F1 driver Romain Grosjean would race alongside Räikkönen.
At the start of the season, the team was involved in a protest over the use of a "radical" rear wing concept on Mercedes AMG's Mercedes F1 W03, later dubbed the 'F-Duct rear wing' or 'Double DRS'. The dispute was not settled until the third race in China when the stewards unanimously rejected their formal protest and Lotus subsequently confirmed they would not appeal against the decision.
Lotus started the season strongly with Grosjean qualifying third in Australia but first lap incidents in Australia and Malaysia ruined his chances of his first Formula One points. In China Räikkönen was running in second until his tyres 'fell off the cliff' pushing him out of the points for the only time of the season. In Bahrain, Lotus achieved their first podium of the season with Räikkönen very close to the winner Vettel and Grosjean behind in third. In Monaco Grosjean was involved in another first lap incident but in Canada he worked a one-stop strategy perfectly to take second position, his best Formula One finish. A race later in Valencia Grosjean was running in second until a mechanical problem put him out of the race after a safety car period leaving Räikkönen to take another podium for second.
In Germany, Hungary and Belgium Räikkönen took 3 podiums in a row. In Hungary he and Grosjean had an inter-team battle after a round of pit stops. In the end Räikkönen finished ahead in second with Grosjean scoring his third podium with third.
At the 2012 Belgian Grand Prix, Grosjean was involved in a multiple car pileup at the start of the race, resulting in Grosjean, Lewis Hamilton, Fernando Alonso and Sergio Pérez all being eliminated from the race and Kamui Kobayashi missing out on a possible podium after starting from the front row for the first time of his career. The incident was started when Grosjean collided with Hamilton on the approach to the La Source corner. After the race, Grosjean was issued with a one race ban covering the next Round at Monza. He was replaced for the race weekend by Lotus reserve driver Jérôme d'Ambrosio.
After a near win in Bahrain, Räikkönen took the team's first victory at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. It was also his first race win after returning to Formula One. After finishing in the points in 19 of the 20 races, and achieving 7 podiums (including the win in Abu Dhabi) Räikkönen finished 3rd in the driver's championship with Lotus 4th in the Constructor's championship.
On 29 October 2012, Lotus F1 team confirmed that Räikkönen would be racing with the team in 2013. The news came after several weeks of speculation that Räikkönen had several other options for 2013 including other forms of motorsport. Romain Grosjean will partner him in the 2013 season. The 2013 Lotus, the E21, was launched on January 28 at the team's headquarters in Enstone, Oxfordshire, UK. The livery was a little bit different to the previous year's; this year Lotus has a black, gold and red livery, with more visible red as the sidepods, air intake, rear wing and front wing have red on them.
In the 2013 Australian Grand Prix, Lotus achieved a first place finish for Räikkönen despite qualifying in 7th place, thus giving Lotus F1 the leading driver in the Drivers Championship and second place in the Constructors Championship. Romain Grosjean, who started the race in 8th place, finished the race in 10th and took one point despite having problems with his car.
After Räikkönen was penalised for impeding Nico Hülkenberg in qualifying and Grosjean failed to make Q3, the Malaysian Grand Prix saw Lotus sit only 10th and 11th on the starting grid. They ultimately finished 7th and 6th respectively.
At the Chinese Grand Prix, Räikkönen qualified and finished 2nd, despite having to regain places after losing two at the start and having damaged the front of his car while battling Sergio Pérez for position; Grosjean finished 8th.
The Bahrain Grand Prix saw a bad qualifying result for both Lotus drivers, however as team principal, Eric Boullier had expected, the car had better race pace and both drivers subsequently finished on the podium. The race saw the same top 3 as the previous year.
Sponsorship and livery
The Lotus F1 Team competes in a black-and-gold livery inspired by that of Team Lotus – the motorsport sister company of its naming and branding partner Group Lotus – when it was sponsored by tobacco brand John Player Special during the 1970s and '80s. Its sponsors include French car brand Renault, oil company Total, Unilever hygiene products Rexona and Clear, Chinese solar energy company Trina Solar, Advanced Global Trading, Microsoft Dynamics and French fashion brand Japan Rags. For the 2013 season Lotus signed a deal with the Coca Cola group brand Burn energy drink.
i-race is a collaboration of Gravity Sports management and Lotus F1 Team management, The i-Race Professional Programme includes development for drivers in lower formulas to get to grips of what the world of Formula One is actually like.
Complete Formula One results
(key) (results in bold indicate pole position; races in italics indicate fastest lap)
|2012||Lotus E20||Renault RS27-2012||P||AUS||MAL||CHN||BHR||ESP||MON||CAN||EUR||GBR||GER||HUN||BEL||ITA||SIN||JPN||KOR||IND||ABU||USA||BRA||303||4th|
|2013||Lotus E21||Renault RS27-2013||P||AUS||MAL||CHN||BHR||ESP||MON||CAN||GBR||GER||HUN||BEL||ITA||SIN||KOR||JPN||IND||ABU||USA||BRA||315||4th|
† — Cars did not finish the Grand Prix, but were classified as they completed over 90% of the race distance.
- Noble, Jonathan (5 January 2010). "Boullier joins Renault as team principal". autosport.com. Retrieved 5 January 2010.
- "Kimi Raikkonen re-signs with Lotus for 2013". Autosport.com (Haymarket Publications). 29 October 2012. Retrieved 29 October 2012.
- Elizalde, Pablo (14 November 2013). "Lotus confirms Heikki Kovalainen to replace Kimi Raikkonen". Autosport (Haymarket Publications). Retrieved 15 November 2013.
- "Romain Grosjean stays in Lotus in 2013". AutoHebdo. 17 December 2012. Retrieved 17 December 2012.
- Saward, Joe (28 January 2013). "Lotus launches the E21". Joe Saward blogs about the world of F1. WordPress. Retrieved 28 January 2013.
- "Pastor Maldonado will join Lotus in 2014 alongside Romain Grosjean". SkySports F1. Retrieved 29 November 2013.
- "Boullier: Group Lotus doesn't own any of Renault F1". Crash.net. 2011-01-20. Retrieved 2012-02-03.
- FORMULA 1 GRAND PRIX DU CANADA 2012: Results, retrieved 2013-01-25
- Noble, Jonathan (15 March 2012). "Mercedes F1 team's rear wing concept deemed legal by FIA". Autosport.com (Haymarket Publications). Retrieved 15 March 2012.
- Elizalde, Pablo (12 April 2012). "Lotus protest against Mercedes wing rejected by FIA". Autosport (Haymarket Publications). Retrieved 12 April 2012.
- Noble, Jonathan "Lotus will not appeal stewards' decision on Mercedes rear wing" Autosport. 12 April 2012. Retrieved 2012-04-16
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