Click to view our fantastic subscription offers

Instant access to the F1 paddock

You have 5 views remaining

You have read 15 stories this month. After 20, you will need to register or subscribe.

Register with us for free to view 30 stories a month.

Or subscribe to AUTOSPORT+ for unlimited news stories and access to our exclusive subscriber-only content.

Our commitment to quality journalism

We've introduced metered access to AUTOSPORT which will ensure that the majority of our visitors can continue to view the site for free. But we think that is worth a small investment from those who use it most, so that we can continue to send the leading experts in their field to motor racing paddocks all over the world to break the latest news and produce the most compelling interviews and race reports.

Every visitor gets 20 free page views per month. Once you reach the limit you can register to get 30 views or choose one of our value-for-money subscription packages to continue viewing and to get additional access to a range of features including:

  • Unlimited access to AUTOSPORT with news and views from the paddock
  • Enjoy AUTOSPORT+: subscriber-only analysis, comment and top-quality pictures
  • Get AUTOSPORT magazine in a digital format on your computer or iPad every week
  • Full access to FORIX - the world's best motorsport statistics website

We greatly appreciate your continued support to keep AUTOSPORT at the forefront of motorsport coverage, and we look forward to welcoming you as a new subscriber.

Andrew Van de Burgt
Editor in Chief

autosport.com
Search:
Find out more about our subscriptions
  AUTOSPORT+ LOGIN AUTOSPORT Plus  
Username:
Password:
F1 NEWS 

Lotus: Malaysian driver not essential

Lotus F1 Racing does not need to place a Malaysian driver in one of its race seats in 2010, according to team principal Tony Fernandes, but the team is keen to run a driver from that part of the world in the future.

Fernandes, a successful Malaysian entrepreneur who launched Air Asia, is keen for the team to create a platform for driver development in South East Asia. But he insists that the team will only be willing to run a Malaysian driver if they are ready for Formula 1.

Fairuz Fauzy, who finished second in this year's Formula Renault 3.5 championship, is likely to be involved with the team, possibly as a third driver.

"That's not relevant for me at the moment because it's not a one-year project," he told AUTOSPORT when asked whether Lotus needs a Malaysian race driver next year. "The important thing is the Malaysian team, not the Malaysian driver.

"The fact is, people can support the team. If you look at Ferrari, they are an Italian team and every Italian supports them whether you have Kimi Raikkonen in the car, who's a Finn, or Fernando Alonso, who is Spanish. Ferrari hasn't had an Italian world champion for a very long time, but it is still the Italian team."

Fernandes is also keen not to repeat the negative publicity Alex Yoong received in Malaysia when he raced for Minardi in 2001-2002. Despite going on to become a race-winning A1GP driver, Yoong did not have the experience required for F1 and received some unfair press coverage during his time as the Malaysian media grew impatient with his battle to get up to speed as a grand prix driver.

"He was thrown in at the deep end and we won't make that mistake," said Fernandes. "Everyone feels that they are ready, but when you have a grid that is separated by 1.5 seconds it's highly competitive. The idea of Fairuz Fauzy is not just to shove a Malaysian driver in there to say that you are doing it.

"The success of this programme is whether you have 20 Malaysian drivers that have the ability and that one day maybe a team like McLaren or Ferrari has a Malaysian driver. But it is not critical for me. If Fauzy makes it, great - that's a bonus but we are not going to throw him in at the deep end."

Lotus technical director Mike Gascoyne has said he is keen to have two experienced drivers, with ex-Toyota racer Jarno Trulli in contention for a drive, but Fernandes is keen to have a blend of youth and experience.

"If we can get a guy who has been doing it for a long time, that's fantastic because you can't buy experience and he can help us develop the car and the team," said Fernandes. "And he can help us after the race, adding value to driver development.

"On the second driver, I think that it's good to have someone young because sometimes if you have been doing it for 15 years there is a little bit of cynicism and it gets repetitious. If you've got an energetic young guy that rubs off on you.

"Ultimately, I will leave it to Mike and the team to decide."

Subs
  More news  
    advertisement
  RELATED LINKS
Read the AUTOSPORT Digital Edition
Visit the autosport.com shop
See highlights from 60 years of AUTOSPORT
  FOLLOW AUTOSPORT ON
FOLLOW AUTOSPORT ON TWITTER
Paddock insight from group F1 editor Jonathan Noble
Grand Prix news updates from F1 editor Edd Straw
Breaking news feed
Live commentary feed
  RELATED STORIES
Lotus reveals new team logo
Q & A with Tony Fernandes
Q & A with Heikki Kovalainen
Q & A with Jarno Trulli
Trulli, Kovalainen confirmed at Lotus
Sato drops out of Lotus contention
Lotus to reveal drivers on Monday
Lotus driver announcement imminent
Haymarket