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Steve Nielsen to join Team Lotus as sporting director

Steve Nielsen, 2011Team Lotus has announced that Steve Nielsen will be joining it later this year as its new sporting director, following his departure from Renault earlier in the season.

Nielsen, who was worked at Arrows, Benetton/Renault, Tyrrell and the old Team Lotus, will join the Hingham-based outfit on December 12 as replacement for Dieter Gass, who is returning to Germany.

Team principal Tony Fernandes said: "I first met Steve in Singapore 2010 and offered him a job then which he turned down, so I am delighted he has finally taken up the chance to join us.

"It is a good mark of our team that we can attract people of Steve's calibre and I am thrilled that someone who is so well respected, and is coming from a team that is ahead of us in so many ways, shares our belief in our ability to grow and, in due course, challenge the midfield."

Nielsen's move to Team Lotus means he will renew his working relationship with technical chief Mike Gascoyne, with the pair having worked together at Tyrrell and Renault.

Gascoyne said: "It is excellent news for the team that Steve has accepted the offer to join us as Sporting Director. I have worked with him extensively in the past at both Tyrrell and Renault where we played our parts in helping to build championship winning teams, which is what we are aiming to do with Team Lotus.

"I am sure he will integrate very quickly into our operation and will be made very welcome by everyone in Hingham and Malaysia."

Team Lotus has also extended the contract of team manager Graham Watson, with the outfit promising more staff appointments over the next few weeks.

Fernandes added: "I am very pleased that we have been able to agree a new contract with Graham Watson as he has been one of the core pillars of our team, and has had a direct influence on our growth, both on and off track.

"There are more announcements to come over the next few weeks which will all help us achieve our long-term goals, and today's news about Steve and Graham is another step forward for the whole team."

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Nielsen leaves in Renault restructure