Fernandes: Chapman would be proud

Lotus Racing team owner Tony Fernandes reckons Colin Chapman would be proud of his team's efforts this season after it clinched its place as the best new outfit at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Fernandes: Chapman would be proud

Heikki Kovalainen's 12th place finish in the Japanese Grand Prix was enough for Lotus Racing to secure 10th place in the constructors' championship - which will provide it with vital television revenue money in future years.

Speaking to AUTOSPORT, Fernandes was overjoyed with the 10th place achievement, but thought that it was the actual spirit within his team that delighted him the most.

"There are three things I am really happy about," he said. "One is that we have got tenth in the constructors' championship.

"Two, which is probably just as important as tenth is that we have built a great team. Paddy McNally was saying to me that truckies are coming to talk to me and I know all their names, and I said that was our culture - everyone counts.

"But the third aspect which I can finally say, and I have resisted from saying it all these months, is that Colin Chapman would have been very proud of what we have achieved. We are the only team that really had to come up from scratch - in the same way that Colin Chapman built his team.

"We didn't have a big budget, we didn't have huge sponsors, we didn't have a team like Vijay [Mallya] who bought an outfit, or other people who have bought teams. We didn't have an F3 team to back us up like Dallara or Manor, we had to build everything from scratch and it was me, Mike Gascoyne, Harry Nuttall, Silvi [Schaumloeffel] and a dog, who walked into Hingham.

"It was a place I had never been to in my life and I can say today that I am really, really proud.

"I can say that wherever he is he would have been proud after 16 years of us bringing the Lotus name back. Many people have talked about it, but we did it. And I am thrilled that we were able to do it and do it with style.

"This is the first time I have said it, but I am confident to say that we have brought honour and pride to the Lotus name."

Fernandes admitted that he was delighted with the progress the team has made this year and the shape it has ended 2010 in.

"I'm over the moon," he said. "It is mission accomplished, without sounding like Tom Cruise who I spent the day with yesterday.

"Ironically it was almost mission impossible to set up a team in September and to make a team look credible. Mike [Gascoyne]'s promise to me was that we will look good. He asked me for some things and I gave him certain other ideas, and I think in the last five races I have been proud of what we put together, especially Brazil and Japan.

"We looked good, we raced and we looked very professional. We are very, very happy, and happy that we were able to keep pace with teams that have obviously continued to develop when we stopped at Silverstone.

"It was a brave decision to stop development at Silverstone because we said we are not a one year team, we are here for the future and we have to make a big step forward next year, so let's not think about this year."

He also confessed to being incredibly nervous during the final races of the campaign, as there was a risk of incidents outside of his team's control handing 10th place to one of his main rivals.

"I was on websites that you would not believe I was looking at during some races. I was looking at the oil prices, Bloomberg, then I would go to AUTOSPORT.com but thought that was too close to home, so I went to a Malaysian site and then the BBC to look at West Ham's results. It was pathetic behaviour because I was very nervous."

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