Following on from a credible 16th place for Jarno Trulli in Canada, Team Lotus has made two major steps in the last 24 hours which ensures that it continues to move forward.
It was revealed on Tuesday that the Hingham-based squad would be expanding its existing wind tunnel project, which currently uses Aerolab in Italy, to include one of the two facilities on offer at Williams F1’s factory in Grove.
The deal, which will begin in September, will be used to strengthen the team’s development process and will remain in place until it completes the construction of its own complex in future.
Team boss Tony Fernandes hailed the link up with Williams, the very team which his aviation company Air Asia first made its presence known in F1.
“There are a number of reasons why I am delighted that we have signed this deal.” said the Malaysian. “From a practical perspective there are the obvious benefits of increasing our wind tunnel activity and using a state of the art facility in the UK, and I am sure that will immediately help Marianne Hinson (Head of Aerodynamics and CFD) and her team to work even more effectively in one of the key areas of the ongoing development of our team.
“The other side of the agreement is that I owe a great deal of thanks to Frank Williams, Patrick Head and Adam Parr as they were the first people I ever worked with in Formula 1.
“AirAsia was a proud sponsor of their team and Frank, Patrick and Adam played key roles in introducing me to the Formula 1 world, so I am very pleased that we are able to keep working together as Team Lotus continues to establish itself as a serious force in Formula 1.”
If that wasn’t enough Fernandes’s vision was again strengthened this afternoon with news that his team had landed a major coup by teaming up with American technology firm General Electric.
The deal, which sees GE become a ‘premium partner’, will go beyond the sponsorship logos which are set to appear on the T128 from the British Grand Prix onwards. In fact it is likely that GE will become an integral part in the development of the team’s Formula One project as well as any future developments. An example of this would be assisting in the design and manufacture of Team Lotus’s very own KERS – something which Fernandes confirmed would happen in an interview with CNN.
The two deals in quick succession is yet more good news for Team Lotus, following last month’s High Court Verdict and its purchase of Caterham Cars in April.
In fact Fernandes should be applauded for his methods and attitude since entering the sport with his own team. The man has clearly been very shrewd in his dealings and has used his connection with the aviation world to strengthen his case.
Team Lotus can clearly be seen to be moving up the order and thanks to its openness and widespread use of social media has won over a lot of fans across the world.
The General Electric deal appears to fit right in with the kind of sponsors and partners which Formula One is aiming for at this time. This is in stark contrast to Ferrari who also announced today that is has extended its sponsorship deal with Philip Morris until the end of 2015.
This will continue to see the Marlboro name commonly used, even in the Maranello team’s official title, despite the outlaw of tobacco advertising in the sport.