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Lotus to launch at Valencia, not leaving FOTA

Team Lotus will have its 2011 car at the opening test in Valencia but is not planning a traditional “launch”, a spokesperson said on Monday.

After a visit to the team’s Hingham (UK) headquarters last week, owner and boss Tony Fernandes said the new car “is looking great” and “much slicker” than its predecessor but warned that Lotus “won’t do (a) conventional launch”.

But a spokesman clarified to Dutch website f1today.nl that, as per the plans of many rival teams, Team Lotus will be giving the new car its debut at Valencia early next month.

“We will present the car there,” he said, referring to the permanent Ricardo Tormo circuit in Cheste, on the outskirts of the Spanish port city.

Meanwhile, after an HRT spokeswoman confirmed that the Spanish team elected to leave FOTA due to “politics”, Fernandes said on his Twitter account on Monday that Team Lotus will not be following suit.

“We think Fota is very good and very important,” he said.