A spokesman for the Lotus F1 team has confirmed that the Norfolk based outfit will race with a Malaysian license in 2010.
The T127 car, named in the traditional designation of the legendary Team Lotus outfit that competed between 1958 and 1994, was launched in British Racing Green in London last Friday.
Based in Norfolk like the original Lotus Engineering Ltd, the new Lotus team inspires memories of the famous Colin Chapman-founded outfit that fielded drivers including Graham Hill and Ayrton Senna.
At the T127’s London launch was Chapman’s widow Hazel and son Clive, and several historic Lotus F1 cars.
“Clive Chapman asked (team boss) Tony Fernandes ‘When you win will it be the first win for Lotus Racing or Lotus’ 80th win?’, and Tony was very clear — it would be Lotus’s 80th win,” said technical boss Mike Gascoyne.
But the team is in fact separate from the Lotus Cars group, the link being the ownership of the new F1 team by Malaysian entrepreneurs and thus the backing and name licensing of the Malaysian carmaker Proton, which is Lotus’ current owner.
“We will race with a Malaysian licence,” Lotus Racing spokesman Tom Webb said on Tuesday.
It means that if the T127 wins a race in 2010, it will not be God Save The Queen that is played on the podium, but instead ‘Negaraku’, the Malaysian national anthem.