Trulli and Kovalainen to drive for Lotus
Jarno Trulli and Heikki Kovalainen have been unveiled as the driving team for Lotus F1's maiden season on the Formula One grid.
The Malaysian team are one of four new entrants for the 2010 season and have agreed an experienced pairing in former Toyota driver Trulli and Finland's Kovalainen, who represented McLaren last season.
The pair each have one grand prix win, with Italy's Trulli taking first place in the 2004 Monaco Grand Prix and Kovalainen triumphing in the 2008 Hungarian Grand Prix.
Trulli, who made his F1 debut in 1997 with Minardi, said the team's initial goals were modest but is keen to establish them as the most competitive of the four new teams on the grid.
"We have to set realistic targets for the first year," he told the official Lotus F1 website.
"We are one of the new teams, so we have to prove ourselves and to gain respect in the paddock. We have to establish ourselves as the best of the new teams and see what gap we have between us and the rest.
"Only then will we really understand what gains we need to make during the season. The points system has changed to reward the top 10 drivers, so I would like to see us making progress towards the top 10 by Abu Dhabi.
"But we should not underestimate the task in hand. Formula 1 in 2010 is an exciting prospect with brand new teams, established manufacturers fighting back and of course other young teams looking to repeat their 2009 success.
"Everyone will be fighting hard for results, but we still have all our foundations to set, so we have a lot to do."
Trulli also welcomed the signing of his new team-mate.
"It's great to have a younger driver like Heikki on board. He has been in Formula One for a few years now, so he has matured into a competitive and well-rounded race driver," he said.
"His experiences at other teams will certainly help Lotus F1 Racing as a whole and I am looking forward to working alongside him. He is bringing a different character and driving style to the team which I think will benefit all of us during 2010."
Kovalainen stressed that the presence of Mike Gascoyne as chief technical officer and Tony Fernandes as team principal was key to his decision to sign.
"For me there were a couple of major factors - Tony and Mike being the two leading figures in the project, and the backing behind the team were both very important," he said.
"Having spoken to both of them I became aware that the whole operation has a lot of potential, and a very good chance of being a successful team in the future.
"I saw Lotus F1 Racing as the best choice for me to progress my career, after considering several other options that were available to me.
"I have visited the base of the team, as well as meeting Tony and Mike, and I can see that everyone involved is very motivated, excited and happy to be pushing this programme forwards.
"The team has ambitious plans for the future and everyone will see Lotus F1 Racing in Bahrain GP as a professional, competitive yet very humble group of intelligent individuals."
Fernandes hailed the double capture as the ideal partnership following lengthy negotiations over the make-up of the driving team.
"It was not a straight-forward decision because we spoke with other drivers who I rate very highly, but ultimately we have opted for a careful mix of experience, youth and ambition," he said.
"We have not even finished our first race car, so to attract two race winning drivers to the team is a huge achievement and honour. I think it is a testament to our ambition and our long-term vision that we have such talent on our books in year one.
"It is further proof that we are serious about what we do and I am sure the other new teams are looking at us with some envy right now."
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