The Reincarnation Of Lotus Confirmed

Lewi M. SweetContributor IDecember 14, 2009

IMOLA, ITALY - APRIL 25:  Gerhard Berger drives Ayrton Senna's first Lotus car prior to the San Marino F1 Grand Prix on April 25, 2004, at the San Marino circuit in Imola, Italy. (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)
Paul Gilham/Getty Images

So, the name of Lotus storms back into Formula One. And with quite a considerable bang, it has to be said.

The team, despite being in the hands of completely different owners and staff, have a lot to live up to when driving under that famous name.

Whether we will ever see Lotus back at the front of the Formula One grid remains to be seen. Seeing a Lotus at the front in 2010 seems extremely unlikely. But the team have laid down their plans for 2010 with confidence, and rightly so, given their newly-announced driver line-up.

Firstly, we have Jarno Trulli. Now reaching the twilight of his career, the Italian has never been a glimmering star of the F1 field, but his performances have always been consistent enough for him to stay on the grid for what will be his 14th season in motorsport's pinnacle.

Trulli is taking on a mission rather similar to David Coulthard's venture to Red Bull: developing a new team and help them to become an established force on the Formula One grid.

He will, of course, be out to prove himself. Even at the ripe old age of 35, Trulli is still regarded as one of the finest drivers over one lap. His problem, particularly in the last few seasons with the recently departed Toyota team, has been turning his mesmerizing one-lap pace into race results.

He does, however, bring with him the experience of a single race victory.

Exactly as many as his team-mate in waiting, Heikki Kovalainen. The Finn was hotly tipped to give Lewis Hamilton a run for his money at McLaren after a successful spell at Renault got his F1 career off to a flyer.

It is safe to say, however, that his two years at McLaren were not the most enjoyable. Kovalainen often showed in qualifying what raw pace he possessed, but very rarely turned it into a race result worth shouting about.

A solitary race victory (and an extremely fortuitous one at that) in Hungary after Felipe Massa's engine had cried enough is all Kovalainen really had to show for his efforts at McLaren, compared to Lewis Hamilton's seven race wins and a world championship to boot.

In the year that Hamilton stole the title from a once again unlucky Massa in dramatic circumstances, Kovalainen finished a lowly sixth in the overall standings, behind both BMW drivers.

The drivers are extremely difficult to compare on past results, as Trulli has been around for so much longer than his Finnish counterpart.

But both seem to have the same fundamental problem: turning their raw pace into consistent race results.

Both drivers have a point to prove. Trulli would, like any other driver, love to end his career on a high, whereas Kovalainen is in desperate need of a revival after his career was practically left in tatters with McLaren.

It is also particularly important that both drivers prove their worth, or Lotus' ambitious and confident start will come to nothing if results are not delivered in comparison to their rival debutants, Campos Meta, Virgin Racing and USF1.

If the drivers cannot live with the race pace one again, then Lotus will struggle to live with the pace of the F1 paddock that has changed so dramatically since they last competed in the sport.


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