Time was when Lotus was every bit as respected and revered as Ferrari at the sharp end of the grand prix grid. The British F1 team’s new owner Tony Fernandes has shown himself to be a most enterprising operator as he works to rebuild that reputation.
Over the Monza F1 weekend it was announced that not only would Lotus be swapping Cosworth for Renault engines in 2011, but the outfit will revert to being titled Team Lotus rather than Lotus Racing for the new season.
It was way back in 1982, just before Colin Chapman’s death, that the team last switched from Cosworth to Renault engines. This was at the height of the turbo era, of course, and the first Lotus-Renault turbo triumph came in the rain-soaked 1985 Portuguese GP at Estoril thanks to the driving genius of Ayrton Senna.
The brilliant Brazilian always rated this as one of the finest victories of his career, not least because the only form of traction control on that Lotus was “my right foot".
Since that memorable day Lotus F1 cars would be powered by Honda, Judd and Lamborghini engines before the team ceased racing at the end of the 1994 season.