At a press conference in Kuala Lumpur, Lotus F1 Racing has confirmed that Italy's Jarno Trulli, and Finland's Heikki Kovalainen will be its two drivers for 2010.

With much speculation in recent weeks placing FairuzFairuz in one of the race seats, the Malaysian will have to be content with a back-up role, as he was named as the teams reserve driver... [read more]

Team principal Tony Fernandes (pictured below with Mike Gascoyne) was delighted with the line up and spelt out that the objective in the first year was to be the best of the debuting teams come seson end.

"I am thrilled that we have been able to sign Jarno, Heikki and Fairuz to drive for Lotus F1 Racing in our debut season. The appointment of Jarno, Heikki and Fairuz as our race drivers is a testament to the quality of our team, to our ambition and drive, and above all to our long-term vision of success in Formula 1. Jarno and Heiki are winners and have proven track records in Formula 1, and will be a big asset to us as we look to develop the team and the car throughout 2010. Jarno and Heikki are two extremely versatile drivers who have proven themselves more than capable of achieving solid results no matter how tough the conditions. Having Fairuz on board is also great news. He is undoubtedly the best Malaysian senior driver at the moment and it is a pleasure to welcome him into Malaysia's Formula 1 team."

With Team Lotus only securing their entry in September Fernandes added, "Already we have our first car in production and have signed two Formula 1 race winners to drive for us, as well as a home-grown Malaysian driver. Not bad for three months' hard work! There is more to come from us and we head into the holiday period buoyed by what we have accomplished already but inspired to push the boundaries yet further."

Trulli (below), who is widely recognised as one of F1's most consistent drivers commented, "Tony has set out very ambitious plans and I am ready to help the team achieve these high targets. I am also pleased to be back working alongside Mike Gascoyne, someone with whom I have enjoyed previous success at other teams. I get on very well with him and I respect his working style. Lotus is a truly iconic and inspirational brand and it is great that the name is back in Formula 1. We will be hoping to draw inspiration from the heritage of Lotus for our team."

With Team Lotus being backed by the Malaysian goverment Trulli said "The fact that the team is Malaysian gives us all an extra responsibility because we will be carrying the hopes of a nation on our shoulders, but we will give the absolute maximum to reward their loyalty and trust. I am here to win; I will fight for the team and for Malaysia.

28 year old Kovalainen who will now enter his fourth season of F1 echoed Trulli's thoughts, but added "I'm also so excited to be part of a team that is not only bringing back the Lotus name, one of the most iconic teams in any form of global motorsport, but also doing so with the support and backing of Malaysia, a country I fell in love with when I first raced there in 2007.

Editorial: Neil Tozer
Photo: Lotus F1 Racing

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