x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

Lotus turn to GP2 team for test and reserve drivers

Team Lotus will use drivers racing for their AirAsia GP2 team for Formula One test and reserve roles next year.

Team Lotus will use drivers racing for their AirAsia GP2 team for Formula One test and reserve roles next year.

Fairuz Fauzy, the Malaysian driver, carried out those duties this season for the F1 team, owned by Tony Fernandes, the entrepreneur and boss of Malaysia-based AirAsia, but the 28-year-old has since been released.

"The GP2 drivers will be test and reserve drivers," a spokesman for Lotus said yesterday.

"There will be two guys who will be given that opportunity to bridge the gap [between GP2 and Formula One]."

Team Lotus competed as Lotus Racing this season and finished as the best of the new entrants despite failing to score a point.

They are hoping to close the gap with the more established teams and, while their race drivers, Jarno Trulli and Heikki Kovalainen, are well rewarded, spending money on improving their car's performance has been made a priority.

Next year they will be competing against Lotus Renault GP, the Renault F1 team who have signed a title sponsorship deal with Lotus Group that will eventually see the Malaysian-owned sportscar maker take a significant stake in the team.

Both the rival Lotus teams will also compete in the GP2 support series with their own teams, Fernandes entering with the new Team AirAsia.