The Lotus F1 Team has been granted the 13th entry spot for the 2010 Formula 1 championship the FIA announced today.
The governing body said that they had also received an “impressive” application from BMW Sauber but due to the uncertainty of ownership they opted for the Malaysian owned entry.
Although it seems this is the final nail in the coffin for BMW Sauber, the FIA have granted them a “14th place” on the grid, should the opportunity arise, as they looks to expand the grid to 28 cars for the first Grand Prix in 2010.
The Lotus entry will be backed by a company called 1Malaysia F1 Team Sdn Bhd, with Tony Fernandes (CEO and founder of the Malaysian-base Tune Group, owner of Air Asia Airline) as team principal.
Mike Gascoyne will return to the F1 scene again as the teams technical director. Gascoyne will bring a huge amount of experience with him having worked for McLaren, Sauber, Tyrell, Jordan, Benetton, Renault, Toyota, Spyker and finally Force India.
2010 will mark the return of the Lotus name to the grid for the first time since 1994.
The team will be based at the RTN facility in Norfolk, UK, just 10 miles from the Lotus Cars factory. The 50,000 Square foot facility was initially built for Toyota for its initial F1 programme and later used by Bentley for its Le Mans programme.
The team’s future design, R&D, manufacturing and technical centre is set to be built at Malaysia’s Sepang International Circuit.