Lotus sign Trulli and Kovalainen for 2010

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Jarno Trulli will be back on the F1 grid in 2010 with Lotus

Lotus have confirmed their two drivers for their return to F1 in 2010.

Ex-Toyota driver Jarno Trulli will join the team, being re-united with designer Mike Gasconye for the fourth time in his career.

He will be partnered by Heikki Kovalainen, who was squeezed out of McLaren by the arrival of Jenson Button.

The announcement was made by Prime Minister of Malaysia Najib Tun Razak in Kuala Lumpur on Monday.

It means the new Lotus team will have drivers of the same nationalities for its first race as its predecessor did for its last – an Italian and a Finn. Alessandro Zanardi and Mika Salo started Lotus’s last race at Adelaide in 1994.

Trulli is heading into his 14th F1 season, Kovalainen his fourth – and they each have a single Grand Prix win to their names. With a combined 268 starts between them, Lotus have a line-up with more experience than any of the driver pairings announced so far except for Williams’s.

Malaysian Fairuz Fauzy will be the team’s test driver.

Of the four new teams racing in F1 next year so far Campos has announced Bruno Senna and Virgin has confirmed Timo Glock, with Lucas di Grassi expected to be announced as their second driver tomorrow. USF1 are yet to announce their line-up for 2010.

What do you think of Lotus’s F1 driver line-up? Have your say in the comments.

Read more: 2010 F1 drivers and teams

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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74 comments on “Lotus sign Trulli and Kovalainen for 2010”

  1. …not sure that Trulli will bring much to a team, he could shine in quali, but seemed to be better off designing speed bumps in a race….

    1. Come on, remember this is a Brand New Team. That’s a great lineup for a new team.

      They may have had to have been stuck with some money assisted youth, with no f1 experience, and less talent. But in fact they got some experienced drivers.

      That’s ideal for a team that didn’t exist not long ago.

      1. And imagine what a surprise front row grid slot from Trulli would do for this team.

        Kovalainen had better up his game. Trulli is good but isn’t exactly Hamilton.

    2. IDK. Trulli was horrible last year. Especially when he was blown away by a rookie in the same car. Plus his actions at interlagos were ridiculous. He blamed sutil for his mistake. I think his best days are over. I think Heikki better improve quickly or his days are numbered. Once again he was blown away by his teammate in the same car. I know hamilton is great but he should not be in 15th when hamilton is in 3rd. Good luck lotus;)

  2. Ignorant fools! They could have Takuma Sato, but who gets hired? Heikki Kovalainen. Jezz… and now we need to start “worrying” about Tony Fernandes killing himself because with this line-up they are veeeery likely to be beaten by Virgin.

  3. why heikki?

    1. Maybe he’s cheap?

      1. Or maybe its because Heikki is the one driver who makes Trulli look quick in races…

        1. oh come on! heikki aint that bad! he made fisco look slow in 07,

          1. Fisico isn’t a great benchmark either though…

          2. @ geemac, yea i know! i was going to say something about it but decided against it

          3. I’m not affriad to tell it like it is!

            Fisco’s time has come, and Trulli’s run in F1 will be up at the end of 2010.

    2. I remember hearing once that he had some good sponsors on his back, and that’s why he got a seat at McLaren. Don’t know if that’s true, but if it is, it can explain why him.

  4. Perhaps J. Trulli and H.J. Kovalainen won’t set the world alight, but they are a very solid line-up for the startup team that Lotus-Cosworth are. Good choice, Mr Gascoyne.

    1. Yeah I agree.

      Both has lots of experience and have worked with some of the best personnel in F1. For the current Lotus setup, with many inexperienced engineers and pit lane staff, these guys would be perfect in helping the team develop the car and many other technical aspects.

      I’m very happy that they didn’t pick some inexperienced pay-driver rookie. I’m pretty sure they would have both signed 1 year deals.

      I’ll be watching Lotus carefully next season, since my tax dollars are funding them.

  5. ‘With a combined 268 starts between them, Lotus have a line-up with more experience than any of the driver pairings announced so far except for Williams’s.”

    Which is pretty funny wehen one remember that Williams will run a rookie.

    1. R Barichello alone makes up for both Trulli’s and Heikki’s racing experience put together.

      1. Not only Trulli’s and Heikki’s but, acording to the article, ALL other pairings. Now that’s someone who has been in F1 a lot.

        1. Only situation that a team might have 2 drivers with more starts than him is if Sauber goes with a Heidfeld/Fisi combo.

  6. I want to know Colin Chapman’s thoughts at this moment.

    1. The Sri Lankan
      14th December 2009, 8:08

      he’ll be turning in his grave now.

    2. Maybe he’d be happy that his team and his company are returning to F1 almost 30 years after his death?

      1. Maybe he’d be happy that his team and his company are returning to F1 almost 30 years after his death?

        Not if they line the back row of the grid :)

    3. Probably as worried as Bruce McLaren about the damage to his name that Mosley Dennis vendetta caused.

  7. With a combined 268 starts between them, Lotus have a line-up with more experience than any of the driver pairings announced so far except for Williams’s

    And all of this 268 starts are overwhelmed by one man alone :-)

    So Lotus is going for qualifying glory all year with Heikki almost always on “fuel-corrected pole” in the last 2 years, and Jarno good in qualifying.

    Not very impressed with the line-up. Atleast a new rookie would have spiced things up. Having 2 proven non-performers is bad. But perhaps the experience gained will help them in the long run.

    1. yea they have both been good in qualifying, but there other characteristic is poor race pace,

      instead of the trulli train its going to be the two “lotus trains”…

      …ok, we are going to have to think of a better name for that one, because “lotus train” just aint going to cut it!

      1. Lotus Layby? Lotus Line? Lotus lollygaggers?

        1. how bout Slotus?

  8. This must be the first time in F1 history that a Prime Minister has announced a team’s driver line-up…

    1. Yeah. They are over doing it there in Malaysia. It kind of reminded me the Turkish prime-minister going around in the middle of the track saluting people in the first GP in Turkey. That was funny.

      Anyway why don’t they just call the team Malaysia GP and get over with it if they are so fanatical on advertising there country.

      1. im proud of my country MALAYSIA… just after 50 years of independent from the British, we already have own own f1 team compared to other developed nation. Maybe for you guy out there in modern country this is nothing but for us this is something special to proud of.

        1. For the record I live in a DEVELOPING country…even though I don’t think that was directed at me.

          1. Hey I am Malaysian too…and I think the fact that the Prime Minister announced it in Parliament is just ridiculous.

            I dont see anything to be proud. The country is politically a joke, and the Prime Minister is interested in F1!

            As much as the Government is denying involvement money-wise, I dont believe it. This team is just a front for another chapter of cronyism and nepotism in this country’s vast library of corruption.

  9. LOL! Well spotted Filipe!

    I think Heikki will shine for Lotus, maybe not as bright as the best but, along with the fact that Gascoyne always got the best from Trulli, this is very much a case of wait and see.

    Can’t help thinking we won’t be hearing about drivers for USF1.

  10. what about kobayashi then ? renault?

    1. I heard he has been linked there, as he’ll bring Panasonic along with him as a major sponsor.

  11. For a startup team like this new operation under the Lotus name, having two experienced drivers seems like a sensible choice. I think it could also be a good environment for Trulli and Kovalainen, because there should be less pressure than at Toyota or McLaren, who had to have all ambitions of fighting for victories and the championship.

    With more of a proper qualifying in place for the coming season, also, it’s far from irrational to have two drivers who can be considered good qualifiers.

  12. This is a fabulous lineup in my opinion, as there is no doubt it will be the strongest of the new teams. Both are talented, experienced drivers with race wins. Both are quick qualifiers. Not that there is less pressure from the likes of McLaren, I’m almost certain Heikki can show the true potential that he has, especially if he is against Trulli, and not someone like Hamilton, who can make anyone look slow.

  13. I think it’s a good opportunity to see Kova in his true form..people tend to forget his 2007 season..the second half of it, at least, so now I hope we’ll be likely to see what he is really made of..and Trulli, well, I’d like to think he’ll do very well, it remains to be seen

  14. Not so performing, yes…but experience may be is a right choice for a new team.

  15. i don’t why you are underrating hieki did you know that he overqualified Hamilton on his third race. I think it is a good match up but they must buy a new driver for their 2011 season instead of trulli.

    1. Heikki is a very good qualifier (he even outqualified Lewis in Turkey and Silverstone when the car was at its worst). But his race pace was suspect, and when the car came good he looked very bad (see Monza).

  16. Good,but it does mean that chances of Kobayashi racing in 2010 is slim.8 seats are still empty with the biggest one of them all is Schumacher racing in 2010,USF1 & Sauber are the only team still to name their drivers.

  17. I was expecting Kovy to go to Renault myself… he has good ties there. Although I guess the uncertainty surrounding the team put him off.

    Sounds like Lotus have a strong line up. If Virgin wanna compete with that, they’ll have to sign Anthony Davidson now. Nobody else on the table really.

    1. I agree about Renault-Heikki. I thought he would go there too, but either they weren’t offering him a deal (or a good enough one) or like you say, Heikki wanted a certain future.

      Personally I think it is a good move for him, he has the chance to become No1 driver for Lotus and show his true potential against a team-mate that isn’t as good as Lewis.

  18. I think it’s a shame. I grew tired of Trulli. Sure he’s got a lot of experience but in the races he’s just annoying. Very hard to pass and a poor racepace. Heikki I’m not so sure about either. Sure he’s been driving with Hamilton the last 2 years and Hamilton always is the no 1 driver of the team and he gets all the benefits and updates earlier as we all know. I think this could be the worst team since Minardi a few years back. Hopefully they get a superb car, otherwise I don’t see any reason at all why those 2 drivers will get further than place 25 and 26.

    1. I agree with what you said about Trulli, prefer to see new blood coming in with new teams although cant blame them for going with the experience.

      Im undecided with Heikki, i dont think he got a fair crack at Mclaren and there is no doubt he had potential so maybe he might suprise us all.

      I really hope they dont linger in 25th and 26th although i can see it happening. Would be such a shame to see a great name just making up the numbers at the back.

  19. A solid line-up for a new team, having two experienced drivers must surely put them at an advantage to the other new teams.

  20. i think this is a good line up. Kov who can keep up with the best but not win. Thats all a new team needs! and trulli who is good in qauli and crap in races

  21. two defensive drivers – definitely neither a winning, nor a developing for a win lineup :-(
    Shame for the name who sported greats like Jim Clarke and Senna and many others.

    1. Nowhere near the shame of illiterates who cannot correctly spell the name of the worlds greatest driver. Its CLARK.Shame! shame! shame!

      1. ha ha ha…

  22. If anything, they should hopefully bring some finishes for the team.
    It’s the experience in their first year that they’ll need to set them up. But then Toyota thought that when they started.

  23. I think it is great to see what Heikki can do now. He just couldn’t achieve his full potential at McLaren, I don’t know why and it doesn’t matter now but at least we have the chance to finally see if he’ll fail everywhere or whether he can drive great in a lower pressure team.

    Remember Frentzen bombed at Williams against Villeneuve, and he was flying in the year he got out. Remember he was a suprise title contender that year in the 3rd best car, compare that to when he was average in the fastest car. I hope we see Heikki do well, I remember Alonso had faith in him before his debut as he knew him from Renault, so I hope he was right!

    1. Also may I just say, Heikki started out at McLaren really well. If it weren’t for bad luck at Australia, he would have followed Hamilton home to a 1-2. He did well in Malaysia, did better than Hamilton in Bahrain etc. He suffered lots of bad luck in the first half of the season when he was at his most competitive., and some more in the second half losing out a lot of points.
      He was destroyed by Hamilton in the second half of the season and this year as well so I don’t know what happened to him, maybe he had his confidence destroyed. It is up to Lotus to get it back.

  24. I think it’s a very good line-up for a new team. Neither have been chosen because are bringing substantial sponsorship money, which seems to be a significant factor in many of the other new teams decisisions for at least one driver.

    Trulli is a better race driver now than he was a couple of seasons back, but still with some lightning quali speed.

    Kovi was disappointing by Mclaren standards, but he’s still young and hungry but with much more experience than GP2 drivers, and there is some talent there. I think he might flourish being away from Hamilton and Mclaren.

    But having said that, it’s clear that Trulli and Kovalainen’s careers are not going where they want. Trulli may not have time to stay and build Lotus up over 5+ seasons, even if he could. And Kovi has left a very top team for what will be a near-the-bottom team most likely.

    Still, good for Lotus to get these names – difficult to see another new team with a better overall lineup I think.


    1. I’ll third this, cant wait to see Trulli leading a train of new team’s cars

  26. Two Also rans on the one team, not sure if it is the best choice. Both these drivers usually make early departures from races…

  27. I think it’s a good choice. Trulli is very experienced, great in qualifying and is overall quite a good driver. Kovalainen really didn’t achieve much in McLaren, but he had a great season in Renault. For some reason he wasn’t fast in McLaren, and we’ll see if he can be fast in Lotus. Let’s hope so.

    1. he could have been putting his mclaren on the limit? just lewis was able to take the car much, much further

  28. Great lineup. Trulli’s qualifying pace would be an asset to any team, and he’s more than capable of driving great races when the car is working for him. It’s a great chance for him to use his experience to help establish a new team before he retires (see: David Coulthard, Giancarlo Fisichella).
    Heikki is also a good choice, it will be interesting to see whether he can recapture the form from his debut season now he’s free from the shackles of being Hamilton’s team mate.

  29. The first time I read about this, I thought the same as most I guess – two crapOs. But having thought about it for a while, for a brand spanking new team this is the sensible long-term choice to get some solid points finishes with nothing spectacular, and a good base to put a rookie in the car in 1 or 2 years time.

    This is the opposite approach to Campos, so it will be interesting to see how they get on.

  30. Lotus in 2010: around P18

  31. Great to see a lot of green in their website with a touch of yellow.

  32. Why the hell was Lotus sold to Proton????!!(Fuming!!!)

    1. previous owner Bugatti sold Lotus to Proton due to bankruptcy.

    2. That’s exactly what I was asking myself.Why was Lotus sold to Proton? Seems like a bunch of fools are making Lotus perform clown acts.

  33. Who’s going to sponsor the team? Trulli’s wine company and Finnish vodka?

  34. I might be too critical on Kovalainen, but I don’t see what can he offer at all to any team… his only win came when Massa retired with a blown engine while leading with three laps to go, in a race where Hamilton was also out…

    Trulli at least is a good qualifier and a hard one to overtake…

  35. i think both drivers has good experience in f1 trulli is a good and a bit rough in driving kovalainen is even better he had a victory in hungary.but if lotus f1 can use double diffuser or the KERS SYSTEM they could win a race.so all the best lotus f1

  36. I think its the best pair amongst the new teams joining this season!!

  37. im glad that jarno tulli is back in the racing seat again this year, and in a british team that hasnt raced in formula one for a least 20 years, good luck jarno!!!

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