Tony Fernandes says he drew motivation from Group Lotus’s attempts to “destroy” his team.
“And a lot of motivation for where we are comes from Group Lotus, that had done their best to destroy us. So we get motivated in different ways.”
He joked that the Duxford planes “could be useful for all our court cases”, referring to the ongoing disputes with Group Lotus on Force India.
Fernandes said he would be happy for the team to finish tenth again in 2011. That would help Lotus secure its place as a “column one” team, which guarantees it a set amount of income:
“My objective was always tenth. My internal objective was something different. But if we have tenth we’re a column one team. To get to be a column one team was critical for me.
“But the tyres are new – which is good for us in some ways – the DRS is new, the KERS we don’t have. We don’t know how much development other people are going to put in at the same time as us.
“We should develop more than others because we’re coming off a lower base. So the potential is there but tenth would be good for me.
“Next year, I want to be eighth. That’s where we should be next year. But it’s important to be column one this year.
“We seem to be ahead of Virgin and HRT, who started this much earlier than us – they got their application much earlier than us.
“And we’ve done it the right way – we said we needed a wind tunnel, we said we needed CFD, we said we’ve got to have our own factory and build things properly in one place, and it seems be paying off.
“There are people there who have been there 30 years – some more – who are very smart and have been doing this for a long time. So we’re learning new techniques in the wind tunnel that some guys have been doing for 20, 30 years.
“But, with the right heart and the right passion, I believe anything is possible.”
Asked if he felt the team could improve on their performance in China, where they beat the Williams of Pastor Maldonado in a straight fight, he said: “I’m not a technical person but if it was a one-off then I better get out of this business!”
Lotus naming rights row
Image © Team Lotus