Lotus Sauber – the final place on the 2010 grid?

September 14, 2009

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Will BMW Sauber become Lotus Sauber?

Putting the Renault situation to one side, Max Mosley made some interesting comments related to the final place on the 2010 grid during the Monza race weekend. The withdrawal of BMW and the failure to find a quick buyer for the BMW/Sauber team before the Concorde Agreement was signed meaning that an additional place has become available.

 Mosley is quoted in Autosport at the weekend as saying that they now have final offers from the ‘three most serious teams’ and that following due diligence they will select one with an announcement being made early this week. He also confirmed that BMW Sauber were one of the three. There is speculation that the other two are Spanish based Epsilon and Norfolk based Team Lotus.

 The odds on favourite has to be BMW Sauber as they are already up and running with some very impressive facilities at Hinwil in Switzerland, and of course they have all the infrastructure and capability to run an F1 team. There is a link between the rumours around Lotus and BMW Sauber – Petronas. Petronas are an oil and gas corporate who are wholly owned by the Malaysian government and currently sponsor the BMW Sauber team. Group Lotus are owned by Proton who produced Malaysia’s first car and obviously have strong links both with Petronas and the Malaysian government. It is not inconceivable that if a rescue package for BMW Sauber is found it would involve capital from Petronas and perhaps also Proton and could therefore end up as Lotus Sauber or perhaps just Lotus.

If this is the case the interesting question is which engines will they run? With Mercedes likely to have their hands full – it could be that Ferrari or Renault get involved, or of course it could be Cosworth. In his interview Mosley took the opportunity to say that he felt that the Cosworth engine may cause a few surprises in 2010, and of course if Cosworth have four customers rather than three it makes their programme even more sustainable. But to those of us who can remember the originals, the idea of a Lotus Cosworth racing again in F1 does conjure up some very evocative memories.

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