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Team Lotus
Lotus logo.png
Full name Lotus Engineering Ltd.
Base Hethel, Norfolk, United Kingdom
Founder(s) Colin Chapman
Noted staff Maurice Philippe,
Peter Wright,
Peter Warr
Gérard Ducarouge,
Frank Dernie,
Chris Murphy
Andrew Ferguson
Sam Michael
Noted drivers Jim Clark
Graham Hill
Stirling Moss
Emerson Fittipaldi
Jochen Rindt
Mario Andretti
Nigel Mansell
Ayrton Senna
Nelson Piquet
Mika Häkkinen
Ronnie Peterson
Alessandro Zanardi
Formula One World Championship career
Debut 1958 Monaco Grand Prix
Races competed 489
Constructors' Championships 7 (1963, 1965, 1968, 1970, 1972, 1973, 1978)
Drivers' Championships 6 (1963, 1965, 1968, 1970, 1972, 1978)
Race victories 73
Pole positions 102
Fastest laps 65
Final race 1994 Australian Grand Prix
Lotus as a Formula One constructor
Formula One World Championship career
Entrants Team Lotus,
Rob Walker Racing Team,
numerous minor teams and privateers
Debut 1958 Monaco Grand Prix
Final race 1994 Australian Grand Prix
Races competed 493
Race victories 79
Constructors' Championships 7 (1963, 1965, 1968, 1970, 1972, 1973, 1978)
Pole positions 107
Fastest laps 70

Team Lotus was the motorsport sister company of English sports car manufacturer Lotus Cars. The team ran cars in many motorsport series including Formula One, Formula Two, Formula Ford, Formula Junior, IndyCar and sports car racing. More than ten years after its last race Team Lotus remains one of the most successful racing teams of all time, winning seven Formula One Constructors' titles, six Drivers' Championships, and the Indianapolis 500 in the United States, between 1962 and 1978. Under the direction of founder and Chief Designer Colin Chapman Lotus was responsible for many innovative and experimental developments in critical motorsport, in both technical and commercial arenas.


1950s Beginnings for Team Lotus

Colin Chapman established Lotus Engineering Ltd in 1952 at Hornsey, UK. Lotus achieved rapid success with the 1953 Mk 6 and the 1954 Mk 8 sports cars. Team Lotus was split off from Lotus Engineering in 1954.[1] A new Formula Two regulation was announced for 1957 and in Britain several organizers ran races for the new regulations during the course of 1956. Most of the cars entered that year were sports cars and they included a large number of Lotus 11s, the definitive Coventry Climax powered sports racer, led by the Team Lotus entries for Chapman, driven by Cliff Allison and Reg Bricknell.

A 1955 Lotus MkIX.

The following year the Lotus 12 appeared. Driving one in 1958 Allison won the F2 class in the International Trophy at Silverstone beating Stuart Lewis-Evans's Cooper. The remarkable Coventry Climax powered Type 14, the Lotus Cars production version of which was the original Lotus Elite, won six class victories, plus the "Index of Performance" several times at the 24 Hours of Le Mans race.

As the Coventry Climax engines were enlarged in 1952 to 2.2-litres Chapman decided to enter Grand Prix racing, running a pair of Lotus 12s at Monaco in 1958 for Graham Hill and Cliff Allison. These were replaced later that year by Lotus 16s.

In 1959 - by which time the Coventry Climax engines had been stretched to 2.5-litres - Chapman continued with front-engined F1 cars but achieved little, and so in 1960 Chapman switched to the milestone mid-engined Lotus 18. By then the company's success had caused it to expand to such an extent that it had to move to new premises at Cheshunt.

Domination in 1960s and 1970s

The first Formula One victory for Team Lotus came when Innes Ireland won the 1961 United States Grand Prix. A year earlier Stirling Moss had recorded the first victory for a Lotus car at Monaco in his Lotus 18 entered by the independent Rob Walker Racing Team.

There were successes in Formula Two and Formula Junior. The road car business was doing well with the Lotus Seven and the Lotus Elite and this was followed by the Lotus Elan in 1962, during which year the entire Lotus enterprise moved to their current facilities at Hethel in Norfolk. More racing success followed with the 26R, the racing version of the Elan, and in 1963 with the Lotus Cortina, which Jack Sears drove to the British Touring Car Championship title, a feat repeated by Jim Clark in 1964.

Lotus 77

In 1963 Clark drove the Lotus 25 to a remarkable seven wins in a season and won the World Championship. The 1964 title was still for the taking by the time of the last race in Mexico but problems with Clark's Lotus and Hill's BRM gave it to Surtees in his Ferrari. However, in 1965, Clark dominated again, six wins in his Lotus 33 gave him the championship.

When the Formula One engine size increased to 3 litres in 1966, Lotus was inexplicably caught unprepared. They started the season fielding the uncompetitive 2-litre Coventry-Climax engine, only switching to the BRM H16 in time for the Italian Grand Prix, with the new engine proving to be overweight and unreliable. A switch to the new Ford Cosworth DFV, designed by former Lotus employee Keith Duckworth, in 1967 returned the team to winning ways.

Although they failed to win the title in 1967, by the end of the season the Lotus 49 and the DFV engine were mature enough to make the Lotus team dominant again. However for 1968 Lotus had lost its exclusive right to use the DFV. The season-opening 1968 South African Grand Prix confirmed Lotus' superiority, with Jim Clark and Graham Hill finishing 1–2. It would be Clark's last win. On 7 April 1968 Clark, one of the most successful and popular drivers of all time, was killed driving a Lotus 48 at Hockenheim in a non-championship Formula Two event. The season saw the introduction of wings as seen previously on various cars including the Chaparral sports car. Colin Chapman introduced modest front wings and a spoiler on Hill's Lotus 49B at Monaco. Graham Hill won the F1 World Championship in 1968 driving the Lotus 49.

Around the same time, Chapman moved Lotus to new premises at Hethel in Norfolk. A new factory was built on the site, the former RAF Hethel bomber base and the old runways were converted into a testing facility. The offices and design studios were based at nearby Ketteringham Hall which became the headquarters of both Team Lotus and Lotus Cars. Additional car testing was carried out at Snetterton, a few miles from Hethel.

In 1970 Jochen Rindt was posthumous World Champion having driven a "49" and the Lotus 72 to victory. The new wedge-shaped Lotus 72 was a very innovative car featuring torsion bar suspension, hip-mounted radiators, inboard front brakes and an overhanging rear wing. The 72 originally had suspension problems, but when anti-dive and anti-squat were designed out of the suspension the car quickly showed its superiority and Rindt dominated the championship until he was killed at Monza when a brake shaft broke.

The cause of Rindt's death was not fully understood. The rest of the 1970 season was somewhat desultory, with various young drivers such as Emerson Fittipaldi appearing in the cars. The team spent a lot of time experimenting with a gas turbine powered car, and with four wheel drive again. Lotus' 1971 experiments did not bring any serious advance in technology but allowed Chapman to test several drivers. For 1972 the team focussed again on the type 72 chassis, with Imperial Tobacco continuing its sponsorship of the team under its new John Player Special brand. The cars, now often referred to as 'JPS', were fielded in a new black and gold livery - considered beautiful by many, but coffins by others. Lotus took the championship by surprise in 1972 with 25-year old Brazilian driver Emerson Fittipaldi who became (at the time) the youngest world champion, a distinction he held until 2005, when 24 year-old Fernando Alonso took the accolade. Team Lotus also won the F1 World Championship for Manufacturers for a sixth time in 1973. Then, the 72 became outdated, while successor models like the Lotus 76 were disappointing.

The first ever Formula Ford car was built around a Formula 3 Lotus, the Type 51.

The company, now permanently situated at Ketteringham Hall, continued to do well financially as the demand for sports cars in the 1960s, before the US Federal Government introduced the sweeping regulations of the '70's, seemed to be endless.

Chapman was also successful at Indianapolis with the Lotus 29 almost winning the 500 at its first attempt in 1963 with Clark at the wheel. The race marked the beginning of the end for the old front-engined Indianapolis roadsters. Clark was leading when he retired from the 1964 event with suspension failure, but in 1965 he won the biggest prize in US racing driving his Lotus 38; The first ever mid-engined car to win the Indianapolis 500.

Many of Chapman's successes came from innovation. The Lotus 25 was the first monocoque chassis in F1, the 49 was the first car of note to use the engine as a stressed member, the Lotus 56 Indycar was powered by a gas turbine engine and was fitted with four wheel drive, the Lotus 63 was the first mid-engined F1 car to race with four wheel drive, and the 72 broke new ground in aerodynamics. Chapman was also an innovator as a team boss. For 1968 the FIA decided to permit sponsorship after the withdrawal of support from automobile related firms like BP, Shell and Firestone. In April, Team Lotus was the first major team to take advantage of this, with Clark's Type 48 F2 appearing at Hockenheim in the Red, Gold and White colors of Imperial Tobacco's Gold Leaf brand. The F1 followed at Jarama.

Team Lotus was first to achieve 50 Grand Prix victories. (Ferrari was the second team to do so, having won their first Formula One race in 1951, seven years before the first ever Lotus F1 car.)

In the mid-1970s Lotus engineers began to investigate aerodynamic ground effects. The Lotus 78, and then the Lotus 79 of 1978 were extraordinarily successful with Mario Andretti winning the F1 World Championship. Lotus attempted to take ground effects further with the Lotus 80 and Lotus 88. The team developed an all carbon fibre car, the Lotus 88 in 1981. The 88 was banned from racing for its 'twin chassis' technology. McLaren's MP4/1 beat it as the first all carbon fibre car to race. Chapman was beginning work on an active suspension development programme when he died of a heart attack in December 1982 at the age of only 54.

1980s Struggle for Form

Nigel Mansell set his first pole position in the Renault-powered Lotus 95T at the 1984 Dallas Grand Prix.

After Chapman's death the racing team was taken over by Peter Warr but a series of F1 designs proved unsuccessful. Midway through 1983 Lotus hired French designer Gérard Ducarouge and, in five weeks, he built the Renault turbo powered 94T. A switch to Goodyear tyres in 1984 enabled Elio de Angelis to finish third in the World Championship, despite the fact that the Italian did not win a race. The Team also finished in 3rd place in the Constructors' Championship. When Nigel Mansell departed at the end of the year the team hired Ayrton Senna. The Lotus 97T was another solid achiever with de Angelis winning at Imola and Senna in Portugal and Belgium. The Team, although it had now won three races instead of nil, lost 3rd in the Constructors' Championship to Williams (who beat them on countback with 4 wins). Senna scored eight pole positions, with two wins (Spain and Detroit) in 1986 driving the evolutionary Lotus 98T. Lotus regained 3rd in the Constructors' Championship, passing Ferrari. At the end of the year the team lost its long time John Player & Sons Ltd backing (John Player Special) and found new sponsorship with Camel. Senna's skills attracted the attention of the Honda Motor Company and when Lotus agreed to run Satoru Nakajima as its second driver a deal for engines was agreed. The Ducarouge-designed 99T featured active suspension, but Senna was able to win just twice: at Monaco and Detroit, with the Team again finishing 3rd in the Constructors' Championship, like the previous year behind British rivals Williams and McLaren, but ahead of Ferrari. The Brazilian moved to McLaren in 1988 and Lotus signed Senna's countryman and current (1987) World Champion Nelson Piquet from Williams. But he and Nakajima failed to make any impressions in terms of fighting for victories, however the team still managed to finish 4th in the Constructors' Championship.

1990s - The End

The Lotus-Honda 100T was not a success and Ducarouge decided in mid 1989 that he was going to return to France. Lotus hired Frank Dernie to replace him. With the new normally-aspirated engine regulations in 1989 Lotus lost its Honda turbo engines and moved to Judd V8 engines. In the middle of the year Warr departed and was replaced as team manager by Rupert Manwaring, while long time Lotus senior executive Tony Rudd was brought in as chairman. At the end of the season Piquet went to Benetton and Nakajima to Tyrrell. A deal was organized for Lamborghini V12 engines and Derek Warwick and Martin Donnelly were hired to drive for 1990. The Dernie design was not a success with Warwick scoring all the three points for a 6th in the 1990 Canadian Grand Prix and a 5th in the 1990 Hungarian Grand Prix and Donnelly was nearly killed in a violent accident at Jerez. At the end of the year Camel withdrew their sponsorship.

The Lotus Type 102B as used in the 1991 F1 season.

Former Team Lotus employees Peter Collins and Peter Wright organized a deal to take over the team from the Chapman family and in December the new Team Lotus was launched with Mika Häkkinen and Julian Bailey being signed for the 1991 season to drive updated Lotus 102Bs with Judd engines. At the 1991 San Marino Grand Prix, the team scored its first double points finish since the 1988 Brazilian Grand Prix, with Häkkinen in fifth and Bailey in sixth. Despite this, Bailey was soon replaced by Johnny Herbert for the balance of the season. For the following year, the team signed a deal to use Ford's HB V8 in their new Lotus 107s, designed by Chris Murphy. The team was now short on money and this affected performance, but it did well nonetheless. Häkkinen scored 11 points, including two fourth places at the 1992 French Grand Prix (where he had failed to qualify the previous year) and the 1992 Hungarian Grand Prix while Herbert scored two points for 6th Places at the 1992 South African Grand Prix and 1992 French Grand Prix. The team finished 5th in the Constructors' championship. Häkkinen, who finished 8th in the 1992 Drivers Championship, moved to McLaren as a test driver in 1993. He was replaced by Alex Zanardi, who was himself replaced by Pedro Lamy after crashing heavily at the 1993 Belgian Grand Prix, where Herbert scored the last two points for Team Lotus. Over the year, the team scored 12 points despite the tight budget and finished 6th in the 1993 Constructors' Championship. Herbert finished 9th in the Drivers' Championship with three 4th Places: the 1993 Brazilian Grand Prix, where he lost 3rd to Benetton's Michael Schumacher shortly before the end of the race; the 1993 European Grand Prix, where he made only one pit stop for tyres; and the 1993 British Grand Prix, where he was not far behind Riccardo Patrese's 3rd placed Benetton at the end, having benefited from the retirements of Ayrton Senna, Martin Brundle and Damon Hill. Zanardi scored one 6th place at the 1993 Brazilian Grand Prix, the last race with both Lotus cars in the points.

Debts were mounting and the team was unable to develop the Lotus 107. For the 1994 season, the team gambled on success with Mugen Honda engines. Herbert and Lamy struggled with the old car. The Portuguese driver was seriously injured in an accident in testing at Silverstone and Zanardi returned. The hope was that the new Lotus 109 would save the day. In an effort to survive the team took on pay-driver Philippe Adams at the Belgian GP. At Monza Zanardi was back in the car, and the new 109 was ready. Herbert qualified fourth in the new car but at the first corner he was punted off by the Jordan of Eddie Irvine. Herbert later commented that he felt he could have won the race.[2] The following day the team applied for an Administration Order to protect itself from creditors. Tom Walkinshaw pounced and bought Johnny Herbert's contract, moving him into Ligier and then Benetton.

In October the team was sold to David Hunt, brother of 1976 World Champion James. Mika Salo was hired to replace Herbert. In December, however, work on the design of a new car (the Lotus 112) was halted and the staff laid off. In February 1995 Hunt announced an alliance with Pacific Grand Prix and Team Lotus came to an end. Pacific were initially referred to as Pacific Team Lotus and their car featured a green stripe with the Lotus logo.

Pacific left Formula One after the 1995 Australian Grand Prix. The last race for Lotus was the 1994 Australian Grand Prix.

2010 - Return to Formula One

Following the 1994 collapse, the rights to the name Team Lotus were purchased by David Hunt, brother of former F1 champion James Hunt.[3] In 2009, when the FIA announced an intention to invite entries for a budget-limited championship in 2010, Litespeed acquired the right to submit an entry under the historic name.[3] Lotus Cars, the sister company of the original Team Lotus, distanced itself from the new entry and announced its willingness to take action to protect its name and reputation if necessary.[4] When the 2010 entry list was released on 12 June 2009, the Litespeed Team Lotus entry was not one of those selected.[5] In September 2009, reports emerged of plans for the Malaysian Government to back a Lotus named entry for the 2010 championship to promote the Malaysian car manufacturer Proton, which owns Lotus Cars.[6] On 15 September 2009 the FIA announced that Lotus Racing (note that this is not Team Lotus) had been granted admission into the 2010 season.[7]

Formula One results


External links

Sporting positions
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Formula One Constructors' Champion
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Formula One Constructors' Champion
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Simple English

Team Lotus was the motorsport sister company of English sports car manufacturer Lotus Cars. The team ran cars in many motorsport series including Formula One, Formula Two, Formula Ford, Formula Junior, IndyCar and sports car racing. More than ten years after its last race Team Lotus remains one of the most successful racing teams of all time, winning seven Formula One Constructors' titles, six Drivers' Championships, and the Indianapolis 500 in the United States, between 1962 and 1978. Under the direction of founder and Chief Designer Colin Chapman Lotus was responsible for many innovative and experimental developments in motorsport, in both technical and commercial arenas. In 2010 Lotus has returned to F1 as Lotus Racing.


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