SEPANG: It will be exactly six months since Lotus Racing first came into existence when the car takes to the track at the Sakhir Circuit in Bahrain tomorrow.
And Lotus Racing chief executive officer Riad Asmat expects the dream to get real when the first practice session gets under way for the opening round of the Formula One world championship this weekend.
“It’s going to be six months since we first entered Formula One. We are ready for the first race, that’s for sure, as the equipment and crew are already there,” said Riad, who will leave for Bahrain today.
“The cars have been put through two testing sessions and have clocked 2,800km ... so I believe reliability will not be an issue. But testing is another thing as teams run on different loads.
“The real test comes on Friday and, hopefully, everything will turn out as we hope for.”
Doing the honours for the T127 cars will be Finland’s Heikki Kovalainen, a former team-mate of Lewis Hamilton and Italian Jarno Trulli at McLaren.
The team started their journey to Bahrain from their temporary headquarters in Norfolk, England, last Saturday with six airfreight boxes, including the two F1 cars, and a 60-strong entourage.
Riad acknowledged that they had a realistic expectation of their maiden race in Bahrain this weekend.
“We have to be realistic about what we are capable of. We are not as fast as the frontrunners but I believe the team will do a professional job and will look to finish the race,” he said.
Lotus will be one of the three new teams lining up on the grid in Bahrain. The other two are Virgin Racing and Hispania F1.
USF1 were to be the fourth team but they have deferred their planned entry to next year due to financial difficulties.
Meanwhile, ntv7 was announced yesterday as the official host broadcaster of the Petronas Malaysian F1 Grand Prix at the Sepang Circuit from April 2-4.
It will air seven races ‘live’ this year – the GPs in Australia, Malaysia, Brazil, China, Canada, Japan and South Korea.
Twelve other races – in Bahrain, Singapore, Spain, Monaco, Turkey, Europe, Britain, Germany, Hungary, Belgium, Italy and Abu Dhabi – will be delayed telecasts.