Rivalling Fernando Alonso as the happiest man in the pit lane was Lotus boss Tony Fernandes.

Having had their entry confirmed just six months ago, the team faced the mammoth task of putting together a complete F1 team on top of designing and constructing its own racing cars in time for the 2010 season.

Making it to the opening race in Bahrain was an achievement in itself; to have both cars classified (and to be the sole rookie team to have either car finish) is a phenomenal effort.

Bahrain GP - Trulli & Glock Heikki Kovalainen finished a lap behind the leaders in 15th place, and Jarno Trulli was classified 17th, with his car stuttering to a halt just a few hundred metres from the finish line with a hydraulics problem. In spite of lacking qualifying pace relative to the front runners, both Lotus cars were able to lap within about 3 seconds of the pace-setters’ speed in race trim!

"I’m completely over the moon!” Fernandes beamed. “

I cannot describe the feeling. Six months of work and to have both cars finish is just unbelievable. We’re thrilled, we’re happy and the spirit in the team is fantastic. I’m really proud of Jarno and of Heikki and everyone here. It’s a great start and better than I could have dreamt of. We wanted to finish the race and to do so ahead of established teams is fantastic.”

Tony also revealed he had been given a special gift from Clive Chapman, the son of Lotus founder, Colin.

“Before the race Clive gave me Colin old Lotus cap and said ‘When you win the first race you’ll be the man to throw this up in the air like my Dad used to.’

“That meant a lot to me, it was a wonderful gesture and it’s like handing over the mantle of one of motor racing’s great dynasties."

Tony, we hope that one day you’ll have that honour! The team has done a sensation job!

[Original image via GP Update]

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.