Technical alliance: Lotus has entered into a customer supply deal with Red Bull Racing to use the outfit’s gearbox and hydraulics units. [Images via The Cahier Archive]
Very much declaring its intention to move up the grid next season, Lotus has announced it has secured the use of Red Bull Racing’s gearbox and hydraulics units for its 2011 championship campaign “and beyond”, according to a statement issued by the Malaysian-owned team.
It is shortly expected that the team – which hopes to run under the ‘Team Lotus’ moniker next season, but only if it wins its battle with the Lotus motor car company over the use of its name – will announce a deal to use Renault’s customer engines next season as well.
Should this be the case, the squad will effectively run with the same transmission and engine package used by the championship-leading Red Bull squad.
The bulk of Lotus’ reliability woes have stemmed from its gearboxes and hydraulics systems supplied by third-party company Xtrac, and the team recently terminated its engine supply deal with Cosworth with two years to run on its three-year contract. It is believed that part of the settlement terms with Cosworth was in the form of financial compensation to the engine maker.
“This deal gives our design and aero teams a very exciting platform to work with,” said the team’s technical head, Mike Gascoyne, who himself was signed on for a further five years with Lotus.
The deal also marks the first time that Red Bull has supplied technical components to a team outside the Red Bull Technology group, which incorporates Red Bull Racing and its sister squad, Toro Rosso.
“The fact that Red Bull Technology has been chosen to be a supplier to another team despite its short history demonstrates how much we have achieved since our first season,” beamed Red Bull team principal Christian Horner.