Former Renault Sporting Manager Steve Nielsen has been hired by Team Lotus as its Sport Director, a role he will take up in mid-December. Nielsen will replace Dieter Gass.
Nielsen’s record in Formula 1 is lengthy, and he remains one of the most respected figureheads on the pit wall.
He joined (the original) Team Lotus in the 1980s, later working with Tyrrell, Benetton and Arrows. He rejoined Benetton in the 2000 season as its Sporting Manager, and has remained with the team ever since, including its transition to being the factory Renault team.
Team Lotus owner Tony Fernandes was, not surprisingly, over the moon with his newest signing, even admitting that he had previously (and unsuccessfully) tried to tempt Nielsen to his team in 2010.
“It is a good mark of our team that we can attract people of Steve’s calibre and I am thrilled that someone who is so well respected, and is coming from a team that is ahead of us in so many ways, shares our belief in our ability to grow and, in due course, challenge the midfield,” Fernandes said.
Fernandes also took the opportunity to confirm that it had extended its employment contract with its team manager, Graham Watson.
“[Graham] has been one of the core pillars of our team, and has had a direct influence on our growth, both on and off track,” Fernandes added.
“There are more announcements to come over the next few weeks which will all help us achieve our long-term goals, and today’s news about Steve and Graham is another step forward for the whole team.”
[Original image via Sutton Images]