- Team Lotus
Windtunnel two years away - Gascoyne
Mike Gascoyne has admitted it will take up to two years for Team Lotus to start using its own windtunnel and five years before it starts to compete with Formula One's biggest names.
Late in 2010, the Tony Fernandes-led outfit announced it would soon build a tunnel at its Hingham headquarters. But when asked if those plans would be realised during the course of next year, Gascoyne told paultan.org: "No, 'soon' is 18 months to two years time and we're in the planning stages. Planners are very keen for us to develop the site and working with us and that's fantastic. But, realistically it's 18 months to two years away.
"If you look at the example of Red Bull which just won their first world championship, it took them seven years and they bought an existing team, which was a Jaguar team, which was a Stewart team, but when I went to Benetton, to bring Renault back into Formula One, again that was an existing team, we started in 2001 at the back of the grid, podiums the next year, we won our first race in 2003 with Fernando in Hungary and they won the world championship in 2005.
"So even with an established team that won the world championship, it took five years to turn it around into a winning team … We've made a good start, but it's very much the first step along the road."
He said the target for 2011 would be to mix it with the lower midfield, now the team has secured deals to run Renault engines and Red Bull gearboxes.
"I think our aims are very very clear, Tony is very good at setting ambitious aims, which is good, but we target teams that finished sixth to ninth," he said. "Williams, Force India, Toro Rosso, Sauber. That is clearly where we want to be. Formula One is very close at the moment. We were probably, best a second off that group, and we're very confident of closing that up and we want to be racing in that group. We've targeted seventh or eighth in the championship; I think that would be a fantastic step."
Gascoyne denied that the team's wind tunnel in the UK means the plan to set up a headquarters in Malaysia has been scrapped.
"I still think that we want to set something up in Kuala Lumpur, possibly in Sepang," said the Briton. "It may well make sense for us to base the show car program out in Malaysia in Sepang, so we'll have a small team running that program and hopefully look at Malaysian mechanics. We're a Malaysian team and we're proud of that. Hopefully in a few year's time you'll see Tony up in the winner's podium getting the trophy and the Malaysian flag being pulled up. But we're very proud of that, undoubtedly there will be a technology centre in KL."
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