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Fernandes elated with prize money boost

ESPNF1 Staff
November 28, 2011 « Whitmarsh praises 'gutsy' Hamilton | Head to leave Formula One duties »
Tony Fernandes: "We've gone from earning less than million to million" © Getty Images
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Team Lotus boss Tony Fernandes said he was almost in tears after taking tenth place in the constructors' championship on Sunday, a result that secures his team a significantly larger sum of F1's prize money.

By virtue of three 13th places to HRT's one, Lotus finished tenth in the title race for the second year in a row despite failing to score any points. The result means the outfit is now classified as a 'Column 1' team under the income distribution tables in the Concorde Agreement and is therefore eligible for a larger share of the sport's revenue.

"It's critical," Fernandes said. "We've gone from earning less than $8 million to $36 million, something in that region."

Fernandes said the day was made even sweeter by Heikki Kovalainen finishing ahead of Bruno Senna, who drives for off-track rivals Renault.

"Almost tears for me today," Fernandes added. "I am absolutely overjoyed. Two years of hard work have paid off today and it was great to see both cars home safely, helping us win tenth place. The icing on the cake was beating a Renault - that meant a lot to me as I have always said the good guys do win."

The team has re-signed its drivers for next year but there was speculation over the weekend that Red Bull-backed Daniel Ricciardo could replace Jarno Trulli next season. However, Fernandes played down the rumours when asked by Reuters: "Right now we have a contract and he [Trulli] will race,"

From 2012 the team will be known as Caterham, leaving the historic Lotus name for Renault to use. The rebranding will promote Fernandes' Caterham car brand, which is set to release new models in 2014.

"Now we look forward to our new life as Caterham F1 Team and we say goodbye to Team Lotus," Fernandes said. "Colin [Chapman] - we hope we did you proud and we hope you keep an eye over us as Caterham F1 Team. We know we will do you proud there as well."

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