Lotus Formula One team will be privately owned

The Lotus Formula One team, which has won admittance to the series thanks to backing from Malaysia, will be wholly privately owned, according to reports in the country.

Private investors are expected to contribute between US$30 million and US$45 million per season, according to Asia Sponsorship News, while the team is known to be negotiating a sponsorship with Petronas. Team principal and AirAsia owner Tony Fernandes told ASN that government involvement would remain limited to that Petronas partnership.

'Ownership of the team is expected to be shared between Fernandes, AirAsia deputy CEO Kamarudin Meranun and Naza Group CEO SM Nasaruddin SM Nasimuddin,' adds the report.

The new team – which will be known as LotusF1 Team – will be based in Norfolk, England at the RTN facility, close to the existing Lotus road car factory. Eventually, however, the team's "future design, R&D, manufacturing and technical centre" will be purpose built at Malaysia's state-of-the-art Grand Prix circuit, the Sepang International Circuit some 50km from the country's capital Kuala Lumpur.

Lotus last raced in Formula One 15 years ago. The team in its original form won seven world constructors' championships and six world drivers titles, fielding drivers such as Jim Clark, Graham Hill, Emerson Fittipaldi, Mario Andretti, Nigel Mansell and Ayrton Senna

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