Lotus abandons IndyCar Series after troublesome year
The iconic Lotus brand has withdrawn from continuing in the IndyCar series after one year.
America’s premier open-wheel Championship will now face the familiar duopoly of Chevrolet and Honda supplying engines to the series.
Lotus had at various points this season supplied powerplants to several teams including HVM, Bryan Herta Autosport, Dragon and Dreyer & Reinbold.
IndyCar had granted Lotus a release from its contract after an unhappy year where its cars were at times black-flagged due to lack of speed and when the Dragon team commenced a lawsuit against Lotus for alleged numbers examples of contractual fraud.
“We appreciate the effort that Lotus made in helping return manufacturer competition to the IZOD IndyCar Series,” said Brian Barnhart, president of operations and strategy, INDYCAR.
“However, Lotus has made a business decision not to return in 2013 and asked for its release. We wish them well and would welcome their participation again in the future.”
Aslam Farikullah, Lotus Chief Operating Officer, said, “Lotus is grateful to INDYCAR for the opportunity to compete during the 2012 season and for the support provided throughout. The decision not to continue was not an easy one and Lotus does not discount the possibility to re-enter the series at some time in the future.”
Both Chevrolet and Honda have to comply with IndyCar Series rules with each engine manufacturer having to supply 60 percent of the field of entrants.
One of the real low-points for Lotus came at the Indianapolis 500 when both of its cars were black-flagged for going too slowly after just 11 laps of the 200-lap race.
Simona de Silvestro and ex Ferrari F1 ace Jean Alesi were running between 14-15mph (over 22km/h) slower than the leaders in the Indy 500 race.
At 48, Alesi had the distinction of being the oldest rookie in the history of the race which began in 1911 and many of his peers questioned his decision to race in one of the most dangerous races in the world in a clearly underdone car.
Lack of horsepower aside the season for Lotus was regrettable and the company says it will now turn its attention to business activities as a sportscar manufacturer and a ‘world-class engineering consultancy’.