Team Lotus was one of three new teams to join F1 at the start of the 2010 season after the exit of various car manufacturers in 2008 and 2009.
Karun Chandhok in full flow during practice in Japan recently
The British-based Malaysian team, was set up by a group of Malaysian businessmen and were given the license to use the legendary Lotus name in F1 by Malaysian automobile manufacturer, Proton. The usage of the name Lotus however has been under a legal tangle and the team is said to be considering a name change next season.
TL is probably the only F1 team to have involvement from a government body, even though it is not a direct investment. TL is part of the 1Malaysia initiative, a project intended to unite Malaysians. Team Principal Tony Fernandes is also the Founder and CEO of Air Asia, one of Asia's popular low-cost airlines. The team is yet to score an F1 World Championship point, but is one of the best of the new comer teams and ended the 2010 season in 10th spot.
2011 has been a disappointing year for Team Lotus. With two veteran racing car drivers at their disposal in Heiki Kovalainen and Jarno Trulli (Karun Chandhok is their reserve driver) the team was expected to perform better this season and challenge the mid-grid teams like Sauber, Toro Rosso and Williams.
However, the blame for their non-performance is more towards their car than drivers. TL has suffered nine retirements this season, more than any other team and is struggling to hold 10th place. Jarno Trulli, the team's second driver, has complained of power steering problems that the team has not been unable to fix completely.
Indian GP prediction
TL is yet to confirm Chandhok's drive. However, should he get the opportunity at the Buddh Circuit, one would expect a spirited drive from him, even though it could be from the back of the grid. The crowd will relish another Indian driver at the wheel. Let's hope he does drive!