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Lotus near 2011 Formula One driver decision

Heikki Kovalainen
Kovalainen's best finish in 2010 was 12th in Japan

A day after securing their place as the best of Formula 1's new teams, Lotus say they are close to finalising their line-up for next season's championship.

Heikki Kovalainen and Jarno Trulli led the Norfolk-based team to a 10th-place finish in this year's constructors' championship at Abu Dhabi on Sunday.

Lotus spokesman Tom Webb told BBC Radio Norfolk: "We're close to being able to say who's in the car for next year.

"Hopefully we'll be able to take the next step forward with experience."

Finn Kovalainen, 29, crossed the line 17th in Abu Dhabi, securing 20th in the drivers' standings, higher than any other driver from fellow 2010 newcomers Virgin and Hispania.

It's been a huge honour and a privilege for us to be able to give people from Norfolk and East Anglia the chance to come and work for us

Lotus spokesman Tom Webb

Meanwhile 36-year-old Italian Trulli ended the campaign one place behind his team-mate but, after a season without a single championship point between them, neither driver has yet to be confirmed as a Lotus driver for 2011.

Webb added: "I think it's fair to say we've achieved everything we wanted to do with the two guys we took on at the start of the year.

"We will be making an announcement on that very soon."

The Anglo-Malaysian outfit, who will race with a Renault engine next year, are now looking to get among the sport's established teams, building on this season's 10th place.

Although Lotus, like Virgin and Hispania, failed to score a point this season, they were ranked above their immediate rivals on results countback - who had the most 11th places, 12th places and so on - and Webb says this is still an important achievement.

"In practical terms, 10th means an awful lot of money to us," said Webb.

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"It secures us a lot of support from the sport of F1 which we'll be able to invest in getting the team further up the grid next year.

"Lotus racing has been made up of people from around the world, particularly from around Norfolk.

"And it's been a huge honour and a privilege for us to be able to give people from Norfolk and East Anglia the chance to come and work for us."



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see also
Heikki Kovalainen profile
16 Nov 10 |  Drivers & Teams
Jarno Trulli profile
19 Nov 10 |  Drivers & Teams
Abu Dhabi GP as it happened
14 Nov 10 |  Formula 1
Vettel win seals maiden F1 title
14 Nov 10 |  Formula 1
Trulli shrugs off Monaco concerns
12 May 10 |  Formula 1
Kovalainen upbeat over Lotus move
09 Jan 10 |  Formula 1
Trulli delighted to be at Lotus
15 Jan 10 |  Formula 1


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