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Mike Gascoyne: We want Norfolk's F1 fans behind Team Lotus

Team Lotus chief technical officer Mike Gascoyne, in his office before setting off for Melbourne.

Team Lotus chief technical officer Mike Gascoyne, in his office before setting off for Melbourne.

Archant © 2011; 01603 772434

Mike Gascoyne hopes Norwich and Norfolk will get behind the other lean, mean yellow and green machine as it ignites in anger for the first time in 2011.

Hingham’s Team Lotus and its Norwich-born chief technical officer Gascoyne are currently in Melbourne for this weekend’s opening race of this season – the year the team hopes to mature from 2010 new boys into a point-scoring and competitive established team.

And Gascoyne, a former Wymondham College pupil, wants this part of the world to be fully behind Hingham’s best as they take on the rest of the world.

“We are 100 per cent here,” said Gascoyne. “We are green and yellow like the boys down the road who are doing well. We are a Norfolk team, and we will be for the long term.

“We are Norfolk’s Formula One team and it is great that we have one here again, and we want the county to get behind us.

“We looked at it last year and we put something like £4m into the local economy and that is going to grow and grow. We are a local employer, we’re looking at doing our new wind tunnel here at Hingham, so our investment in the county is going to grow – and it’s a long term investment. So we hope we have got support for that.”

Operating as Lotus Racing in 2010, the Hingham team outperformed fellow new boys Virgin and Hispania. This year the sights move up with catching the likes of Force India, Sauber and even Williams – and above all, grabbing those first championship points since the Lotus name returned to the grid following a 16 year absence.

There are plenty of F1 changes for 2011 – the effects of which will only become apparent from Saturday morning’s Australian Grand Prix qualifying (6am GMT) and Sunday’s race (7am GMT).

New tyres will mean more pit stops, as well as devices added to cars to increasing the amount of overtaking – all an unknown quantity and possibly enough to bring Team Lotus early success.

Gascoyne said: “The first few races are going to be well worth watching because there will be some chaos. Early on there will be some carnage.”

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