Although the team already has six drivers under contract Team Lotus has revealed its intentions to run a driver development program. The announcement was made during a promotional event in Malaysia where existing drivers Jarno Trulli and Heikki Kovalainen drove their cars on the streets of Putrajaya.
Also announced was the intention for AirAsia to continue its support of the team beyond 2011, a point that hardly came as a surprise considering Team Lotus boss Tony Fernandes owns the company.
The driver development program is similar in concept to that run by Red Bull; identifying young drivers and helping them progress through the sport's lower categories.
"Since the very first days of Team Lotus we have wanted to give young drivers from Asia and around the world the chance to develop their talents and use our experience to help them achieve their goals, on and off track," said Team Lotus CEO Riad Asmat. "Through Team Lotus and Team AirAisa in GP2 we have the perfect platforms to provide aspiring world champions with a clear route to the very top."
Officially Karun Chandhok is Team Lotus' reserve driver behind Jarno Trulli and Heikki Kovalainen, with Luiz Razia interestingly given the title of 'third driver'. The team also has two test drivers, despite in-season testing being banned, in Davide Valsecchi and Ricardo Teixeira.
One is left to wonder if the AirAsia backed development scheme will differ from the Red Bull set up, which saw countless drivers unceremoniously dumped when it was decided they didn't make the grade.