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Lotus set for F1 'baptism of fire'.

Summary: Lotus F1 team principal Tony Fernandes has described the season-opening Formula One grand prix in Bahrain as a "baptism of fire."

Lotus F1 team principal Tony Fernandes has described this weekend's season-opening Formula One grand prix in Bahrain as a "baptism of fire" for the team.

"Bahrain is a hard race to start. It's very hot, it's dry, there's sand, so it's a baptism of fire, but we have to start somewhere so let's hope that we finish," Fernandes said.

The Malaysian-backed team, which launched in September, revives one of the sport's greatest and most successful marques after a 16-year absence from the sport.

Fernandes, a Malaysian aviation entrepreneur, said drivers Jarno Trulli and Heikki Kovalainen were confident that the team would work its way up the grid over the season to become the best of the four new teams.

Their car was five seconds slower than McLaren during testing in Barcelona, however, and Fernandez joked that they would need any advantage, technological or otherwise, to compete.

"We have a secret weapon called a Malaysian bomoh (shaman), so when everyone's starting on dry tires, we will be on wet tires, because we know our bomoh will deliver rain for us," he said.

"To be up there on Saturday qualifying with the likes of Ferrari, McLaren and Renault, Red Bull, all these teams that have been around for a long, long time is fantastic."

Independent Television News Limited 2010. All rights reserved.

Independent Television News Limited 2009. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Independent Television News Limited (ITN)
Date:Mar 13, 2010
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