Lotus F1 racer - Click above for high-res image gallery
Two major announcements came hot on the heels of one another on Tuesday that seem set to shake up the always turbulent Formula 1 series even further in 2010. First, Team Lotus will indeed be back on the starting grid next year to contest the constructors championship with a duo of drivers. Backing the effort is Malaysian automaker Proton, which owns Lotus, and the team will be headquartered at a purpose-built facility at Malaysia's Sepang International circuit.
While it's not surprising that Lotus has rejoined F1 after weeks of rumormill gossip, many assumed the team would take the reigns of the Sauber team from BMW, but that's not the case. Lotus has received the 13th and final spot on the grid, taking the place of BMW. Interestingly, just hours after the announcement from Proton, F1 organizers announced that BMW had agreed to sell its F1 team to Swiss-based Qadbak Investments Ltd.
At this time, there is no guarantee that Sauber will be on the starting grid in 2010, but the FIA has granted the ex-BMW team the 14th place for 2010, meaning that it will have the first opportunity to fill any unforseen vacancies. Barring that, the FIA is pressing for a change to the rulebooks that would allow a 14th team to race in the championship.