Steve Nielsen to join Caterham next month
Steve Nielsen has finally accepted an offer to join Team Lotus as their new sporting director after turning them down last year.
Nielsen will take up his new role from December 12, replacing Dieter Gass who was instrumental in helping the team return to Formula One at the start of last season.
Nielsen previously worked for the original Team Lotus before spells at Tyrrell, Benetton and Arrows – he rejoined Benetton in 2000 as sporting manager, a role he has retained over the years through to their current incarnation as Renault.
By the time Nielsen begins work, the Hingham outfit will be well on its way to being known as Caterham – the constructor title the Norfolk team will use from 2012.
Team principal Tony Fernandes said: 'I first met Steve in Singapore in 2010 and I offered him a job then which he turned down, so I am delighted he has finally taken up the chance to join us.
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'It is a good mark of our team we can attract people of Steve's calibre. I am thrilled someone who is so well respected, and is coming from a team that is ahead of us in so many ways, shares our belief in our ability to grow and, in due course, challenge the midfield.'
Norwich-born chief technical officer Mike Gascoyne added: 'Firstly we are obviously sorry to say goodbye to Dieter, who was instrumental in helping us put our first car on the grid in 2010 and for bringing the team to such a high level in record time.
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'I have worked with Steve extensively in the past at both Tyrrell and Renault where we played our parts in helping to build Championship winning teams, which is what we are aiming to do with Team Lotus.
'I am sure he will integrate very quickly into our operation and will be made very welcome by everyone in Hingham and Malaysia.
'We have also had some more very good news with the confirmation that our team manager Graham Watson has signed a new contract after playing a vital role in the factory and the race team since the early days of Team Lotus. This gives us a trackside team with experience, vision and strength in depth and I am sure both Steve and Graham will help us keep pushing forward as we make our challenge for long-term honours.'