Infinity: We will make Lotus ‘number one’ in 12 months

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Formula One is no stranger to bold claims or brave gestures, but Lotus’ new backers Infinity Racing have been particularly brash with their claim that they can make the black-and-gold team ‘number one’ within the next year.

Led by Mansoor Ijaz, the consortium has taken a 35% share in the team from majority owners Genii Capital, but Ijaz is confident that Infinity’s input can turn Lotus into championship material.

“If Lotus was, on a scale -10 to +10, at -8 because of the problems it had before Genii Capital came in and now it’s +5, 6 or even 7, what we’re doing is topping it off to make sure they get to the championship,” Ijaz is quoted as telling Sports Pro Media. “That has two key elements: technology and sponsorship revenue and that’s basically what we’re bringing to the table.”

“We’ll be number one in twelve months. I say it simply, flatly, completely – we’ll be number one in twelve months.”

The last Enstone-based team to win a world championship was Renault, who claimed both championships in 2005 and 2006 with the pairing of Fernando Alonso and Giancarlo Fisichella. The team has seen an improvement in form in the past two seasons after the arrival of Kimi Raikkonen, who finished 3rd in last year’s drivers’ championship, but quite whether Infinity’s input will allow the team to rival Red Bull remains to be seen.

Ricciardo set to see Dale Jr.’s final Texas ride in two weeks (VIDEO)

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We’ve written before about Daniel Ricciardo’s love of Dale Earnhardt and his love of the No. 3, which Ricciardo has selected as his permanent number for the duration of his Formula 1 career. And additionally, Dale Earnhardt Jr. has offered up the opportunity that one day Ricciardo could race a JR Motorsports car in NASCAR Xfinity Series competition, and Ricciardo has said he’d be up for it.

And although Earnhardt Jr. has only used the No. 3 on a handful of occasions in his career in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, Ricciardo knows how much the number means to the NASCAR veteran as he prepares for his final few starts in the Cup Series the tail-end of this year.

After the Mexican Grand Prix next week, Ricciardo is set to stay in North America for the off-week between the Mexican and Brazilian Grands Prix.

In that break, he said he’ll see Earnhardt Jr. in person at the Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway (Sunday, Nov. 5, 2 p.m. ET, NBCSN) to ensure he gets to see him before he retires from full-time competition.

Ricciardo explained his planning during Thursday’s pre-race edition of the NBC Sports Group original digital series Paddock Pass, speaking to NBCSN’s Will Buxton at the United States Grand Prix at Circuit of The Americas in Austin.

“Well I’ll see him for the first time in Dallas. I’m gonna go to the NASCAR race in two weeks time at Texas Motor Speedway,” Ricciardo told NBCSN.

“Yeah, so, I gotta see him race before he hangs up the helmet.

“The Earnhardt family is a huge name in motorsport, not only in America but all over the world. Yeah I wish him well.”

Ricciardo is also optimistic he’ll get the chance to do a helmet swap with Earnhardt Jr. at the event.

“Hopefully I get to see him perform well in Texas. I’m gonna try to do a helmet swap with him. We’ll see how we go.”

Stay tuned for more on this over the coming weeks.