F1 Notes: Lotus lands new sponsor; Williams reveals driver plan for Jerez

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We’ve been writing a lot about Lotus over the off-season and not always for particularly positive reasons. But a bit of good news for the cash-strapped Enstone squad has arrived: A new sponsor.

Danish investment company Saxo Bank has become an “official business partner” for Lotus in this coming Formula One season, just a few days after Lotus owner Gerard Lopez admitted that the potential buy-in deal with Quantum Motorsport had officially been scratched.

Saxo Bank is expanding into motorsports to go along with its presence in cycling as a backer of the Tinkoff-Saxo team, which competes in the top-tier UCI World Tour series.

“We are delighted to begin a relationship with Saxo Bank, a fast-growing online trading and investment specialist who have demonstrated strong support in sport through sponsorships in the world of cycling at the highest level with Team Tinkoff-Saxo,” team principal Eric Boullier said in a statement.

“Saxo Bank are taking an exciting and proactive approach to this new partnership with Lotus F1 Team and we are looking forward to enjoying a long and fruitful relationship.”

Meanwhile, Boullier and Co. continue to work hard on the E22 chassis that’s expected to make its debut sometime before next month’s preseason testing in Bahrain (the team has already announced its absence from next week’s testing at Jerez de la Frontera, Spain).

Late last week, the team confirmed on Twitter that its 2014 challenger had passed all of its homologation tests.

Speaking of Jerez, Williams has confirmed its driver plan for the four-day session that runs from Jan. 28-31.

According to a tweet from their account, F1 sophomore Valtteri Bottas will have the honor of putting the first laps on its all-new machine, the Mercedes-powered FW36; in fact, he’ll drive the car for the first two days of the test.

At that point, he’ll hand it over to veteran Felipe Massa for his on-track debut as a Williams driver. The Brazilian will handle testing duties for the final two days in Spain.

Ticktum takes dramatic Macau GP win as leaders crash on last lap

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British youngster Dan Ticktum took a dramatic victory in the 64th Macau Grand Prix on Sunday after the leading two cars crashed out at the final corner on the last lap of the race.

In an incident-packed race that saw front-row starters Joel Eriksson and Callum Ilott clash early on amid a litany of Full Course Yellows, Brazilian racer Sergio Sette Camara was able to move into the lead ahead of Ferdinand Habsburg and Maximilian Günther.

Günther’s pace dropped off in the closing stages as he struggled to keep his tires alive, causing a train of cars to form up behind him including McLaren youngster Lando Norris and the Red Bull-backed Ticktum.

Ticktum pulled off a brilliant double-pass on Norris and Günther around the outside of Lisboa to move up to third, with Sette Camara and Habsburg dueling for position right the way to the finish.

Habsburg attempted a brave pass around the outside of the Mandarin kink, but was forced to wait until the penultimate straight before he got a tow and was able to pass for the lead.

Drama then struck when both Habsburg and Sette Camara ran wide and crashed into the wall exiting the final fast right-hander by their own accord, paving the way for Ticktum to charge through to victory.

Norris and Ralf Aron benefited from the crashes to score second and third place respectively, while Habsburg was able to get to the checkered flag in fourth on three wheels.