- Oct 27, 2014
Hong Kong driver Adderly Fong has been announced as Lotus F1 Team’s latest development driver, but already the move has been met with some derision.
Fong already tested a 2012-spec Sauber in October last year, and was their third driver at last year’s Abu Dhabi season finale. The 25 year-old driver has raced in British Formula 3, GP3 and also in the 2014 Le Mans 24 Hours, but without seeing much success in any of them. Fong will continue in GP3 this season with Finnish team Korainen GP.
The deal follows Carmen Jordá’s controversial signing as development driver to the Enstone squad, having only finished as high as 13th after three years in GP3. Fong only has one points finish to his name from the series, raising suspicions that both were signed for the money they would bring to the team, whose financial issues have been much discussed, rather than driving talent.
Sky Sports F1 commentator Martin Brundle has been quoted by Speed Week as saying about the move: "Of course it would be good to have a Chinese driver in Formula One. But the fact is Fong has been hired for his money." Even Taki Inoue, himself ridiculed as a “pay driver” in the mid-1990s, remarked on his Twitter feed that "It seems bank account development driver is getting popular in F1 presumably."
In a statement, Fong made his aims clear: "I am happy but I am not going to get carried away, for this is only the first of many steps.
"I aim to become the first Chinese driver to compete in a Formula One Grand Prix which will assist to promote the sport in China and also in Hong Kong. There is great potential for me with Lotus F1 Team so I can't wait to get underway in my new role."
Fong and Jordá are joining Lotus alongside Jolyon Palmer, who is the team's official reserve driver.