Team Lotus boss Tony Fernandes has admitted that securing 10th place in the constructors' championship at the Brazilian Grand Prix is vital for his squad's future plans.
Ahead of an ambitious restructuring and its renaming as Caterham F1 Team in 2012, the team will receive an estimated $25 million commercial income bonus if it can maintain its 10th spot in the constructors' standings after the Interlagos race.
Speaking on race morning about how important such an income boost would be to the squad, Fernandes said: "I think it is critical. The next few hours, I have never wanted something to end so quickly, to be honest. It is important, obviously, although we have some good sponsors now, and we will be announcing some new sponsors for next year.
"I am amazed we have been able to make progress and get good sponsors with all that was happening behind us. So many sponsors who previously held back are now coming in. They like the strategy, our story, that we have a presence in Asia. Hopefully we have the right financial resources to move up grid."
Team Lotus' 10th place in the constructors' championship is currently based on the three 13th-place finishes that Heikki Kovalainen and Jarno Trulli have delivered this season – in Australia, Monaco, and Italy. This compares with the single 13th place that HRT has from Vitantonio Liuzzi's finish in Canada, while Marussia Virgin has two 14th places to its name.
If any of the rival teams finish 12th or above in Brazil then it will secure them 10th place. That position is vital for Lotus because it means it will have finished in 10th place for two of the previous three seasons – which will secure it a valuable payment that is believed to be worth around $25 million. It will also once again secure a $10 million payment that it gets for finishing 10th overall.
Although Virgin and HRT will receive no prize money for finishing 11th and 12th, because it is restricted to only the top 10 teams, they will receive a $10 million payment that Bernie Ecclestone agreed to provide those teams outside the top 10 after they signed up last year.
Driver Kovalainen, who starts 19th on the grid, said that he does not feel any greater pressure to perform in Brazil than normal.
"I will treat it as a normal day. I don't feel any extra pressure from that," said the Finn. "We are well prepared as a team and we have been functioning very well as a team for the last six months, so there is no reason to worry about it too much.
"It is clear that we need to stay away from trouble, especially if it rains as it could then be any kind of race, so we have to be there at the end, that is clearly the target. If we have the chance to race the cars ahead then clearly we should go for it. If we can save something at some time then perhaps we can turn the engines down or something.
"We should obviously maximize the chance to be there at the end, but there is nothing we can really do more. The preparations are there – we just have to go out there and do it."