The 1989 Formula 1 season was the first year after the end of the 1,500 turbocharged era. All competitors now had to incorporate 3,500 cc normally aspirated engines into their cars. For Lotus this transition was complicated by the significant changes in technical direction. Gerard Ducarouge has left the team during 1988 and aerodynamicist Frank Dernie was appointed as technical director in November 1988, while position of the chief designer was taken by Mike Coughlan. The 101 design and production has been performed in a rush. The use of fresh Judd CV V8 engine led to a smaller and lighter car than before, but the capacities of customer Judd, rated at around 610 bhp, were far beyond the performance of Honda, Renault, Ferrari, and even Ford. The team kept its drivers’ roster (Nelson Piquet and Satoru Nakajima) from the previous season, but Lotus only scored one finish in the points in the first seven races. Some progress was seen in the second half of the championship and the season ended with 6th position in the Constructor’s standings with 15 points. Satoru Nakajima, who drove for the Lotus for the third consecutive season, scored only 3 points due to his 4th position at the last race of the 1989, Australian Grand Prix in Adelaide. For Nakajima, five-times Japanese Top Formula Champion, it was the repeat of his best result in formula 1 achieved at British GP in 1987.
|Satoru Nakajima||12||Camel team Lotus|