NASCAR

Team Lotus hires Nielsen as sporting director

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LONDON (AP)

Steve Nielsen will take over from Dieter Gass as sporting director of Team Lotus ahead of the start of the 2012 Formula One season.

Nielsen, who leaves F1 rival Renault, rejected the chance to join Team Lotus last year but has accepted a second offer from its team principal Tony Fernandes.

He will start his new role on Dec. 12, ahead of the British-based team's third season in F1, when it will change its name to Caterham. Renault is switching its name to Lotus in 2012.

Fernandes says ''I am thrilled that someone who is so well respected ... is coming from a team that is ahead of us in so many ways.''

Nielsen has also worked for F1 teams Tyrrell and Arrows.

Gass, who was instrumental in helping Team Lotus return to F1 at the start of the 2010 season, is returning to his native Germany.

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