Even amid high speculation about the team's future, Lotus is continuing to plan ahead. The last word about the Enstone team was that, as buyout talks with Renault potentially falter, all of Lotus' equipment including the two black and gold cars was seized by court bailiffs after the Belgian grand prix.
Asked if the team is now in a state of panic, driver Romain Grosjean said: "No, the team management will not act to the detriment of the team. Of course, the situation is difficult," he told Canal Plus, "and I have not hidden it, saying that the team could be sold."
Indeed, Grosjean revealed that the current team owners are willing only to keep Lotus ticking over while Renault makes its decision. It hurt the French driver tangibly at Spa, when he had to take a grid demotion due to a penalty for changing the gearbox. "We had no spare gearbox," Grosjean said, "so we broke our race 'box and had to take the five-position penalty."
But he said the situation and uncertainty is not getting Lotus down. "We are talking about a group of quite extraordinary people who come to work at the moment in not an easy situation," said Grosjean. "On the other hand, we know that if Renault will buy the team - and we hope that this will happen - then it will turn into a beautiful story and an interesting adventure. If all the people stay in Enstone I think we will be able to return to the top quite quickly," he added.
Renault, said to have also commenced talks with Force India, is set to take its decision in September. Auto Hebdo, a French magazine, claimed the French carmaker is offering Lotus' current owners EUR 7.5 million upfront, and EUR 50 million over the next ten years for a 60 per cent shareholding.
In the meantime, the Enstone team is looking to secure the services of Pastor Maldonado, the controversial Venezuelan driver who brings millions to Lotus in the form of his lucrative backing by PDVSA. "I hope everything is done by Monza," deputy team boss Federico Gastaldi is quoted by Spain's Marca. "Maldonado stays with us, as he and PDVSA have a contract until 2017." (GMM)
Bahrain International Circuit - Winter testing