Tony Fernandes has denied his Malaysian formula one team Lotus is set to change its name ahead of the 2011 season.
When the team and Renault confirmed their engine supply collaboration in Brazil on Friday, neither party referred to Fernandes’ outfit as ‘Lotus’.
The situation comes amid the naming dispute with Proton-owned Group Lotus, and new speculation the carmaker is set to enter F1 in an alliance with Enstone based Renault F1.
The latest rumour is that Fernandes will apply for a new name for his team at the F1 Commission meeting in December, at the same time that Renault F1 asks to be called Lotus-Renault in 2011.
But Fernandes wrote on Twitter: “Next season we are still Lotus.”
The team’s technical boss Mike Gascoyne, however, seemed to acknowledge on Friday the possibility of a name change.
“For me, the job I do on Monday doesn’t alter if the name changes,” he said at Interlagos.
Gascoyne referred to F1’s Brackley based team, which since 2004 has been called BAR, Honda, Brawn and now Mercedes, and said the outfit has “dealt with it very well”.
Arguably the bigger story is the apparent further scaling back of French carmaker Renault’s involvement with the team that bears its name, and the emergence of Group Lotus.
Renault SA chief executive Carlos Ghosn will be at Interlagos on Sunday “and maybe he will announce the deal”, French commentator Jean-Louis Moncet wrote on his Auto Plus blog.
© RIF | GMM