Group Lotus CEO Dany Bahar says Renault has delivered proof of its resolve to get back to the front in Formula 1 after opting for talent over sponsorship in its driver choice for 2012.
After the bold decisions to lure Kimi Raikkonen back to F1, and sign Romain Grosjean at the expense of Vitaly Petrov, Bahar believes the soon-to-be-called Lotus team has shown how committed it is to success.
"It shows the determination that we have, and it shows that there is understanding of what it will take," explained Bahar during a media lunch in London on Monday. "The team's two main partners [Gerard Lopez and Eric Lux] said, 'Look this isn't about commercial matters and going for the highest bidder, it was about going for the best drivers we can get.'
"We did an analysis together and we said, although Vitaly has a sweeter commercial element to him, we shall go for pure racing. It may be more difficult for us commercially but we are up for the challenge. And we will raise the money if it is necessary."
Bahar believes that following a difficult 2011 campaign, where Renault drifted down the order after taking podium finishes in the first two races of the season, a big reshuffle was needed to lift spirits for next year.
When asked if he felt the team needed to act so boldly, Bahar said: "I think it did, and will continue to need this. With last year's performance nobody was really happy, especially with the development it took, so it was in every shareholder and partner's interest to go for the best possible setup we have.
"We have to make a lot of changes and improvements to the technical areas, but the management knows that and they are working very, very much on that. I am sure it will be better."
Bahar has also thrown his full support behind the job that team principal Eric Boullier is doing, despite recent speculation suggesting that the Frenchman could be replaced by former grand prix driver Gerhard Berger.
"Eric's job is not the easiest one," explained Bahar. "It is the same as with any soccer manager – after a not so good year you are often criticized. He will be criticized and it is not the last time he will be criticized, but the important thing is what he learns out of it, and he identifies the areas where he has to strengthen it.
"And he has identified it. He has a clear plan going forward and we trust him to manage it perfectly. There is no reason to doubt him. But, the operational involvement is mainly driven by Genii – Gerard Lopez and Eric Lux – and we trust them, we have a good relationship and they are doing it."
Bahar has recently extended his contract at Lotus by another four years, following meetings with the company's owner Proton last week, and believes with the "distraction" of the Lotus naming row now over, that there will be a bigger marketing push for his company in F1. He also suggested that future plans for closer cooperation between Group Lotus and Genii – either through the car company buying into the team or Lopez taking a shareholding in the car company – remained a possibility.
"Talks are always here, and they have been here from the beginning," said Bahar. "There is a road map that he [Lopez] and I put together, and we are following that road map.
"I cannot tell you more of what, or how it will happen but what I can definitely tell you is that we are not working against each other, despite the speculations I have seen suggesting one of us is trying to buy out the other one."