Renault's plans to be renamed as Lotus next year have been given the full backing of the French car manufacturer, in an effort to clear up confusion about the involvement of its former parent company.
In the wake of the Singapore race-fixing controversy at the end of 2009, Renault sold its F1 team to Genii Capital and was faced with a difficult situation when British sports car maker Lotus became a title sponsor this year. With progress being made on the Lotus name issue, however, a decision will be made at a Formula 1 Commission meeting on Nov. 3 as to whether or not Lotus Renault GP can be renamed Lotus and Team Lotus called Caterham for 2012.
Renault Sport's managing director Jean-Francois Caubet is optimistic that the changes will be approved, and welcomed the decision, which he says will not alter the commitment his company has to the team.
"We sold the team two years ago, and the strategy was not to cut the whole relationship with the team because, when you are a big car maker, you cannot stop like that," Caubet said. "The strategy decision was to decline step by step, to push the technical partnership.
"With the chassis name, it was a little bit embarrassing for Renault because the control of the team was done by Genii, the main sponsor was Lotus and for the British press it was a Renault team! We didn't push too much to change, but we asked Bernie if he could help us, and Lotus will be a good solution."
Caubet thinks it vital that Renault has another strong customer team alongside Red Bull Racing, as it would be wrong to focus all its efforts around a single squad.
"We will provide engines, and we will continue to push because we need a second team strong to push Red Bull. We don't want to leave Red Bull alone, and when you have two good teams you can compare all the time.
"It is very important to have an internal competition. So, even if the relationship will be different and it will be a customer, it will still be a very important customer for us."