Technical director Mike Gascoyne has admitted that he doesn't know if Team Lotus will appear under that name for the 2011 F1 season and insisted that the ongoing arguments with Group Lotus over use of the name are a 'slight hiccup'.
Despite Group Lotus insisting the Tony Fernandes-run team has no right to use the name, the FIA has accepted the entry by 1Malaysia F1 Team as Team Lotus, although Fernandes has admitted that there are 'battles ahead' regarding the naming issue.
Speaking to the Eastern Daily Press
, Gascoyne revealed he couldn't understand why Group Lotus didn't want to be associated with the team given the close proximity of the two factories in Norfolk and said he found it bizarre that Group Lotus would be considering sponsorship elsewhere.
The Proton-owned company has been linked to a title sponsorship deal with the Renault F1 team.
“There's a slight hiccup with the name but, that aside, what you see now is an established F1 team, and that is probably the greatest achievement of this year,” he said. “We are here, and whatever we may be called there will be a Formula One team based in Norfolk again, making racing and engineering racing cars, which I think is great for Norfolk and is a sense of pride for me as a Norfolk lad. I just can't quite understand why Group Lotus wouldn't want it to be called Lotus.
“I think when Colin Chapman brought sponsorship into F1, he thought he'd be on the receiving end – he wouldn't be paying it out. For me, Colin Chapman was about engineering, about making and engineering racing cars.
“That's what Team Lotus did; that's what we do here. It's not about going and sponsoring a French manufacturer to put a badge on it, I find that very difficult to understand.”
Gascoyne added that, regardless of the argument over the name, work preparing for 2011 was going on as normal, with the team having now purchased its factory in Highham and having plans in place to build a wind tunnel for 2012.
“Without getting into the politics of it, people who just want to associate a name with something is one thing, but you only build up a team by putting good people in. That's what we've been focusing on doing,” he said. “As head of engineering, it doesn't matter if I put on a green shirt, a black one or a pink one, I don't care. It doesn't change my job. The name is for Tony to sort out – for everyone here, the job doesn't change. Having said that, there is a great sense of pride in what we did this year and we want to go and take that on.”