Jarno Trulli has waded into the spat between employer Lotus Racing and the rival Group Lotus entry, calling the affair both 'embarrassing' and 'surreal'.
The Italian, who helped bring the Lotus name back into F1 alongside Heikki Kovalainen last season, will remain with Tony Fernandes' Lotus Racing outfit for a second year in 2011, but insists that the prospect of two teams carrying the iconic name is not good for the sport. Lotus Racing ran under licence from Group Lotus last season, allowing Fernandes to use the name made famous by Colin Chapman's equipe
in the 1960s, '70s and '80s, but will face opposition from the ambitious Proton-owned group this season after it entered a deal with the Renault F1 operation to become Lotus Renault.
Despite Group Lotus' Dany Bahar claiming that it was unlikely that there would be two teams carrying the Lotus name in 2011, Fernandes insists that there will be no backing down on his plan to adopt the Team Lotus moniker, although the Malaysia entrepreneur has at least relented on plans to run in a black-and-gold livery after his rival unveiled a similar interim colour scheme.
The situation, however, is not one that Trulli - a veteran of 14 seasons in the top flight - is looking forward to.
"Which is the real
one?" the 36-year old asked in an interview with Italy's Gazzetta Sportiva
newspaper, "We don't know, it's embarrassing, surreal."
While Lotus Renault has confirmed that it plans to unveil its new car at the end of January, Trulli has yet to learn when Lotus Racing will launch the successor to the T127. The Italian, who has yet to be officially confirmed as part of the line-up in 2011 despite appearing on the FIA entry list revealed late last year, has already branded his first year with the team as the 'worst' of his lengthy career, admits that he cannot afford another struggle for points.
"One year I can suffer, another one no," he confirmed, despite having led Lotus Racing to the position of 'best newcomer' in 2010, "When I started, there was a lot of quality [in the F1 field] because many constructors tried to get winning drivers. Now the budgets of many teams are determined by the sponsorships brought in by drivers."
Despite having bigger ambitions in 2011, Fernandes' Lotus operation - along with many of the smaller teams - faces the added expense of adapting to new technical regulations for the coming season, rather than simply being able to evolve the car it debuted with, and, again, Trulli is unhappy.
"There are too many new things, from aerodynamics [specifically adjustable rear wings
] to tyres to KERS," he sighed, "We talk about saving money but, each year, the rules change, people don't understand [them], and it becomes less of a show."