Lotus deputy team principal Federico Gastaldi has urged fans not to worry about the future of the Enstone squad, despite the rumours swirling about the F1 paddock.

With bailiffs waiting outside the gates at Spa-Francorchamps and the double DNF at Monza both casting shadows of the team, the anticipated return of Renault as a white knight can't come soon enough for an operation that continues to show that it can build a competitive car, but Gastaldi insists that the immediate future isn't as bleak as some would make out.

"Don't believe any of the negative rumours you hear," the Italian claimed, "They say what doesn't kill you makes you stronger, and I can confirm that the team is very much alive, even if we have been going through a very strenuous workout programme this season!

"Things have certainly been tight and we've embraced the Japanese 'just-in-time' philosophy a little too literally on occasions. All this has been necessary, but we keep fighting the good fight. We believe in the team; we believe in F1 and we believe we'll still be here fighting for the rest of this season and beyond.

"It would be fantastic for the sport and a mega-positive note for Enstone to see [Renault] return [as a works team] but, until any deal is signed, sealed and delivered, we keep focused on our current tasks.

"Everything is under control. Certainly, this is a lean-running year and you wouldn't want to attempt running much leaner, but thankfully we do have some fantastic partners, all of whom understand the situation and are tremendously supportive. I need to clarify some misunderstanding too: all our sponsors and partners have paid on time and some even ahead of time. We're certainly a pretty long way from being flush with money - unlike some of our rival teams - but we've done what has been necessary to make the team far more efficient and viable going forward."

Despite the outcome last Sunday, Gastaldi still reflects positively on the Italian Grand Prix weekend, praising those involved in turning the race team around after the difficulties it encountered off the track in Belgium.

"External factors made it something of a challenge getting ready for Monza, but it was a mark of everyone at Enstone that we took it in our stride and we were able to compete over the weekend," he noted, "I think we need to make particular mention of everyone on the race team, especially our set-up crew who put our Racebase - the home for our engineers and technical personnel - together in record time so we could operate over the weekend. Thanks too for our fellow teams, all of which offered their assistance, particularly Ferrari, Sauber and Toro Rosso, who lent us tyre blankets for Saturday after the overnight storm had damaged ours.

"[In the end], it was a big stinking race for us - well, a short and frustrating one. After all everyone had done to get the cars there, and then to start from the top ten, we saw the infamous first corner claim both our cars. There was some choice language for a little while after that, but we've gathered up all the pieces and are focused on the next races. There's no time for 'what could have been' in motorsport..."



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