SPA-FRANCORCHAMPS, Belgium, Aug 24 (Reuters) - Romain Grosjean’s third place in Sunday’s Belgian Grand Prix was just what Lotus needed as they wait for Renault to decide whether to buy back the troubled Formula One team.
With bailiffs seeking to impound the team’s cars after the race at Spa, trackside operations director Alan Permane was open about the situation.
”We would welcome them back with open arms obviously,“ he said of speculation about a Renault move. ”We’ve got a great relationship and a great partnership with Mercedes but to be a works team again would be fantastic.
“To build on what we have got now, to build on the chassis we have done this year and then try to emulate what we did in 2005 and 2006 with Renault, that’s what we want to do,” he told Sky television.
Renault, currently engine suppliers to Red Bull and sister team Toro Rosso, sold their title-winning team after a Singapore GP race-fixing scandal erupted in 2009.
They are assessing their future in the sport with the main options being to quit or return as team owners.
Lotus have the pedigree, their Enstone factory home to champions Benetton -- who won the 1994 and 1995 drivers’ titles with Michael Schumacher and then became Renault. They took the 2005 and 2006 crowns with Spaniard Fernando Alonso.
”We haven’t actually really been developing,“ said Permane of their current woes. ”We brought a new front wing here, that’s about the only thing we’ve done. With a bit of input this third place would have been an easy third place.
”We could have done an awful lot better this season with a little bit more investment and funding. Having said that our owners have kept us going.
“Through the hard times they’ve put money in,” added Permane. “They’ve kept the team running and kept us coming to the races.”
In Belgium, a legal dispute with former French reserve Charles Pic explained the presence of bailiffs.
At the previous race in Hungary, Pirelli withheld tyres until a bank payment had been processed while a separate winding-up petition brought against them by a supplier in Britain was settled out of court.
“This is the worst season we have had financially and we have scrimped and scraped for parts and to get the cars on the track is a massive effort each week,” said Permane. “So to be able to stick it on the podium is just unbelievable.” (Editing by Tony Jimenez)