Mike Stevens | Jun 20, 2011

The Renault team will keep its current name as well as the black and gold livery in 2012.

Sponsor Group Lotus' chief Dany Bahar met with reporters for lunch on Friday where he said it is possible the Malaysian-owned carmaker will eye ownership of F1's Enstone based team one day.

But for now "We are absolutely fine as it is," he is quoted as saying by Reuters.

Officially, the team is called Lotus Renault GP this year but most commentators and fans refer to Tony Fernandes' entirely separate Malaysian team as 'Lotus'.

Bahar indicated he is happy with the Renault chassis name for now.

"If we decide to go for the long term (ownership) then a renaming would be an issue," he said. "But at the moment it's out of the question and it's not something we are pursuing. Out of the question until 2013."

The reference to 2013 could be because until the current Concorde Agreement runs out, team name changes must be agreed by all rival bosses -- including Team Lotus' Fernandes who is embroiled in a bitter naming dispute with Group Lotus.

A recent court battle allowed Fernandes to keep the Lotus name, while Renault was cleared to keep racing in the iconic black and gold Lotus livery.

"It's a nice livery that is perceived well by the people, especially on the road car side, so I see no reason why we should change it," said Bahar.

(GMM)

 

Hong Kong, Argentina, Mexico eye F1 calendar spots

Hong Kong has taken its "first step" towards the Formula One calendar.

That step was a F1 single seater demonstration by Red Bull's Jaime Alguersuari in the Chinese city-state.

Automobile association president Wesley Wan is quoted by AFP as admitting Hong Kong is interested in staging a Grand Prix "one day".

"This is the first step in gaining the support of the people," he told the South China Morning Post.

"My dream is that Hong Kong, like Singapore, Malaysia and China, will be a stop on the Grand Prix circuit," added Wan.

He revealed that Hong Kong was singled out as a potential F1 venue prior to 1997.

"And as far as a street circuit is concerned, if Monte Carlo and Singapore can have it, why can't Hong Kong?" he said.

Reports on Friday also said former F1 hosts Argentina, eyeing the renovation of the Velociudad circuit in Zarate, and Mexico, which was recently visited by Charlie Whiting, have been earmarked as potential future venues for Grands Prix.

The Mexican link is particularly interesting, given the involvement at Sauber this year of the world's richest man Carlos Slim, who is already backing the Swiss team's Mexican rookie Sergio Perez.

After sitting out Canada in the wake of his Monaco qualifying crash and hospitalisation, 21-year-old Perez said on Friday he hopes to return next weekend.

"I feel perfectly well and I’m very much looking forward to racing in Valencia," he said.

(GMM)

 

Rome never wanted to replace F1's Monza - mayor

Historic Monza is more important to F1 than Rome, the Italian capital's mayor Gianni Alemanno said.

Rome came close to joining the sport's annual calendar until Bernie Ecclestone ruled that each country should host only a single Formula One race per year.

That scuppered the chances of a street event in the EUR district, and Alemanno confirmed to Italian LA7 news that he only wanted to bring F1 to Rome if it could have complemented the historic Italian grand prix at Monza.

"We proposed to have a Formula One Grand Prix in Rome when it was practicably possible to have two Grands Prix in Italy; one at Monza and another in Rome," he said.

"Then Ecclestone told us there could only be one Grand Prix in Italy and we said that the history is more important, so it (F1) was more important to Monza," Alemanno said.

He added that Rome does not "steal things around Italy".

"We respect the country just as we want respect for the role of Rome," he said.

(GMM)

 

Sauber confirms de la Rosa on standby for Valencia

Sauber has confirmed reports Pedro de la Rosa will step in once again this weekend if Sergio Perez is not well enough to race.

Spanish veteran de la Rosa, despite being McLaren's official reserve driver, took Perez's place in Canada after the Mexican rookie felt ill before the second Friday practice session.

The 21-year-old flew from Montreal to his native country to recover with well-known physio Josef Leberer.

"I feel perfectly well and I'm very much looking forward to racing in Valencia," said Perez.

Team boss Peter Sauber last week defended his decision to call up de la Rosa in Canada rather than the Swiss team's own official reserve driver Esteban Gutierrez, who is 19.

"Pedro did a very good job," confirmed managing director Monisha Kaltenborn, according to Tuttosport.

"In Montreal he got into our car, driving it without knowing it well. He did a great job for us."

As for the forthcoming Valencia street race in a week, Kaltenborn continued: "We see no reason why Sergio should not drive.

"By the time of the European Grand Prix he will have recovered, but if he has not then we will make use again of Pedro, because of his vast experience," she added.

(GMM)

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