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GP Week : Issue 227
The future of the lotus team remains under a cloud following the Italian Grand Prix. Its transporters only arrived in Monza on the Wednesday before the race after being impounded at Spa-Francorchamps following the Belgian Grand Prix two weeks ago. Rumours circulated heading into the weekend that Renault would make an announcement over its future in the sport, and to confirm that it had taken a majority share holding in Lotus. It was also suggested former world champion and team boss Alain Prost would become a minor shareholder with the team's current owners also remaining on in a reduced capacity. That announcement never came and instead Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado struggled on as best they could - as did the rest of the team. Their race lasted just a single lap after both cars were eliminated in an opening corner crash. Maldonado damaged the floor on his car when he was forced into avoiding action while a tap from Felipe Nasr on the rear of Grosjean's car ended the Frenchman's day with suspension damage. It's weekend hadn't gone smoothly at all, and torrential rain on Friday night served only to kick the team while down. Water leaked into the team's tyre blankets, shorting out a number of sets and leaving them with just three sets for each car, curtailing its running in final practice and potentially jeopardising it for the race. However an unlikely knight in shining armour came to the rescue as Sauber, Toro Rosso and Ferrari all loaned the Enstone squad blankets. "We were down to three sets per car, which firstly stopped us running properly in P3, because we could only heat one set and then had to get our qualifying tyres on heat. It really would have limited us in qualifying," trackside operations director Alan Permane told Motorsport.com. "Sauber, Ferrari, and Toro Rosso all lent us sets – I can't thank them enough for that really. We would have been stumped without it." For a sport with a reputation for persistent infighting it was a welcome piece of good sportsmanship, especially considering Toro Rosso and Sauber are direct rivals to the team. 31 GPWEEK.com // 31 GPWEEK.com // F1 >>> ITALY PARTNERS: Disappointment amid uncertainty