Mixed India precedes possible conclusion of Formula One’s Lotus battle

Team principal Eric Boullier admitted his Group Lotus-backed Renault outfit –which could well become Formula One's only Lotus team next season – missed a trick at the inaugural Indian Grand Prix.

The Hethel-supported constructor is increasingly expected to assume sole Lotus status from 2012.

A Formula One Commission meeting on Thursday could confirm the Renault team's name and chassis change, which may see Hingham's Team Lotus also renamed – to Caterham F1.

That would leave Mike Gascoyne and Tony Fernandes to put their dreams of working as the iconic Norfolk marque to bed after 18 months of bitter struggle and High Court battles – and with a winter move out of Norfolk still on the cards.

As for the weekend, Oxfordshire-based Renault had to make do with 11th and 12th from Vitaly Petrov and Bruno Senna around Greater Noida; still some way off the R31's early season pace.


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'Today was disappointing and overall this was a weekend of squandered opportunity,' said Boullier. 'It's very clear we had pace at this track, which provided a real opportunity for the team.

'At times during the practice sessions we managed show what we were capable of but we were not able to pull the quick laps out of the bag when it mattered.

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'We now need to pull ourselves together for the last two races so we can close this season on a better note.'

Team Lotus did at least maintain their end of season momentum as Heikki Kovalainen took the flag 14th, ahead of the Williams of Rubens Barrichello.

A first-lap shunt damaged Jarno Trulli's T128, effectively ending his race – the veteran Italian coming home 19th, the final classified finisher five laps down.

With only trips to Abu Dhabi and Brazil remaining this season, Team Lotus remain on course to finish 10th in the constructors' championship for the second successive season – and earning the extra �15m that comes with it.

Chief technical officer Gascoyne said: 'Yet again we showed the progress the team has made throughout the season and we are continuing our strong end to 2011.

'Now we have two more races to look forward to – two more chances for us possibly to score our first point but, more importantly, to finish 10th.'

Kovalainen added: 'I probably wouldn't have finished any higher even without being held up, but when we're pushing as hard as we are and fighting with midfield cars, it's a good feeling for me and the whole team.'

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