In 2011, Group Lotus and Tony Fernandes continued their fight over naming rights, and following a ruling in May the Malaysian team could continued using the "Team Lotus" name and Team Lotus roundel, but could not use "Lotus" on its own.
The ruling also confirmed Fernandes as the owner of the Team Lotus name, having bought the rights to the name from David Hunt. However, the court ruling stated that Group Lotus had sole right to use the name "Lotus" on its own, and could enter Formula One using "Lotus" for a team name, the black and gold livery, and the Lotus roundel.
Consequently, in 2012 the Enstone team - formerly Toleman, Benetton, Renault and Lotus Renault GP - raced as Lotus F1 Team, while Fernandes outfit will competed as Caterham F1 Team.
In late November 2011, Lotus F1 Team announced that it had been informed by Robert Kubica that he was unable to commit to driving for it in 2012. Days later, the team announced that it had secured the services of 2007 world champion Kimi Raikkonen, the Finn returning to F1 after an absence of two seasons. A couple of weeks later, despite Vitaly Petrov having a valid contract, Romain Grosjean was confirmed as Raikkonen's teammate.
After 300 Grands Prix, 2012 saw Renault with a new name, a new driver line-up and new ambitions. While one applauded the team for its (failed) experiment in 2011, one had to wonder if it wasn't taking another enormous risk in terms of Raikkonen, while there were those who also doubted Eric Boullier's abilities as a team boss.
Right from the outset the E20, named in honour of Enstone the HQ of Benetton and then Renault, was good. Not Red Bull good but good enough to give the McLarens and Ferrari(s) a run for their money.
Despite the lack of budget, certainly compared to the big guns, the (now) British team was one of the front-runners.
Scoring points in every round and Kimi Raikkonen completing all but one of the season's 1192 laps is an indicator of how good the E20 was. Indeed, had it not been for the errors of Grosjean the team might have finished third in the championship ahead of McLaren and Mercedes.
Good looking cars don't always perform well but in the case of the E20 it did, though a lot of the credit, other than James Allison and his team, must go to The Iceman, who was even quicker (and moodier) than we remembered him.
An Enstone car is always going to provide a little controversy and this time around it was the car's suspension which attracted attention. Better on a Sunday than a Saturday the E20 was also better suited to warmer conditions.
In Bahrain it was widely felt that Raikkonen could have pushed Vettel a little harder but then again it was too easy to forget that this was no longer a works team and that the Finn had been away for two years. It was widely seen that an Iceman win was a matter of when rather than if but as the season wore on one tended to think that the window of opportunity had closed. Then came that sublime performance in Abu Dhabi.
By that time the team was clearly losing ground, a situation not helped by its failure to get to grips with its double DRS F-duct style device and its equally controversial Coanda exhaust.
While Raikkonen was one of the true stars of 2012, Grosjean was a major disappointment. Though clearly talented he had gained a reputation as a "nutcase" particularly because of his wild and erratic starts. In Belgium he was responsible for an incident which eliminated Alonso and Hamilton at the first corner, indeed, the Spaniard was lucky not to be seriously injured, or worse. Consequently, the Frenchman became the first driver to be banned from a race (Monza), his place taken by Jerome d'Ambrosio.
On his return the Frenchman was clearly far more subdued and circumspect, the lack of points however saying more about the car than his lack of determination. Claiming that he had learned his lesson, if he has he would be worth watching in 2013, though some insisted he was still too wild and reckless.
With funding, not least from Coca-Cola, things were look good for the Enstone team in 2013, and if Allison and his men were to pick up where they left off, it could be an interesting season for the British team.
With the team taking victory in Melbourne, courtesy of Raikkonen, things got off to the best possible start, though Grosjean, who experienced handling problems, could only manage tenth having qualified eighth. Sadly, in many ways it was the team's highlight of the year.
Though it was on the pace at most circuits, it was problems behind the scenes, mainly financial, that were to dominate. Not as badly affected by the Pirelli rubber as some, even the change to the compounds at mid-season didn't seem to damage the team as much as its rivals.
First to launch its 2013 contender, the team persisted with its Coanda exhaust and a number of other 'devices', the Enstone outfit maintaining its ancestors' reputation for innovation.
However, early in the season there was talk of Lotus being one of several teams suffering money problems, the flames of speculation subsequently fanned when it was revealed that James Allison - widely regarded as one of the up and coming technical stars - jumped ship… the Englishman returning to Ferrari.
Shortly after Allison's departure - which was with immediate effect - Lotus announced that it had agreed a deal with Infinity Racing Partners Limited (Infinity Racing) which was to acquire a 35% minority stake in the team. Sadly, by season end the deal had not yet been finalised. Indeed, as Infinity morphed in to Quantum Motorsport, the reasons for the failure to conclude the deal became ever sillier.
In the meantime, as more top members of staff sought positions elsewhere, it was revealed that Raikkonen had not been paid. While Eric Boullier did his best to paper over the cracks and hold things together it was clear that the team was in difficulty.
Grosjean went from strength to strength, the Frenchman clearly benefitting from his time with a sport psychologist, the erratic antics of 2012 now a distant memory. However, after several 'warnings', Raikkonen eventually gave up and walked out on the team with two races remaining having revealed that he hadn't been paid a single euro for his year's work.
Despite its obvious problems, finishing fourth in the championship, 39 points shy of Ferrari and 45 shy of Mercedes, was no mean feat and Boullier and his men deserved to be applauded... under the circumstances.
Raikkonen gave 100% while Grosjean was one of the true revelations, the Frenchman finally living up to that early promise. Indeed, in the latter stages of the championship he was the only driver giving Vettel a run for his money.
Going into 2014 the financial situation was still far from settled, though Boullier gamely insisted that all was well. To that affect, as Raikkonen headed off back to Maranello, Pastor Maldonado was welcomed along with his PDVSA money and Grosjean promoted to the role of team leader.
The alarm bells first rang when Technical Director Nick Chester confirmed that the team would not be attending the opening test in Jerez. "We're going to keep our car under wraps a little longer than some other teams," he admitted. "We've decided that attending the Jerez test isn't ideal for our build and development programme. We are likely to unveil the car before attending the Bahrain tests, and in Bahrain we should really be able to put the car through its paces in representative conditions."
Of course, part of the problem was revealed at Jerez when the other Renault powered teams were barely able to put more than a few laps together. Over the course of the four days, Renault-powered team managed 151 laps compared to 445 (Ferrari) and 875 (Mercedes).
"A number of related things have been troublesome," admitted Renault's Managing Director (Technical) Rob White, "principally concerning the control and operation of the various sub-systems of the Power Unit within the car. For example on the first run day, we had problems with a sub-system within the Energy Store that did not directly concern either the battery nor the operation of the battery - it is an electronic part that was in the same housing as the Energy Store. We subsequently had problems with turbocharger and boost control systems with knock-on effects on the associated engine management systems, subsequently provoking mechanical failures."
As its rivals prepared to head to Bahrain, Lotus went to Jerez for two days of 'filming'. Not for the first time, its approach to regulation changes was somewhat unique - Benetton and all that followed are in its DNA - and consequently nobody was too surprised by its 'twin nose' approach.
Once testing proper got underway, it was clear that in addition to its burdensome power unit, Lotus was running a dog of a car. Meanwhile, after days of speculation, it was revealed that Eric Boullier had left the team, the Frenchman subsequently popping up at McLaren as Racing Director.
Along with his role as co-Chairman, Gerard Lopez took over as Team Principal, the Genii Capital boss now fully immersed in the team he was funding.
Despite its radical look, the E22 was awful and, in tandem with its Renault power unit, it was clear the team would struggle. That said, it was never clear how much the team would struggle, scoring just 10 points over the course of the year and slipping to 8th in the standings.
Indeed, the team's season was summed up best in Abu Dhabi when Maldonado's car stopped after 26 laps and burst into flames. Back in the pits the mechanics were seen laughing, clearly delighted to see the back of the car and the year.
In reality there is little to dwell on, the team's decline was dramatic. Grosjean was unable to build on the obvious progress made in 2013 whilst Maldonado continued to do what he does best - bring money from PDVSA and cause incidents.
Away from the track despite the insistence of some sections of the media, Mansoor Ijaz' money never arrived, indeed he wasn't seen. Consequently, when Marussia and Caterham both went into administration, Lotus was one of the first teams to call for some spending sanity within the sport.
With both drivers retained for 2015 - Maldonado courtesy of his oil millions and Grosjean because there were no other suitable offers - the Enstone outfit has made the decision to switch to Mercedes power units, possibly in a 'if you can't beat 'em..." move.
To see the team for so long associaterd with Renault now running Mercedes units was almost surreal. But things were about to get worse.
Whilst the Mercedes-powered E23 was a whole lot better than its predecessor, it was events off track that continued to dominate.
In dire financial difficulty, the team, almost from the word go, found itself faced with problem after problem.
In Hungary it was forced to miss much of FP1 after Pirelli withheld its tyres, the Italian manufacturer insisting that its outstanding bill(s) be paid. At a subsequent event the team's equipment - including the cars - was impounded following a lawsuit by a former driver and in Japan the team was forced to rely on food and hospitality from Bernie Ecclestone after being locked out of the circuit's own hospitality unit for not paying its 2014 bill.
To make matters worse, not only did the lack of cash mean a lack of new parts or development, it meant a shortage or spares - not the ideal situation when you have Maldonado in one of your cars.
After months of speculation, as creditors forced a winding-up petition, Renault announced that it had signed a Letter of Intent to buy into the team.
Elsewhere, Force India and Sauber, made a formal complaint to the EU about the governance of the sport and, in particular, the way in which the prize pot is distributed. With Renault seemingly on board, Lotus opted not to join its rivals in making the complaint.
As the summer continued, and the problems became more obvious, little more was heard officially about the Renault deal, prompting some, including Pitpass, to wonder if it was really going to happen.
Its creditors also dubious, back in the High Court Lotus was warned that the case would be adjourned until late December, and that if a solution had not been found by then the team was essentially dead and buried.
Amidst claims that Renault boss Carlos Ghosn was considering walking away from the sport - his company already publicly damaged by the ongoing Red Bull criticism - things were looking bad. However, on the morning of the London hearing, Renault completed the deal, paying off Lotus' creditors and buying 90% of the team for £1.
Whilst it was good news for the guys at Enstone, many of whom have been with the team through its various incarnations, and good for a sport that didn't want to lose another team, it was too late to prevent Romain Grosjean heading off to Haas.
Despite a number of mistakes, there were some great drives, and it should be noted that in spite of regularly having to miss FP1 in favour of Jolyon Palmer, Grosjean only failed to out-qualify his teammate on two occasions.
Seventh in China and Bahrain might not say a lot, but this was a lot better than even his team expected.
Yet, if anyone doubted Grosjean's ability, his strength of character, one need look no further than Spa - a circuit which has bad memories for the youngster, and where the bailiffs shadowed the team like vultures. Qualifying fourth he was penalised following a gearbox change. Nonetheless, he battled his way back through the field to take a fine podium - his first since India 2013 - albeit courtesy of Sebastian Vettel's late tyre failure.
Remember, this was a car that was not being developed, a team that was publicly showing its lack of money, then there were the off-track issues that will have affected the Frenchman, the atrocities in Paris and the death of his countryman and friend, Jules Bianchi.
Maldonado was, well Maldonado, involved in more than his fair share of incidents but also more than his fair share of technical failures. There were highlights - Monaco, and that move on Max Verstappen in Austria - but for the most part it was business as usual.
Jolyon Palmer gave a good account of himself in his numerous FP1 outings, though , having been signed (by Lotus) to partner Maldonado in 2016, it will be interesting to see if new owner Renault has other ideas.
And then there was Carmen Jorda.
Not for the first time, the Enstone facility will be adorned with the Renault logo, the company now back in the hands of the people who bought it from Benetton, who bought it from Toleman.
If nothing else, it will be good to see the Lotus name finally disappear from the grid. Not because we are anti-Lotus, rather the fact that this team, like Tony Fernandes attempt before it, had - other than naming rights - absolutely nothing to do with the dream that began in Hornsey, north London in the late 1950s and was to make history, worldwide in the years that followed.
Chassis: Moulded carbon fibre and aluminium honeycomb composite monocoque, manufactured by Lotus F1 Team and designed for maximum strength with minimum weight. Mercedes HPP power unit installed as a fully-stressed member.
Front Suspension: Carbon fibre top and bottom wishbones operate an inboard rocker via a pushrod system. This is connected to a torsion bar and damper units which are mounted inside the front of the monocoque. Aluminium uprights and OZ machined magnesium wheels.
Rear Suspension: Carbon fibre top and bottom wishbones with pull rod operated torsion springs and transverse-mounted damper units mounted inside the gearbox casing. Aluminium uprights and OZ machined magnesium wheels.
Transmission: Eight-speed semi-automatic titanium gearbox with reverse gear. “Quickshift” system in operation to maximise speed of gearshifts.
Fuel System: Kevlar-reinforced rubber fuel cell by ATL.
Electrical: MES-Microsoft Standard Electronic Control Unit.
Braking System: Carbon discs and pads. Calipers by AP Racing. Master cylinders by AP Racing.
Cockpit: Removable driver's seat made of anatomically formed carbon composite, with six-point or eight-point harness seat belt. Steering wheel integrates gear change, clutch paddles, and rear wing adjuster.
ERS: Motor generator units supplied by Mercedes AMG High Performance Powertrains.
Dimensions and Weight
Front Track: 1450 mm
Rear Track: 1400 mm
Overall Height: 950 mm
Overall Width: 1800 mm
Overall Weight: 702kg, with driver, cameras and ballast
Mercedes-Benz PU106B Hybrid
Power Unit Specification
Type: Mercedes-Benz PU106B Hybrid
Minimum Weight: 145 kg
Power Unit Perimeter: Internal Combustion Engine (ICE)
Motor Generator Unit - Kinetic (MGU-K)
Motor Generator Unit - Heat (MGU-H)
Energy Store (ES)
Control Electronics (CE)
Power Unit Allocation: Four Power Units per driver per season
Internal Combustion Engine
Capacity: 1.6 litres
Bank Angle: 90
No of Valves: 24
Max rpm ICE: 15,000 rpm
Max Fuel Flow Rate: 100 kg/hour (above 10,500 rpm)
Fuel Injection: High-pressure direct injection (max 500 bar, one injector/cylinder)
Pressure Charging: Single-stage compressor and exhaust turbine on a common shaft
Max rpm Exhaust Turbine: 125,000 rpm
Energy Recovery System
Architecture: Integrated Hybrid energy recovery via electrical Motor Generator Units
Energy Store: Lithium-Ion battery solution, between 20 and 25 kg
Max energy storage/lap: 4 MJ
Max rpm MGU-K: 50,000 rpm
Max power MGU-K: 120 kW (161 hp)
Max energy recovery/lap MGU-K: 2 MJ
Max energy deployment/lap MGU-K: 4 MJ (33.3 s at full power)
Max rpm MGU-H: 125,000 rpm
Max power MGU-H: Unlimited
Max energy recovery/lap MGU-H: Unlimited
Max energy deployment/lap MGU-H: Unlimited
Fuel & Lubricants
Fuel: Petronas Primax
Lubricants: Petronas Syntium