Lopez bides time over sponsor
Lotus owner Gerard Lopez is determined to remain picky with regard to the team's title sponsor even though he appreciates the lack of funds is hurting their bid for glory.
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The Enstone-based marque are the only team of Formula One's big five not supported by a major marketing brand.
With Lotus and Kimi Raikkonen undoubtedly in the hunt for this year's F1 titles after the opening three grands prix, the backing of a big-name sponsor would be an asset in their quest to become champions.
Lopez, though, is determined to hold out and get top dollar for his team's value.
"At this stage it's a choice. There are a number of title sponsors we can sign up, but anyone you sign up is for three to five years," said Lopez, speaking ahead of this weekend's Bahrain Grand Prix.
"The value we have today in the championship and the paddock is one that should be recognised.
"So we've refused to sign certain things we could have done because we believe we shouldn't undersell ourselves.
"So it's a choice, and whenever you make a choice you have to live with the consequences, and the consequence for us is we (as owner) essentially finance more of the team.
"But that doesn't mean the budget has come down. On the contrary the budget has actually been increased (for this season)."
Asked whether he was confident of signing up a title sponsor this year, Lopez replied: "There's a good chance."
Lotus' budget, however, still falls significantly short of those of Red Bull, Ferrari, McLaren and Mercedes.
Despite that Lotus are currently third in the constructors' standings as they trail Red Bull by 18 points, whilst Raikkonen is three points adrift of Vettel in the drivers' championship.
"We like the position of the underdog," said Lopez.
"That's what we are, but at the same time, in terms of development, we've never let anybody down.
"We maybe spend our money differently, which makes us an interesting team in the championship.
"We're never going to spend what some others are spending, but that doesn't mean we're never going to compete against them either."