Lotus-Renault GP has unveiled the finalised livery for its 2011 car at the Autosport International Show in UK. While the revived iconic black and gold colour scheme (with some splashes of red to accommodate oil supplier Total) is final, it was shown on last season’s R30 – the R31 will be launched in Valencia on January 31, a day before official pre-season testing kicks off.

As all of us know, Group Lotus, which is fully owned by national carmaker Proton, has bought into the Renault team and is now a title sponsor of the Enstone outfit, much like what Vodafone and Petronas is to McLaren and Mercedes respectively. This is the start, and the sportscar maker plans to inch its way into having full control of the team eventually. It’s all part of the Dany Bahar led masterplan to take on the likes of Ferrari and Porsche, as demonstrated in Paris last year.

The livery was unwrapped by team driver Vitaly Petrov and Formula 1 legend Jean Alesi, present as brand ambassador for Lotus. “Everyone remembers the black and gold Lotuses from years ago and it’s nice they have been brought back. When you look around the show here and see those cars, then see this car, it does make you smile,” the Frenchman said.

Along with the new look is new ambition. “We want to win with this car. To win you need to be a regular podium finisher – and then you will win – and that is our target. My ambition has always been to establish this team as a top team. I want us to be recognised as a top team like Ferrari or McLaren,” team boss Eric Boullier told Autosport.

On his team’s new name, Boullier said: “To have Clive Chapman here is a good sign, I must say. Definitely we are representing Lotus Cars – and we don’t claim any heritage or anything. We are the F1 vision of Lotus. It is good to have a Chapman family member here. The strategy of Group Lotus was to licence the F1 entry. For reasons that they decided on their own, they decided to change their strategy and to stick with us. That is it. There is only one Lotus manufacturer in the world and they have asked us to represent them in F1. That is the end of the story.”

By the way, should the team win a race, the British anthem will be played, not the French anthem, as Renault will compete next season with a British racing license, now that they have Lotus onboard. By the way, Tony Fernandes’ Team Lotus (as it will be called from now) is using a Malaysian license, so Negaraku will be played should the team win a race, although that’s a highly unlikely scenario in the near future.