Asked whether he felt Renault would step up, or whether there was an element of wishful thinking on the part of the Lotus owners and the 400 factory employees, Ecclestone said he did not know.
Media reports have indicated that Renault want “heritage” payments and status that would put them on a par with Mercedes as a reward for their contribution to the sport over the years.
Carter recognises the fact Lotus can not pay the £27,000 required to unlock its hospitality unit is a sad reflection on the position the team finds itself in.
Grosjean, whose British-based Lotus team have severe financial problems but are hoping to be bought by Renault, told reporters at the Japanese Grand Prix he had made his decision but was coy about the details.
Romain Grosjean was 15th quickest in the second free practice of the Suzuka Grand Prix on Friday.
Hamilton won something of a hollow victory previous year in a race marred by a horror crash involving Frenchman Jules Bianchi, who died as a result of his injuries nine months later.
“It doesn’t mean we can’t fight for the podium”, said Grosjean. “Look at Spa, we had bailiffs in the garage and we ended up on the podium”, he said.
Team and drivers are taking the unfamiliar situation in their stride, with Grosjean posting earlier in the day “Just like the old days” with a photo of him and team officials sitting on cooler boxes.
With Lotus and its employees having nowhere to go to eat in between sessions other outfits up and down the grid have opened their doors.
As their preparations for Japan were badly hit, Lotus mechanics prepared to burn the midnight oil to set up the cars for Friday’s practice. The most important thing is we have what we need to race.
The big topic is engines – who is going to get what, and who is going to left without a “power unit” to fire.
While Lotus will compete this weekend, its future is on the line as it returns to the High Court on Monday as it owes HMRC £2.7million in PAYE (income tax and national insurance) – £900,000 each for June, July and August.