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Lotus Renault GP livery – Click above for high-res image

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If you thought it was confusing for Red Bull to own two F1 teams, you ain't seen nothin' yet. Emerging reports from the F1 paddock seem to paving the way for not one, but two teams under the Lotus-Renault banner.

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Imagine you're running an F1 team. You're spending millions to shave precious pounds off the car's weight. And then you hire a driver who's carrying an extra few pounds around the middle, and the advantage is lost.

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Renault R30 F1 challenger - Click above for high-res image gallery. Follow the jump to watch video.

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A few weeks back, Toyota announced its departure from Formula One, and it looked like Renault could follow. The team had lost its drivers, its team leaders, its sponsors and its reputation. The French automaker's board convened in France to discuss the matter, but no announcement followed, leaving everyone scratching their heads. Well if the latest rumors hold any truth, we could have our reason.

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Things have never been this bad for the Renault F1 team. Their performance is light-years behind where it used to be, their star driver is bolting once again, their top management has been thrown out of the sport in disgrace, and its biggest sponsors are leaving en masse. And now, following months if not years of speculation, the French automaker could be preparing to cut its losses and shut down its racing team altogether.

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Click above for the video of Nelson Piquet Jr. putting F1 on ice

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