Group Lotus has dismissed speculation that the ending of its Formula 1 sponsorship deal with Lotus F1 Team will have any impact on its future.

Group Lotus parent company Proton was recently sold to Malaysian firm DRB-Hicom. As a result, an announcement over DRB's plans for Group Lotus is expected imminently - with options as diverse as committing to the firm's current five-year plan or selling up being evaluated.

Yesterday www.autosport.com revealed that Lotus F1 was ending its sponsorship deal with Group Lotus, prompting speculation that DRB-Hicom was poised to announce its plans for the road car company.

However, a Group Lotus spokesman stressed that the F1 sponsorship deal was not a financial arrangement and that it has no link to Group Lotus's future.

A Group Lotus statement said: "Group Lotus and Lotus F1 Team are brand partners, the F1 team uses the strength of the Lotus name to promote themselves, and in return Group Lotus benefits from F1 exposure and the ambassadorship of its drivers, and the deal is a non-cost one."