Lotus Racing has announced that its cars will be running in a black and gold colour scheme for the 2011 championship.

Tony Fernandes’ squad has run in the legendary team’s classic green and yellow livery in 2010 after the Malaysian businessman returned the Lotus name to F1 after a 16-year absence.

But for 2011 they will switch to a livery inspired by the famous John Player Special-sponsored cars of the 1970s and ’80s, though they obviously won’t be returning the tobacco company’s logos to F1.

Heikki Kovalainen and Fairuz Fauzy try out a pair of black and gold Lotus cars earlier this year. Credit: Classic Team Lotus

The team’s head of marketing, Silvi Schaumloeffel, explained that fans will be able to get involved with the design of the 2011 livery.

“We are all very excited about the move to a black and gold paint scheme for next season,” said Schaumloeffel, “and we want our fans to help us design the livery that will be racing around the world next year.

“We will shortly be announcing exactly how the fans can take part in our design process, so keep an eye on our website www.lotusracing.my for more details.

“The person who designs the livery we finally choose will be joining us at our first test next year to see the car out on track for the very first time, so for Lotus fans it is the chance of a lifetime to help us take the next step forward in our amazing story in 2011.”

The Lotus team is currently facing an uncertain future name-wise, with Group Lotus apparently poised to become a major sponsor of Renault. Fernandes’ team has bagged a significant amount of customer parts from Red Bull and a supply of Renault engines for next year, but still face a fight to use the Lotus name.

If things aren’t settled we could we could well have two Lotus-Renaults in F1 next year, one running green and yellow liveries and one in gold and black.

For more images of Classic Lotus livery, see our Lotus Picture Special here