Enstone is pretty special - Alan Permane

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On the verge of its entry into a new era as Renault formally takes up the baton from Lotus, Enstone's F1 team will be more than happy to break with its eventful past and embrace a new future.

Born Toleman, taken over by Benetton, remodeled by Renault in its first iteration, and then sold to Genii Capital and renamed Lotus, Enstone has endured many memorable cycles of life.

But last season, with its stirring series of financial and legal woes, was undoubtedly its most difficult and exhausting campaign of all.

But trackside director of operations Alan Permane believes the drama and setbacks encountered in 2015 underlined the troops' courage and fortitude.

"I'm not sure every team is made of the same sort of stuff," he told Autosport.

"Talking to my opposite numbers at other teams they said they did not know how our guys kept going. I'm sure many people would have stopped, given up, gone on strike, whatever, but they were fantastic, absolutely tremendous.

"We had wages paid late, race expenses were missed, all sorts of things like that, and of course there were grievances, and people were upset."

Enstone's state of affairs reached a climax at Spa when bailiffs guarded the team all weekend as they patiently awaited Monday morning to move in and impound its cars and equipment following legal proceedings brought about by former Lotus reserve driver Charles Pic.

Despite its predicament, Lotus achieved at the Belgian Grand Prix its best result of the year when Romain Grosjean came home third.

"That was a weekend where we had a dagger hanging over us," Permane recalled.

"People were impounding our trucks afterwards, or they were cataloguing everything on the day before the grand prix. But we were able to put all that out of our heads and get on with the business of racing.

"It was a phenomenal result which really meant a lot to everyone and underlined the spirit that exists within the team."

In Permane's view, with its return to Enstone, Renault will find "something special", a devoted staff rearing to go, its passion and motivation intact.

"I know that Enstone is pretty special, and there is a real team spirit, a real camaraderie," Permane concluded.

"I know when people come from other teams they are really pleasantly surprised to work here, and people that leave and go to other teams to seek a brighter future often say it is not the same.

"Those teams may be better funded and that sort of thing, and may be doing better on the track, but they say the working atmosphere, the environment isn't the same and there is something special at Enstone, that is for sure."

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