At the end of the 1986 the team lost its long-time John Player & Sons Ltd backing (John Player Special) and found new sponsorship with Camel. Senna's skills attracted the attention of the Honda Motor Company and when Lotus agreed to run Satoru Nakajima as its second driver a deal for engines was agreed. The Ducarouge-designed 99T featured active suspension, but Senna was able to win just twice: at Monaco and Detroit, with the Team again finishing 3rd in the Constructors' Championship.
The Brazilian moved to McLaren in 1988, and Lotus signed Senna's countryman and then World Champion Nelson Piquet from Williams. The best result for the team however was three 3rd places for Piquet in Brazil, San Marino and Australia. With the new normally aspirated engine regulations in 1989 Lotus lost its Honda turbo engines and moved to Judd V8 engines. At 1989, the best result for the team however was 4th places for Piquet in UK, Canada, Japan and 4th place and fastest lap for Nakajima in Australia. A deal was organized for Lamborghini V12 engines and Derek Warwick and Martin Donnelly were hired to drive for 1990. The Dernie design was not a success with Warwick scoring all the three points for a 6th in the 1990 Canadian Grand Prix and a 5th in the 1990 Hungarian Grand Prix; Donnelly was nearly killed in a violent accident at Jerez. At the end of the year Camel withdrew their sponsorship.