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Two of Todt’s closest allies now running Lotus F1 team
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Two of Todt’s closest allies now running Lotus F1 team
Posted By: James Allen  |  28 Oct 2009   |  7:07 pm GMT  |  14 comments

Claudio Berro, the former press officer from Ferrari has joined the new Lotus F1 team as sporting director. Berro is one of new FIA president Jean Todt’s closest allies in motorsport, having worked with the Frenchman at Peugeot and Ferrari. More recently he ran the Maserati programme and the Speedcar programme.

He is a very well organised and genial individual. Todt has a lot of respect for his abilities. Although primarily an organiser, Todt gave him the vitally important role of head of communications early in his tenure at Ferrari and Berro managed to stop the leaks and get control of the media relations.

Berro joins Danny Bahar at Lotus, the ex Red Bull marketeer was hired by Todt as head of brand at Ferrari, but left the company earlier this year, following Todt’s departure from the board. He moved to Lotus as group CEO shortly before the FIA announced that Lotus had been granted the 13th place of F1 grid, created by the failure of BMW to sign the new Concorde Agreement.

The new Lotus team is being funded by Malaysians, with Air Asia a prominent backer and a centre of excellence is being established at Sepang, the home of the Malaysian Grand Prix. Todt has very strong links with Malaysia through his wife Michelle Yeoh and has been honoured by the country.

“I am delighted that Claudio is joining us as director of motorsport,” Bahar said on F1.com, “He has a proven track record of not only setting up and managing the motorsport divisions within sportscar brands, but also winning championships in GT racing and rallying. His skills will be very valuable as we look to return Lotus to high level motorsport around the world.”

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14 Comments
  1. GQsm says:

    oh dear. This does not sound good in the name of impartiality.

    I have to wonder if Lotus were only granted BMW’s place because of the above connections.

  2. bryan says:

    Ah, there does seem to be a lot of interwoven threads pulling through this saga.
    Hmmmmmmm…..

  3. mike says:

    Interesting story, but these people have been hired by Bahar to head the Lotus competition department – Indy, GT racing etc. Nothing to do with F1 or the Malaysians.

  4. Darren says:

    i just cant want for Lotus to return, some say it’s not “LOTUS” but i beleive Colin Chapmans family have given it blessings to this happening.So to me it is Lotus.

    im having a 100 at the bookies on Lotus getting a podium in 2010

  5. Rudy Pyatt says:

    I don’t think there was any skullduggery. But I do think that it creates such an appearance of a conflict of interest that conspiracy theories will fly thick and fast, quid pro quo stuff as in:

    Max wanted Todt to succeed him. The World Council — which many will read as “Max” — agrees to add a team with ties to Todt. Max comes out even more strongly against Vatanen, undermines him, accuses him of undermining or insulting the World Council — for which, again, many will read as “Max”– to further weaken him and ensure a Todt victory, etc, etc, ad nauseum.

    A truly independent F1 Commissioner will have to be installed if Todt is to avoid the credibility of his administration being wholly compromised here at the start. Otherwise, FOTA, or elements thereof, are going to flare up and fight him every step of the way.

    We may even see litigation by Peter Sauber and/or Qadbak, to say nothing of FOTA (Williams?) reversing course and admitting Sauber as the 14th team, both on the grounds that the Lotus entry was, effectively, a rigged bid.

    The season’s racing is about to end, but the off track drama continues…

  6. Tripod Ape says:

    Oh dear, a conflict of interest scandal is not a great place for Todt to start having campaigned on a reformist ticket.

  7. Peter Trenetson says:

    It’s one of the most confusing things ever, but I’m pretty darn sure that Dany Bahar and therefore Claudio Berro have NOTHING to do with the Lotus F1 Team. The way I understand it, the Lotus F1 team is only using a license to the name, and Group Lotus’ plans for motor sport are Le Mans, Indy, that sort of thing. I was surprised when I saw the story at F1.com because I don’t think it’s an F1-related story.
    Correct me if I’m wrong!

    1. Peter, you’re absolutely right. I’ve checked Lotus Group’s home page and several other sources, and it’s clear that Lotus Group and the Lotus F1 Team have nothing in common, except the words ‘Malaysia’ and ‘Lotus’. Claudio Berro has been appointed because Lotus (the sportscar manufacturer) are looking at getting into a variety of racing series, including Indy, Le Mans and GT racing.

  8. dave says:

    Hi james
    Great news

    I also start at lotus on thursday next week
    Should b a good well organised team
    Looking fwrd to it

    1. James Allen says:

      Even greater news! Good luck.

    2. GP says:

      Your project is similar to mine. I’m starting a garage band and we’re naming it The Beatles. We’re already the greatest band ever!

  9. alex m says:

    Should be interesting, if Max wanted to favour his minions at Manor, while Toad has got a rival little bunch at Lotus, neither really seems to have any chance of regular F1 points, so 2010 should be interesting……

    For the sake of F1, I do hope Peter Trenetson is right, one Manor is enough, one Max was enough.

  10. john g says:

    all sounds a bit dodgy. guess everyone that expected todt to pick up mosely’s batton aren’t at all surprised…

  11. Mark says:

    As some earlier points out. This story is wrong. Its nice for everyone to put 2+2 together and make 5. But the reality is we are talking about 2 different Lotus companies. One is Lotus Group Plc in which Claudio will work and then you have a Malaysian run F1 team…

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