Posted on December 8, 2010
Group Lotus confirms buy-in to Renault F1 team  | James Allen on F1 – The official James Allen website on F1

There will be a new partnership on the F1 grid next year as Group Lotus, owned by the Malaysian government via Proton, has bought a stake in the Enstone based F1 team, creating Lotus Renault GP.

This deal, which sees Lotus come in both as an equity partner alongside Genii Capital, the teams’ main shareholder, and as the main sponsor of the team, has been mooted for many months now and was finally signed off at the start of this week. In addition to a stake in the team, which is open ended, Lotus will be the title sponsor until at least 2017.

For the moment, Genii has bought out Renault’s 25% stake and will then sell a stake to Group Lotus, believed to be between 25% and 50%.


A photo with proposed livery has been issued and the car switches to the iconic black and gold of the JPS Lotus days from the 1970s. This was an idea that Tony Fernandes announced for Team Lotus for next year and he ran a fan competition to design the livery.

Although this move means the end of Renault having a stake in an F1 team, its name remains on several levels. First the chassis will still be called a Renault. Second, the car will have significant Renault branding, thirdly the engine operation in Viry Chatillon will operate as Renault Sport F1 and as such will be a profit centre for Renault, supplying the engines to Lotus Renault GP, Red Bull and the team currently entered as Team Lotus and owned by Tony Fernandes.

So without any of the liability of running its own team, Renault is still getting a lot out of this deal and there is a financial consideration for this, but nothing like what it used to spend. To the man in the street it will look like Renault is still heavily engaged in F1 and will benefit from any success the team accrues.

Viry will also collaborate with Enstone on gearbox and KERS development and will work on the preparation of the new generation of small capacity eco F1 engines for 2013, due to be announced by the FIA later this week.

This deal has its origins in discussions between Group Lotus and Genii Capital, which started in Autumn 2009, before Genii bought the Renault F1 team and were not involved with racing. It evolved an F1 dimension and this partially explains why Group Lotus was prepared to grant a licence to Fernandes to use the Lotus name in 2010 and then has been trying to reverse out of it in the second half of this year.

There is a wider business angle to the partnership. Lotus and Genii will collaborate on road cars, with Genii offering Lotus access to its the network of automotive technology companies it owns, which specialise in variable compression engine technology as well as vehicle systems and in-car VOIP and internet technology. Also central to the deal is that Genii with its extensive operations in Russia will give Proton a way into the Russian market, which will help Vitaly Petrov’s claims on a race seat next year.

The naming of the team as Lotus Renault GP, represents a fresh start. The team will not use “F1″ in its team name for two reasons; it is not allowed to use the words “Team” and “Lotus” in the same name and FOM stipulates that any team with “F1″ in its name has to also have the word “team”. Second the management wants no association Renault F1 team, after all the difficulties of the last two years over the Singapore crash scandal.

The new team will not claim any of Lotus’ F1 heritage, instead will trade on the history of the Enstone based team which as Toleman, Benetton and Renault has a proud history of its own in the sport.


This game of poker now leaves Tony Fernandes to make the next move. He has entered next year’s world championship as Team Lotus and has a contract for Renault engines. The entry states that the chassis will be Lotus Renaults. So there is a confusion which does not work for either party or for FOM or the FIA. The issue needs resolving as experienced F1 sponsors I’ve spoken to indicated that any prospective sponsors will be reluctant to engage with the team while there is uncertainty hanging over the brand.

There is still still a court case on this to be heard at some point in 2011, but this really needs resolving before the season starts.

The Group Lotus announcement contained statements of support for the deal from Malaysian government officials including a former prime minister. Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Proton advisor and former Prime Minister of Malaysia, said: “This is an exciting development which delivers strategic benefits to both Group Lotus and Proton. I fully support the partnership.”

So it will be interesting to see what Fernandes does. His initial reaction on Twitter today was, “Dany bahr (sic) has done us a favour. Never felt better about our future and Team Lotus. Looks like the trying to hijak our black and gold idea.”

Fernandes’ team has a strong following, having taken on some of the underdog status of Super Aguri, which became phenomenally popular. Fernandes has a popularist approach and tweets to his followers regularly, but here he appears to be taking on Renault, Proton and factions of the Malaysian government. He may own an airline and have some powerful shareholders, but it’s still a David vs Goliath struggle and today’s move is a power play by Proton.

As a side note, under UK law, a 25% shareholder in a company can block the sale of the company if it does not want to sell to the preferred buyer of the majority shareholder.

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Group Lotus confirms buy-in to Renault F1 team
179 Responses

  1.   1. Posted By: chris green
        Date: December 8th, 2010 @ 12:19 pm 

    just to add to the machinations.

    If I owned the JPS brand I’d take a dim view of that livery. Looks like “passing off” to me. lol

    People in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones!

    [Reply]

    Steve Rogers Reply:

    Good point! What about the holders of the JPS brand? It was their advert.

    [Reply]

    Mike Reply:

    Get real – why would JPS complain about free worldwide advertising!

    [Reply]

    Tim. Reply:

    IT is real…it could be money for them

    [Reply]


  2.   2. Posted By: martin_tf
        Date: December 8th, 2010 @ 12:49 pm 

    Looks like this one is good news for Lotus (car manufacturer) and bad news for Lotus (2010 racing team).

    Hopefully they will work something out so that they can both get on with racing.

    [Reply]


  3.   3. Posted By: Young Slinger
        Date: December 8th, 2010 @ 12:57 pm 

    Who do I support??
    I have been a Lotus-ite for over 50 years, falling in love with the Seven, owning and driving one, plus other Lotus. Chapman was my hero!!!
    Who do I support???

    [Reply]

    Disgrace Reply:

    There simply isn’t a choice. You can support the man who took the risk of entering the brand into F1; true entrepreneurship along with the racers spirit brought along by Gascoyne and the Norfolk base.

    Or you can support a car manufacturer that is blatantly used Fernandes as someone to dip the toe into the water for them, then used bully-boy tactics to get them out of F1 entirely seemingly without much of a legal basis.

    Team Lotus > Group Lotus. Apart from name, they are polar opposites. Fernandes can be very confident of getting 100% of the support of F1 fans in this saga, if it’s to make much difference.

    [Reply]

    Philip Taylor Reply:

    Team Lotus: Tony, Jarno and Heikki

    [Reply]

    MAS Reply:

    Team Lotus!

    Lotus Cars has no business being in F1. Team Lotus was always independent and the way Bahar has been misrepresenting the history of Lotus and attacking the remnants of the old team is disrespectful to Chapman and the brand itself.

    On the other hand, Fernandes has done everything he could to connect to the history without seeming exploitative. Of course, he’s just as much an opportunist as Bahar and Lopez but he’s been more respectful toward the history and the people. That last bit is the most important part. The Chapmans, David Hunt and all other former Team-people I’ve heard are behind him and Mike.

    Lotus Cars, on the other hand has rejected deals in the past and has tried to push everyone out through the courts instead. They’ve also tried to rewrite the history of Team Lotus, usurped the Team’s achievements and reneged on deals made in the past. Talk about respect! I hope Fernandes takes them to court for all that. David Hunt says he’d be well within his rights.

    By the way Young Slinger, what do you think of the new model line-up of Lotus cars, as a Seven-owner I mean. Even the new Elise will weigh over 1100 kgs, as for the rest of them… (http://www.lotuscars.com/en/future-cars) Don’t get me wrong, it might be the right direction business-wise. And I’d personally be more likely to buy one of the planned cars than one of the current ones, but then I like sporty barges more than nimble spartan sport-cars. It doesn’t seem in keeping with Chapman’s philosophy though.

    [Reply]

    DB Reply:

    I haven’t been around for 50 years yet, but I have the same problem here!

    Plus, last year I tought the soon-to-be-formerly-known-as-Lotus team (!!!) was backed by Proton and Group Lotus via Malaysian Goverment. Soon someone will tell me the namings are dependent on Malaysian elections! o.O

    [Reply]

    Christopher Hobbs Reply:

    Easy! If your a F1 fan, support Team Lotus. The Litespeed team which was run by ex-team lotus guys became Lotus Racing which has become Team Lotus leagaly and with the chapman families blessing, plus they design, build and race their cars, they aren’t just slapping dollers and stickers on a car that traces its history back to Toleman.

    [Reply]

    malcolm.strachan Reply:

    Perhaps the one that the Chapman family also supports? (Team Lotus, owned by Tony Fernandes)

    [Reply]

    Solo Reply:

    It’s simple actually. Putting sentimentality aside if you where a fan of “Team Lotus” in the past then you should support Fernande’s team because they are the continuation of “Team Lotus”. “Lotus Renault” won’t inherit the history of the old team because it’s a new team called just “Lotus”. The old team was called “Team Lotus” and that’s the rights Fernade’s bought and how his going to call his team.
    Proton has the Lotus name of the car company not the old f1 team. And just to make clear this happens because unlike Ferrari “Team Lotus F1″ wasn’t the same company as the one making the cars. They were two different entities from the start because that’s how Chapman made them.

    [Reply]

    Rickeeboy Reply:

    At the end of the Day – I WILL support Tony Fernandes as his honesty, integrity, Sportsmanship, fantastic personality and the development of his TEAM has been great to watch this year. Thanks.

    I won’t support Group Proton – The way they go about things is underhand, deceitful, and they have used Team Lotus hard work and now their proposed colour scheme – Beware, you are starting along the Football route to getting Boo’s in the UK.

    [Reply]


  4.   4. Posted By: Christos Pallis
        Date: December 8th, 2010 @ 1:02 pm 

    Wow so let me get this right, next year we are gonna have ‘Lotus Renault GP’ and ‘Team Lotus Renault’ both of which will run black and gold livery.

    I’m a polite person so i won’t say the 3 words that have popped into my head!

    This is very dangerous for F1 but more so for Fernandes and ’1 malaysian F1 team’ or whatever they are actually called. I like most F1 fans really grew to like Fernandes, Gasgoyne and Lotus Racing this year. I hope this whole debacle doesnt cause them major problems they are a great team with potential, i fear it will though!

    James can i ask your personal opinion, do you think Fernandes team will be on the grid in Bahrain under the name ‘Team Lotus’? I have a feeling that he’s going to get bullied out of it!

    [Reply]

    unoc Reply:

    Just to add to taht question, what are the chances that once Fernandes has the high court show in his favour (he has bought the rights after all, ignoring the morally team lotus in f1 and lotus cars never in f1 debacle)…

    What are the chances of Fernandes then just filing an order with the court to stop lotus cars from being able to use the ”lotus’ in f1 brand’? From my best legal knowledge (parents are lawyers, i’m not), if Team Lotus is associated with F1 and is in F1 then another ‘lotus’ brand in f1 could be liable for defamation of the f1 lotus brand that lotus do not own. Any chance this has hit fernandes or if my knowledge holds water?

    in short (because that may have not made sense)

    Fernandes owns Lotus F1 brand because of Team Lotus
    Fernandes owns the brand associated with F1
    Lotus Cars use Lotus while F1 associated Lotus brand already in F1
    Fernandes asks court to disallow lotus cars to use Lotus in F1 as he owns the rights to the Lotus brand associated and in F1.

    Any lawyer want to correct if I’m wrong/right in UK/right period?

    [Reply]

    jonrob Reply:

    I am pretty sure it is “Team Lotus” and the “Team Lotus” logo and wordmark and association which David Hunt sold to Tony. Thus Baha can use Lotus but not Team Lotus, also note the difference in the logos.

    [Reply]

    Laurence H Reply:

    My head hurts! It’s ridiculously confusing…

    [Reply]

    Michael Reply:

    Let’s not forget Fernandes spent last year racing under the Lotus Cars brand. He himself brought the brand (Lotus Cars not Team Lotus) to F1, hence why shouldn’t they remain, they have now given this licence to Genii and Renault. The argument that Lotus Cars have nothing to do with racing is therefore incorrect and eventually Fernandes will have to back down.

    It is unfortunate as Team Lotus are very likeable and I was rooting for them all year.

    [Reply]

    Nick F Reply:

    Even if both teams attempt to have the Lotus name next year it just aint going to work. The commentators are going to be forced to give a nickname to one of them – or both of them – to differentiate them. how will the commentary work otherwise…and that’s especially the case for radio commentary. They are not going to be able to control what this nickname is. Mclaren didn’t chose the name “F-duct”, but it just developed. If your in F1 to promote the brand “Lotus”, but then you get nicknamed [insert name here], how do you control that? how do you market your brand and sell your cars (if your Proton)?

    [Reply]

    Mike Dimmick Reply:

    They’ll use the constructor names as entered into the world championship – so the Enstone team’s cars will be called Renault, and Hingham’s will be called Lotus, just as McLarens are called McLarens and not Vodafone, Williams called Williams and not AT&T, and Ferrari certainly not called Marlboro.

    Unless Group can get this sorted out, they will in fact be advertising a *different* car company!

    [Reply]


  5.   5. Posted By: Richard M
        Date: December 8th, 2010 @ 1:08 pm 

    Why don’t Group Lotus/Proton buy a stake in Fernandes’ team and run a similar thing to Red Bull and Toro Rosso?

    [Reply]

    Frenchie Reply:

    Immediate success would be the answer to that.

    I don’t think they realise what the term fan favourite means. Or maybe they do and have worked out the financial benefits.

    [Reply]

    Frenchie Reply:

    Worth adding: what benefit does Red Bull get out of Toro Rosso. I don’t think there’s a clear answer to that.

    [Reply]

    James Allen Reply:

    Young driver training. Expensive way of doing it!

    [Reply]


  6.   6. Posted By: sc
        Date: December 8th, 2010 @ 1:16 pm 

    Boo. Two thumbs down.

    [Reply]


  7.   7. Posted By: Kieran
        Date: December 8th, 2010 @ 1:17 pm 

    This is insane – Jonathan Legard already gets confused between teams, and now we’re going to have two teams of the same name.

    I can heard it already ‘And as they go through the first corner a car has spun off! It’s the black car of Team Lotus … sorry, I mean Lotus GP … actually it’s the Mclaren of Jenson Button’

    For the sake of coherent commentary, can’t they sort this one out?

    [Reply]

    Stephen Hill Reply:

    … and I was hoping Mr Legard would be replaced with Mr Allen in 2011.

    [Reply]

    Kris Reply:

    Well hopefully there’s even less chance of Legard being on the BBC next year than there is having 2 black and gold Lotus teams running ;)

    [Reply]

    max Reply:

    Jonathan Legard get confused about everything, i can spot the difference and i don’t even get payed to do it. It will be rather annoying in 2011 if he continues in the same fashion.

    [Reply]

    Maciej R. Reply:

    >For the sake of coherent commentary, can’t >they sort this one out?

    As in get rid of Legard? hearye, hearye

    [Reply]

    unoc Reply:

    For the sake of coherent commentary James Allen needs a job………. not that I’m posting this on JA’s website for any reason in paticular :)

    Brundle was also better when not interupted by the junior career of hulkenberg

    [Reply]

    Jo Torrent Reply:

    Brundle should stay out of commenting to focus on this blog. In the long run, it will be better for him I think.

    He’s a pioneer in F1 blogging & that will pay bigger devidends. Instead of Leggard they should hire the 5 live guy, he’s good I think.

    [Reply]

    unoc Reply:

    Brundle is awesome mate! Knowledgeable, comes across well, good use of language to explain, and has a great depth of knowledge form both a drivers point of view and also a 3rd person view form the commentary box, allowing him to provide great opinions.

    Brundle + Allen for 2011… if not can BBC atleast make it Brundle + Ant Davidson.

    I know it would leave the 5live a bit sparse. But maybe chandhok could fit in if he doesn’t have a seat? (Ant doing practice normal and bbc race/quali with rotating drivers doing race/quali 5live).

    If I watch the aussie open I always get two or three extennis player commentators, if I turn on the soccer (not sorry brits), then I get ex socceroos. etc… Why does BBC’s F1 coverage which is sent around to several countries around the world not include 2 knowledgeable people (eddie jordon, coulthard, brundle all used to be part of the f1 scene), and failing that there are several others (JA, Ted Kravitz etc…) who seem to have immense knowledge they can provide and great insights from a different perspective. Yet they still go with legard…

    p.s. failing all that Brundle goes solo for 2011

    Young Slinger Reply:

    keep the teams, change the commentator

    [Reply]

    Andy C Reply:

    Or maybe they will hire a commentator who doesn’t get confused between Lewis bright yellow helmet and jensons red White and blue one….

    It’s beyond laughable some of the mistakes he’s made.

    [Reply]

    Anil Reply:

    There are a few rumours going around that Legard won’t be there next season. For a start him and Brundle clearly have zero chemistry and Brundle has a lot of pulling power in that faction on the BBC. Edwards to maybe get to roll next to him?

    Infact, it was very interesting to see Brundle come alongside Crofty, Karun and Davidson during FP2 in korea, they were all flawless.

    [Reply]

    jonrob Reply:

    In the absence of James (though I believe he does commentate/pund for the Italian media. I always have the Crofty/Ant + guest, commentary online or on DAB with the tv subtitles on so that Martin’s comments can be seen, though I would dearly love to hear the team as was, on ITV, but with Ant and Crofty playing a part .
    Legard still treats it a a football match!

    [Reply]


  8.   8. Posted By: Roops
        Date: December 8th, 2010 @ 1:31 pm 

    James,
    My first comment on your wonderful website.

    Just want to ask you that: Is it really the Formula 1 racing that both the parties are interested in or the whole Commercial Interest around the brand name Lotus which they are fighting for?
    Will the true followers of the game just follow the Legendary name or the team, its driver and owners?

    [Reply]

    James Allen Reply:

    I think the fight is over the Lotus brand in an F1 context. Looks like Bahar, having rescinded the licence to use the name, is trying to make it seem that Fernandes is name-squatting. Bahar wants to use F1 as a platform to raise Lotus’ profile, Fernandes wants to use a familiar name for his new team and probably hoped that he’d be able to pick up Group Lotus down the line. It’s two men locked in combat and the one with the best Malaysian government connections wins.

    [Reply]

    Jonathan Vogt Reply:

    I suspect who wins will depend on which country’s courts this case is fought in…

    [Reply]

    David Ryan Reply:

    Both teams are based in the UK and registered in England and Wales (Renault F1 Team Ltd’s company number is 01806337; 1Malaysia Racing Team (UK) Ltd’s number is 07042086). As such, any dispute between them will be governed by English law in the High Court unless there is strong evidence that French or Malaysian law is applicable to the situation. While French and Malaysian companies are involved, as this is a matter between their UK subsidiaries I would say it’s unlikely that either will apply as shown by the fact that proceedings were issued in the High Court by Lotus Racing.

    Tim. Reply:

    “and the one with the best Malaysian government connections wins”

    Sad for Tony if that is the case

    [Reply]

    richie675 Reply:

    That’s exactly it, James.

    Both parties are exceptionally keen on the commercial angle and of course we can all understand that, especially with the super costs of current F1. I’m actually quite keen on moving forward with a new Lotus team; a new chapter in the brand and a strong new team for F1 to get behind – if this had been Bahar i’d be over the moon.

    The issue is that Tony got there first. The public are behind him now, with a full successful season behind them.

    F1 fans feel (although it may not be the entire truth) that Team Lotus is in F1 for the racing and Group Lotus have just arrived to help promote the Lotus brand. I don’t completely subscribe to that view, but wouldn’t Team Lotus be just as strong a team without the nonsense that the ‘team’ is the same as that from two decades ago?

    [Reply]

    Mimie Reply:

    next year there will be 3 team with Malaysian connection on the grid, Team Lotus vs Lotus Renault vs Mercedes-Petronas GP. I do felt its show inability of some Malaysian corporate leader to pool resources and work together on the global platform.

    [Reply]


  9.   9. Posted By: Richard
        Date: December 8th, 2010 @ 1:33 pm 

    ‘Team Lotus’ and Renault probably stand to gain the most from this. If both teams push forward with their published plans then ‘Team Lotus’, by virtue of having the heritage connection and a completed season behind them, will be identified by the public as the defacto Lotus racing team and if they can push up into the mid-field then they will bolster their popularity with fans. The Lotus Renault team are likely to be identified by the public and potentially even commentators as Renault rather than Lotus (The existing Renault livery is already black and yellow) and if the latest image is anything to go by then it will have Renault stickers all over it. The deal no doubt serves the corporate interests of Proton but I don’t think it will do much for Lotus Cars as a brand.

    [Reply]


  10.   10. Posted By: Christopher Hobbs
        Date: December 8th, 2010 @ 1:35 pm 

    James, as an F1 insider who do you think is more respected in the paddock, Tony or Danny?

    PS My Dad was a Team Lotus fan, I’m a Team Lotus fan and so is my son, we won’t be following a Proton backed Renault with Group Lotus stickers!

    [Reply]

    James Allen Reply:

    Good question. Fernandes has set up his own team and done well in year one. Bahar was involved with Red Bull and Ferrari but much more behind the scenes. I cannot answer your question in terms of a direct comparison, both have positives and negatives

    [Reply]

    Jo Torrent Reply:

    Bahar was involved with Ferrari merchandising not the racing isn’t he?

    [Reply]

    James Allen Reply:

    Yes, he was head of brand

    [Reply]


  11.   11. Posted By: Stuart Miller
        Date: December 8th, 2010 @ 1:46 pm 

    I think Group Lotus may yet realise that F1 support isn’t purely about Branding. I hope that Tony Fernandes’ “Team Lotus” stick it out and continue their good work and garner even more support as a result of this attempt at stealing its identity from under its nose.

    F1 loyalty and support isn’t JUST about sticking a gold label on something and calling it gold!

    [Reply]

    Andy C Reply:

    Indeed. The only thing missing from this argument is the “my dad is tougher than your dad playground stuff”.

    [Reply]


  12.   12. Posted By: Banjo
        Date: December 8th, 2010 @ 1:49 pm 

    The season may be over but the politics never is. God I love F1.

    [Reply]


  13.   13. Posted By: Jeremy
        Date: December 8th, 2010 @ 1:58 pm 

    I suppose it would be no more confusing than having the 2 Red Bull teams on the grid. It can be hard to tell the Toro Rosso and the Red Bull cars apart.

    I like the black livery but again like the Ferrari it has notions of subliminal tobacco advertising that I think we should be careful of.

    [Reply]

    jonrob Reply:

    You have to remember that only Ferrari are allowed tobacco advertising.

    [Reply]

    Christopher Hobbs Reply:

    But haven’t the FIA now stopped Ferrari from using the “Marlboro” barcode? and I can’t see them stomaching Black & Gold on either Team Lotus or Proton Renault GP!

    [Reply]

    jonrob Reply:

    True that the barcode was removed from the rear wings for most but not all races, but it has remained on all the team clothing on the chest/shoulder area.


  14.   14. Posted By: Paul
        Date: December 8th, 2010 @ 2:01 pm 

    Really hope Fernandes sticks to his guns. If ‘Group Lotus’ are so keen to be ‘the’ Lotus then they should change the chassis name and accept the financial penalty that comes as a result.

    As it is, I for one have every intention of referring to ‘Lotus Renault GP’ simply as ‘Proton’ for as long as they continue this deeply disrespectful course of action.

    [Reply]


  15.   15. Posted By: gpl_rulez
        Date: December 8th, 2010 @ 2:03 pm 

    JPS is an existing tobacco brand and by looking at this livery everyone associate to JPS, so I think this should be banned as was the case with Marlboro barcodes on Ferrari.

    [Reply]


  16.   16. Posted By: jim charlesworth
        Date: December 8th, 2010 @ 2:03 pm 

    this obviously isn’t yet the end of the whole thing; some sort of further news in connection with the fernandes team must come out over the next few days. At the end of the day, the only Lotus company still in existence is the car company; the Team Lotus race team hasnt existed in any practical sense for years, so even though i support the fernandes operation in one way, from a business point of view the Lotus Group buying a proven squad and shortcutting into the top 5 makes total sense. It does seem like there is a massive game of roulette being played here by Dany Bahar, but i suspect he will get away with it in the short term

    [Reply]


  17.   17. Posted By: Le Gazman
        Date: December 8th, 2010 @ 2:05 pm 

    This is turning into a farce. These two parties need to get this sorted out. I suspect the easy thing to do would be for Lotus Renault to pay Fernandes an awful lot of money for the Team Lotus name. That will significantly de-value his own team though, unless he has another party lined up to help bolster his team’s brand.

    [Reply]


  18.   18. Posted By: Rob Jackson
        Date: December 8th, 2010 @ 2:07 pm 

    Personally, I think this is on the level of a playground spat between two teams who should have more respect for F1. It does nothing constructive for the sport. As a lifelong and loyal fan of F1 I am embarrassed by this, just like I was after Ferrari’s behaviour in Germany.

    [Reply]


  19.   19. Posted By: Ben N
        Date: December 8th, 2010 @ 2:08 pm 

    Ignroing the entire situation… I think that’s a rather attractive livery!

    [Reply]


  20.   20. Posted By: Frenchie
        Date: December 8th, 2010 @ 2:10 pm 

    It’s very sad to see a Renault F1 Team on the up bow out of the sport as a constructor.

    I became a supporter of the team back in 03 when a young Fernando Alonso won the Hungarian GP (and lapped Schumacher). My support for the team grew in 05 and 06 with the championship wins. It also had strong character with The Flav and Pat Symonds at the helm of the team.

    It definitely felt like a different team this year with Genii Capital on board.

    Fernandes also gets my sympathy vote for turning around a disaster of an idea (i.e. a Malaysian Team Lotus) into a respectable effort.

    Needless to say I am very disappointed by the move.

    PS: James, your book arrived today in Sydney. Can’t wait to read it.

    [Reply]

    James Allen Reply:

    Cool! The Christmas post is working then.

    [Reply]


  21.   21. Posted By: Graeme Brown
        Date: December 8th, 2010 @ 2:24 pm 

    What a ridiculous situation to arise, Bernie must be furious. Tony Fernandes’ choice of branding his team Lotus rather than Air Asia always seemed strange, spending all that money to promote a brand he doesn’t own. Tony’s a clever businessman, so I always assumed that the intention was to draw Group Lotus into either sponsoring the team or buying a share, and maybe that was the intention until Renault came on the market and Group Lotus saw the potential to acquire a proven established team.

    In reality you can’t have two Lotus Renault teams in the same colours so something will be done. Instead of playing this out in public, which harms both teams and F1 as a whole, they should sort it out quickly and quietly in private.

    [Reply]

    jonrob Reply:

    He most definitely does own it, he bought it from David Hunt.

    [Reply]

    Graeme Brown Reply:

    That’s just a technicality and, as both companies seem to have a legal right to use the word Lotus, irrelevant. The average casual fan will neither understand nor care about the difference between Team Lotus and Group Lotus if both are racing in F1. It could be argued that Group Lotus are more rightful heirs to the heritage as they have continued the production of Lotus cars, whereas Tony Fernandes merely used the name to brand his new team for reason which are not entirely clear. I don’t actually mind who has the name, I think it’s more important that F1 doesn’t become a laughing stock over this.

    I’m pretty sure that neither Group Lotus nor Tune Group give a monkeys about the Lotus racing heritage other than for it’s marketing value.

    [Reply]

    Rob Reply:

    UK courts have already ruled on the use of Lotus in F1 previously – if this is argued out in the UK courts then I’m confident Fernandes would win: Team Lotus trumps Lotus Group.

    However, all that is irrelevant if it is settled out of court in Malaysia.

    David Ryan Reply:

    Saying that it is “just a technicality” is a bit misleading – the law thrives on technicalities. The issue of whether David Hunt had ownership of the Lotus name for the purposes of Formula One (which the IPO decision in 2003 appeared to suggest was the case) is going to be pretty fundamental as to what the Enstone-based team can and cannot do next season. If such a right is upheld, they could quite easily apply for an injunction against the use of the name and claim heavy damages. If the opposite is found then the reverse would also be true. So there is a lot riding on this “technicality”.

    Agree with you that it’s important it gets sorted soon though, before it does damage the sport. Formula One is bigger than any one team or manufacturer, however historic or the amount of political muscle behind it.


  22.   22. Posted By: Werner
        Date: December 8th, 2010 @ 2:26 pm 

    Good news for the brand LOTUS. Fernandes and Gascoyne have prostitue the name for one year. They celebrated “their 500 races” in Formula one which was a disgrace.
    Dany Bahar knows what he is doing. Lotus will produce NICE SUPERCARS again and with Renault they will be up the field. Being the best of the rest isn’t good enough for a brand as Lotus. Fernandes should call his team Asia F1, Fernandes F1 racing or whatever but NOT Lotus. I am a Ferrari fan but always loved Lotus cars (especially the GPS ones). When I was a chield I was a fan of Ferrari but also from Andretti and so…

    [Reply]

    Andy C Reply:

    Read the history of team and group. Colin chapman split them very early. As a protection against claims (I believe) against the cars division for racing accidents.

    [Reply]

    jonrob Reply:

    “Dany Bahar knows what he is doing. Lotus will produce NICE SUPERCARS again”
    Bhaha and his ego are very likely to bankrupt Lotus cars AGAIN. His 5 new models will stretch Hethel’s resources. I doubt he will reach a break even sales volume even if they are able to maker then quick enough. The owner, Proton, is very short of cash and is thinking of a merger with the other Malaysian manufacturer.

    [Reply]

    Alexx Reply:

    I agree Werner, TF celebrated 500 gp’s in his teams first year???

    And why did he not immediately change his brand, instead of giving the Renault-Lotus brand more free publicity and his money!

    He would then really have earned respect imo, and all the fans know the team culture would be kept the same, regardless of the stickers on the cars.

    [Reply]

    MAS Reply:

    Werner,

    Please don’t buy into Bahar’s PR mumbo-jumbo and keep the following facts in mind when looking at this situation:

    A. Lotus Cars has never competed in F1. They just didn’t. Chapman himself was just about the only link between the two companies. Lotus Cars and Team Lotus were always separate entities. David Hunt, Peter Warr and the Chapmans are (or, in Peter’s case, were) all that remained of the real Team Lotus and Tony has their blessing.

    B. Lotus Cars was always a manufacturer of light sports-cars. The only car they made that can be called a super-car was the Esprit and, fantastic though it was, that was pretty underpowered compared to supercars of its time. Now I quite like some of the newly announced models but they have absolutely nothing to do with Chapman or traditional Lotus’. A 1500 kg mid-engined Elan? Please…

    With that in mind, you have to admit that Fernandes’ connection with Team Lotus past is at least as good (or bad) as Proton/Bahar’s.

    Plus Tony has been by far the most respectful towards the history of the Team, of Chapman and of Lotus as a whole. He’s also actively sought approval from the PEOPLE behind the old team.

    Bahar, on the other hand, has been misrepresenting the history of the Team, stating that he has all the rights to Team Lotus while there was never more than a sponsor-contract between ‘Cars’ and ‘Team’. In doing so he’s denied the commitment of the people who worked for Team Lotus for years. He also clearly holds the current Lotus Cars in contempt (just watch the unveiling of the new models: he’s acting as if Lotus hasn’t made a good car in thirty years). Bahar is the one damaging the Lotus brand, not Fernandes.

    Finally, if Joe Saward is to be believed, car-industry insiders widely expect the new Lotus Cars revamp to fail. It’s too ambitious for a small, loss-making company, owned by a company that’s also in trouble. This make the expensive Renault tie-up an unwise use of resources when your brand is already represented in F1. Not only that, but if Proton and Lotus fail expectations, the Malaysian government might well sell out to Fernandes – exactly like they did with Air Asia.

    [Reply]

    unoc Reply:

    IT will probably fail because of the market. Supercars needs people willing to splash money.

    Not only that, but to get to Lotus’ new range you need people to say

    No, I don’t want an iconic ferrari
    No, I don’t want an Oh My goodness get to me now Lamborghini
    No, I don’t want a Maserati
    No, I don’t want a Noble/Gumpert/performance beast
    No, I don’t want a Spyker
    No, I don’t want an Aston Martin
    No, I don’t want a Mercedes SLS
    No, I don’t want a McLaren
    No, I don’t want a McLaren-Mercedes
    etc…

    Lotus did small light weight track cars. That is what they do best, to get to that all you need to do is compare it to other small lightweights, and they tend to be lacking roofs and so Lotus is a go.

    [Reply]

    MAS Reply:

    I don’t think the market will be too much of a problem, the rich are getting richer after all and they only need to shift a few thousand cars. The brand is also quite strong and the new cars seem desirable enough, though in terms of quality, competition is indeed fierce.

    The main issue seems to be that developing five new cars and at least two new engines in 2-3 years is an immense task for any company, let alone a small one that is making a loss.

    And if it doesn’t go absolutely perfectly it will end up costing the Malaysian taxpayer money, especially when Proton is not doing too well either. That is also where Joe Saward’s Fernandes-takeover scenario comes in.

    That said, there are a lot of talented people at Hethel. Lotus Engineering does set-up-work for a lot of big-name manufacturers (including some on your list). In an age of lightweight, efficient cars there OUGHT to be a bright future for a company like Lotus. I hope Bahar’s massive luxury-program doesn’t muck that up.

    unoc Reply:

    Yeah. That is my point. In an age where things are already moving towards light cars (see the Lamborghini elemento) why are Lotus suddenly going for heavier designs. Surely more work with Tesla (who put some AA’s in the elise before) would provide much greater dividends. People want a cleaner future and so small engined light cars, a few with hibrids and some with Tesla as battery sports cars could really stick them ahead given everyone else still needs to develop small lightweight cars let alone how to propell them.

    The brand isn’t that strong though. If don’t knows quite a bit about F1, or don’t have an interest in certain cars you wont know about Lotus.

    I can go up to anyone on the street and and ask them what a Maserati is, or show them an Aston Martin DB9 or show them the Ferrari logo and they would know exactly what they are.

    People who have cash and want a fast car but aren’t that interested in cars themsleves (i.e. the great proportion of people with cash to splash) go for a Ferrari because of the ‘it’s a ferrari’ icon image, or a lamborghini because it just says ‘wow’ or the lounge suit maserati or the british james bond aston martin. You may not agree with these from your point of view. But most people want a car because of the image of it. And most people don’t know what a Lotus looks like or its image or that there is a car company in england owned by the malaysians called Lotus.

    IN an age where things are being made lighter and more efficient, Lotus have a head start, so what do they do?
    Stick themselves into motorsport (not green of them), get into fights with long time fans (losing customer base) and making cars people don’t want (new 5) for people who don’t exist (those who want cars from an unknown company that are ‘old fashioned’)

    More branding in battery terms. Put themselves in greener opportunities. An Audi with a desiel engine won because of lower stops, a hybrid porsche has done well too. A hard battery or hybrid racer, very light, small power pack would do well and even if they don’t win, they can put it out there as themselves making a brighter future with lower emissions, low engines, fast cars that are already beating atleast some of the giants.

    Many people buy cars because of image and putting the image of a Lotus being a green car wouldn’t be the hardest thing, a fresh slate given no one knows much combined with green marketing would give more reasons why people would want the image of a clean green fast car in there garage rather than a petrol guzzler than an Aston Martin or a Ferrari.


  23.   23. Posted By: Werner
        Date: December 8th, 2010 @ 2:28 pm 

    Sorry for the linguistic mistakes !

    [Reply]


  24.   24. Posted By: Cameron Isles
        Date: December 8th, 2010 @ 2:31 pm 

    I have decreed the following:

    1. The new impostor Lotus is not allowed in F1.

    2. Renault may change their name, but only back to Benetton.

    3. The black and gold John Player livery may be used, but only with the Surgeon General’s health warning “Danger: Smoking Causes Cancer” prominently displayed on both side-pods.

    4. Jonathan Leggard is to be replaced as lead BBC commentator because he has zero chemistry with Martin Brundle, whom we all like. He just wasn’t the guy.

    [Reply]


  25.   25. Posted By: Luke
        Date: December 8th, 2010 @ 2:32 pm 

    Group Lotus are not doing a particularly good job of endearing themselves to the masses. We already knew they were trying to muscle Fernandes out of the Lotus name, but the black and gold livery?

    That’s just out of spite.

    I hope they get taken to the cleaners when we finally have a high court showdown. And I really really hope this move backfires horribly and everyone still just calls them Renault.

    [Reply]

    Christopher Hobbs Reply:

    Damn right!

    [Reply]

    Alexx Reply:

    Maybe the fans in Malaysia and the East are in favour of the new Renault-Lotus,

    the Malaysian government seems to be!

    [Reply]

    Chris Chong Reply:

    No we’re not. In fact, most of us Malaysians would rather have the government spend money on initiatives and infrastructure that would benefit the public instead of blowing it on THREE F1 teams (including Petronas-sponsored Mercedes).

    Our government is behaving like a rich Middle Eastern country with its embarrassing spending habits and a mistaken belief that our supply of crude oil will never run out.

    [Reply]

    Ohm Reply:

    I’m from Thailand and I’m not! :)

    [Reply]

    Mick Chan Reply:

    Chris Chong seconded. On top of that, Group Lotus’ (how about we just call them Proton?) strong-arming of the outfit that has the blessing of the Chapman family just makes me hope the latter mops the floor with the former on track.

    It would be nice if the David v. Goliath theme carried right through to the end of the 2011 season, wouldn’t it?

    [Reply]


  26.   26. Posted By: Alchemy
        Date: December 8th, 2010 @ 2:34 pm 

    Its definitely confusing. It will be interesting to see if this gets accepted by FOM and the FIA given the impending court case. Still, Tony could always enter as ‘Tunes Racing GP’ but I suspect he’s holding out for a high court payment next year.

    [Reply]


  27.   27. Posted By: azac21
        Date: December 8th, 2010 @ 2:36 pm 

    They could use the Red Bull/Torro Rosso naming scheme? i.e. One team called “Lotus” and the other “Golden Apple” :)

    [Reply]


  28.   28. Posted By: the Blue Orange Lion
        Date: December 8th, 2010 @ 2:43 pm 

    Having had the privilege of getting to know the elements of the Enstone-based Lotus – formerly Renault F1 Team – and being denied any contacts with Lotus Racing in 2010, I’ll go with the Lotus Renault GP and not Tony. I think Mike Gascoyne shouldn’t make loud noises about “bad” guys from Group Lotus and Genii as he left the team for Toyota’s big bucks.

    Fernandes is indeed a populist. He should take it easy or he’ll end up as Paul Stoddart and Team Lotus will become “Merah Banteng” (Red Bull in Malay, at least that’s what google translation tools gave me).

    I personally see it functioning in the same way as Mercedes GP vs. McLaren Mercedes. Nobody complained about that one. Current situation is nothing than a storm in a teacup.

    [Reply]


  29.   29. Posted By: Phil Bishop
        Date: December 8th, 2010 @ 2:58 pm 

    what a mess. It will be totally confusing. I can only imagine that it will be cleared up soon enough and one of them will have to give ground.

    [Reply]

    Phil Bishop Reply:

    like the livery though

    [Reply]


  30.   30. Posted By: Baktru
        Date: December 8th, 2010 @ 3:00 pm 

    They should all just run red cars and get it over with…

    This whole Lotus saga is a bad joke gone errm.. bad. It was bad enough having 4 cars look alike with RB and Toro Rosso, now there will be these as well.

    [Reply]


  31.   31. Posted By: pdac
        Date: December 8th, 2010 @ 3:01 pm 

    I too grew to like the team that raced as Lotus last year. Sadly, I think whatever happens in court (and that’s where the outcome will be decided), Team Lotus (as they are now) will not be using the Lotus name next year.

    Why do I say that? Because Group Lotus have money. If they win the legal battle then Team Lotus will lose the name (but might continue with the black/gold livery).

    If Team Lotus win in court, though, Group Lotus will just offer Team Lotus enough money to persuade them to give up the Lotus name and, I would guess, the black/gold livery too.

    When it comes down to it, money makes things happen in F1

    [Reply]


  32.   32. Posted By: Richard Bell
        Date: December 8th, 2010 @ 3:04 pm 

    I thought Tony Fernandes was using the Lotus name just to get a place on the grid, but I changed my mind when I saw how enthusiastic he is on F1 and Lotus.

    Still, I don’t think he should’ve used the name from the start, although they have plenty of supporters, many were unhappy with it too and it was bound to cause friction at some point.

    Please Mr Fernandes think of a new name, I’m sure you’ll retain your fan base. Just in case you’re thinking about it, don’t use Tyrrell either.

    [Reply]


  33.   33. Posted By: MorrisOx
        Date: December 8th, 2010 @ 3:05 pm 

    What a dog’s breakfast…an Anglo-French team which is part-owned by one car company, sponsored by another which is itself owned by a third. And all of it underpinned by a logic based on a vague ‘collaboration’ involving a financial jigsaw giving one of the car companies access to, er, car technology?
    As far as I can see the only certainty in this mish-mash of marketing cobblers is a clash of egos.

    [Reply]

    Tombob Reply:

    Well said. Maybe the team will have multi nationalities and we’ll have the first “anthem mix” on the podium.

    [Reply]


  34.   34. Posted By: Declan
        Date: December 8th, 2010 @ 3:12 pm 

    What a PR disaster. Wasn’t it Briatore who said that manufacturers were in F1 for the marketing not engineering? How then does these latest developments help Group Lotus – spending money for the opposite effect?

    I was actually looking into buying a Lotus Elise. This public spat is ruining the brand (regardless of Team or Group) and as a potential buyer, in my mind Lotus is now synonymous with a list of adjectives that I don’t want to be associated with.

    Out of interest – if Kubica wins a race, which anthem will be played for the manufacturer? Is it going to reinforce the Lotus brand or reaffirm that it is no longer associated with its historical pedigree?

    [Reply]

    Declan Reply:

    Come to think of it – I don’t recall Tony Fernandes ever disclosing which anthem would play if Lotus was on the top step (probably not an appropriate question to ask considering they were 5 seconds adrift per lap).

    [Reply]

    James Allen Reply:

    Malaysian. It’s a Malaysian licence the team races under just as Red Bull is Austrian

    [Reply]

    Mike Dimmick Reply:

    La Marseillaise. Renault’s entry is under a French licence and that won’t change either, unless they get agreement from all the teams. (It might not change even if they do get agreement to change the team name.)

    The countries are given in the FIA’s Entry List:

    http://www.fia.com/en-GB/mediacentre/pressreleases/f1releases/2010/Pages/f1_2011_entry.aspx

    Nothing really notable there except that Virgin Racing remain under a British entry, rather than a Russian one.

    [Reply]


  35.   35. Posted By: nsm09
        Date: December 8th, 2010 @ 3:12 pm 

    Why can’t the other just name them-self rose or lily or something. Will avoid a lot of confusion…

    [Reply]


  36.   36. Posted By: d.h.
        Date: December 8th, 2010 @ 3:16 pm 

    Clear as mud. I liked the idea of having the old jps livery design back, but this is just a case of sour grapes and authority exertion.

    [Reply]


  37.   37. Posted By: Christopher Snowdon
        Date: December 8th, 2010 @ 3:24 pm 

    Well done Fernandes and Gasgoyne, you’ve wound up Lotus to the point where they have taken spiteful step’s to try and prove a point (we’re bigger than you), and spent millions of pounds to boot. Talk about a car company throwing their toys out of the pram (or should I say sports cars). The move smacks of playground tactics and is quite frankly embarrassing on Lotus’s part.

    Should be happy because I like Kubica, and this is a good for him, but it leaves a bad taste in the mouth for us F1 traditionalists, and they are dragging one of the finest names and iconic race colours through the mud just to prove a point, where’s the honour gone?

    [Reply]


  38.   38. Posted By: Ross
        Date: December 8th, 2010 @ 3:28 pm 

    All we need now is Martin Brundle and Mark Blundell to come out of retirement and each to race for both Lotus’s to confuse matters even more!

    [Reply]

    Galapago555 Reply:

    Maybe we could add Ralf Schumacher and get his brother Michael, and so we could have R Shumacher and M Brudle, with Lotus, and M Schumacher and M Blundell, with Lotus…

    [Reply]

    Grant Reply:

    Now this idea has legs.

    Team Lotus with Michael Schumacher and Nelson Piquet Jnr. Third driver being Mark Blundell.

    Group Lotus with Ralf Schumacher and Nelson Piquet senior. Third driver would be Martin Brundle.

    J Leggard comentating on BBC with Murray Walker.

    What a hoot this would be!

    [Reply]

    Grant Reply:

    Oh, and another thought. What if IBM entered the sport with their Lotus Software name on two cars?

    Zobra Wambleska Reply:

    Sounds like something from comedy central. Great fun, but racing? That mixture could make Michael look especially good.

    [Reply]

    F430-FOX Reply:

    Did you mean Mark Brundle and Martin Blundell?
    Or Martin Blundle and Mark Brundell? ;-)

    [Reply]

    jonrob Reply:

    Having worked for a Japanese company myself, I have always been convinced that Honda (it was Honda wasn’t it?) thought that they had employed only one driver, since the two names are almost identical when pronounced Japanese style and no corporate manager would dare admit such a mistake. Much hilarious confusion.

    [Reply]


  39.   39. Posted By: Bec
        Date: December 8th, 2010 @ 3:30 pm 

    Lots
    Of
    Trouble
    Usually
    Serious

    http://www.saveteamlotus.com/

    [Reply]


  40.   40. Posted By: Adam Taylor
        Date: December 8th, 2010 @ 3:33 pm 

    Im confused as to how one brand can have two different entities and two completely different mentalities towards racing. I can understand Red Bull having two teams, senior and junior but they work together (mainly driver development), Lotus on the other hand do not and are run separately.

    James, how will this go down with the FIA, and potentially the F1 followers, surely there is some sort of brand confusion?

    [Reply]


  41.   41. Posted By: Alex J
        Date: December 8th, 2010 @ 3:37 pm 

    I’m a big F1 fan, and pride myself on being fairly knowledgeable, but like many others I’m now confused. I thought the team that Kovvy and Trulli drove for did a very solid job last year, and they look promising. I can’t understand why ‘Lotus’ don’t want to get in on that and confuse the fans??

    [Reply]


  42.   42. Posted By: Matt W
        Date: December 8th, 2010 @ 3:37 pm 

    Good move by Proton not to take the Lotus history. That was the one move I really didn’t like from Fernandes and celebrating 500 GPs was an absolute joke.

    Sad to see Renault depart as owners. As the best team in the middle of the noughties it has been quite a fall from grace. All those involved in crashgate should be thoroughly ashamed as I feel that was the main reason behind Renault selling up.

    Funny how Renault have come full circle though and have ended up where they were before pulling out of F1 in 97. Hope to see them keep up their involvement over the next decade.

    [Reply]


  43.   43. Posted By: Jonathan
        Date: December 8th, 2010 @ 3:38 pm 

    Well at least the cars themselves will still have different names, in 2011 anyway. Hopefully the commentators will have the sense to call the Group Lotus “Renault” and the Team Lotus “Lotus” so to avoid the confusion.

    Isn’t there anything in the multitude of rules and regulations that FIA can call upon to prevent two teams from looking identical..? Although I guess Red Bull and Toro Rosso are quite similar!

    [Reply]


  44.   44. Posted By: tommy boy
        Date: December 8th, 2010 @ 3:49 pm 

    Is the decision to run Black and Gold livery a political decision by Proton to try and muscle Fernandes into backing down?

    I thought Proton would run a Yellow/Green colour as it is their crest scheme and they can’t claim any history with the Player black/gold.

    Will their be resolution or will there be 2 barely distinguishable cars. Really hope the 2011 Team Lotus is a stunner.

    [Reply]

    James Allen Reply:

    Renault say they thought of it first. Fernandes says Renault nicked the idea.

    [Reply]

    MAS Reply:

    Lotus Cars has been a bit cheeky on that front before. They started using the green and yellow for their Indy- and sports-car racing after the F1 car had been revealed by Lotus Racing.

    Likewise, they offered an “F1-inspired” private track-car (the T125) that bore more than a passing resemblance to the T127 and also made it available in the green and yellow.

    All of that might have been arranged before Bahar arrived though, when there might have been a bit more of a spirit of cooperation. Besides, yellow/gold on black is a logical transition from Renault black on yellow.

    [Reply]

    Alexx Reply:

    TF was going on about the green/yellow colours and heritage,

    and like a flip of a coin it was black/gold, announced via twitter!

    [Reply]


  45.   45. Posted By: theRoswellite
        Date: December 8th, 2010 @ 3:53 pm 

    …I guess F1 is about competition, at the track, on the drawing boards and boardrooms, so why not keep that tradition going….in the courts.

    Lawyer-up boys!

    [Reply]


  46.   46. Posted By: PaulL
        Date: December 8th, 2010 @ 4:00 pm 

    Great news I think. The Lotus name is better represented via the parent group and on board with Renault rather than Tony Fernandez’s & Gascoyne’s dishonest charade.

    [Reply]


  47.   47. Posted By: jonas
        Date: December 8th, 2010 @ 4:13 pm 

    This is all a bit sad really. The black and gold livery – knowing that Fernandes team have been planning this for next year – is quite a cynical, childish step to take.

    I’d love to see this end in favour of Fernandes … but it doesnt look good.

    [Reply]


  48.   48. Posted By: Chris Chong
        Date: December 8th, 2010 @ 4:18 pm 

    Just wondering – if neither of team backs down, can they actually line up on the grid with similar names and livery? Is there any rule that prohibits this?

    [Reply]

    David Ryan Reply:

    Given that Team Lotus have (a) registered that name with the FIA and (b) already announced their intention to use a black-and-gold livery, I would say that Lotus-Renault are in serious danger of opening themselves up to claims of “passing off”. Merely claiming “we thought of it first” does not tend to suffice in that regard, and this to me seems a dangerous approach to take given the pending action regarding the Lotus name in the first place. It will also be interesting to see whether Enstone will be willing to sacrifice its share of the TV money if it doesn’t get the unanimous approval for the change of name required by FOM (which looks incredibly unlikely at the moment).

    The longer this drags on, the more it seems like an attempt by Group Lotus to bully Team Lotus out of F1, and potentially motor racing altogether. That is something I do not and will not admire, and I hope Team Lotus prevails in this dispute.

    [Reply]

    David Ryan Reply:

    Sorry – meant to post that as a separate comment. To answer your question, I believe there may well be a rule preventing teams with similar names and liveries entering. Will have a look through the regulations and see what I can turn up.

    [Reply]


  49.   49. Posted By: Darren
        Date: December 8th, 2010 @ 4:23 pm 

    To me there has obviously been some serious behind the scenes falling out between Fernandes and Group Lotus.

    Surely the sensible thing for both would have been for Group Lotus to buy a stake in the Fernandes team. That way they have the heritage of the old Team Lotus and they are also partly owned by Lotus.

    I am speculating but I think that Group Lotus have realised that going F1 racing is a good idea and want to derail the “Team Lotus” so Fernandes bails out, Group Lotus will then buy the rights to “Team Lotus” and race as that with no Fernandes…. Thoughts?

    This would be a great shame, as people have already pointed out “Lotus Racing” established a good fan base this year this is partly due to having been very respectful of the heritige of Lotus in F1, which was a concern of a lot of older fans who remember the Lotus glory days.

    The whole thing is a shambles, I hope it gets sorted out before the start of the season.

    [Reply]


  50.   50. Posted By: Rishi
        Date: December 8th, 2010 @ 4:25 pm 

    I’m a bit bemused by this association of black and gold with Lotus. Yes, its true in some sense, but Lotus is not black and gold in the way Ferrari is red. They were only in black and gold because of their sponsorship with John Player’s Special (JPS). It’s also worth noting they only won two driver’s titles in these colours, though admittedly their black-and-gold days do coincide with the boom of the sport in the 1980s and the time when Ayrton Senna and Nigel Mansell drove for them.

    Putting aside the wranglings over nomenclature, this implicit one-upmanship on the livery front from the new Lotus Renault GP is therefore baffling.

    [Reply]

    Rob Reply:

    Switching from yellow and black to black and yellow was a logical move has not only does it reflect the Lotus heritage they claim they’re not claiming but also Renault’s.

    I also have no doubts that Fernandes guessed this would be the case and so pulled the rug from under Proton.

    Fernandes’ proposed livery looks a LOT better though.

    [Reply]


  51.   51. Posted By: Tyler
        Date: December 8th, 2010 @ 4:28 pm 

    Just what F1 needs…more confusion. Fernandes seems like a good guy, hate to see him come out on the losing end.

    [Reply]


  52.   52. Posted By: kowalsky
        Date: December 8th, 2010 @ 4:29 pm 

    fiasco agian in f1. And bernie loving avery second. Even with a black eye.

    [Reply]


  53.   53. Posted By: Bec
        Date: December 8th, 2010 @ 4:42 pm 

    http://www.electroduo.com/LotusT128AS/

    The Team Lotus car.

    Better than the Proton/Renault

    [Reply]

    Christopher Hobbs Reply:

    Top stuff! everyone should check out your link!

    [Reply]

    Bec Reply:

    I see they have ;)

    [Reply]

    theothercoldone Reply:

    Now that is a beautiful car! Somehow (regardless of the livery) more flowing lines than this year, and more sculpted than simply drawn with an expensive computer.

    [Reply]


  54.   54. Posted By: Andy C
        Date: December 8th, 2010 @ 4:44 pm 

    Is anybody else sick of hearing about lotus (both of them ;-) now?

    Two teams, same name, same colour scheme.

    It is funny I keep reading about how loss of face and reputation is important for Malaysia (and malaysians) but here we have a Malaysian manufacturer and a Malaysian owned f1 team dragging out an issue and making a mockery of lotus on a world stage.

    Aaaaarrrrgggghhhhh..

    [Reply]


  55.   55. Posted By: Rafael
        Date: December 8th, 2010 @ 4:49 pm 

    Okay, so the 2nd “Lotus Renault” fully acknowledges that both the chassis and engine will still be recognized as “Renault” designed. Plus, they will not associate themselves with Colin Chapman’s original Team Lotus…. Er, someone enlighten me then please: where does the “Lotus” name fit in in all of that again; given they will neither claim the car to be a “Lotus” nor will they associate themselves with the original outfit???

    Although I have grown to admire and support Tony Fernandes’s efforts on reviving “Team Lotus”, even I’m still having a really tough time acknowledging them as a direct descendant of Colin Chapman’s famous team. I mean, they just popped out of nowhere too and there has been no trace of continuity from the original Lotus in them (in terms of personnel or figure) aside from the name, of course.

    [Reply]

    tom Reply:

    i totally agree, it’s like Michael Jackson owning the rights to the Beatles songs, it didn’t make him a Beatle.

    as far as i’m concerned Lotus F1 should remain an awesome peice of racing history. neither the brand nor CCs hallowed name should be dragged through the mud like this.

    buying a badge may make you a supported but it doesn’t entitle you to anything.

    [Reply]

    MAS Reply:

    The Lotus name really only fits in as an expensive branding-exercise, nothing more. Rather a lot like Marussia’s involvement, come to think of it. Lotus Cars themselves are busily exploiting Team Lotus’ history though, so perhaps they’ll start doing that later. When the legal smoke has cleared. The Endstone team will like it this way though. They have a perfectly respectable history of their own.

    I’m not generally in favour of brand-necromancy but Fernandes has at least sought out the Chapmans and the PEOPLE behind the old Team. They all support him and he bought the rights from the last real team-owner. And they’re in Norfolk. And he has Chapman’s cap! It’s a bit more than just a name, really. Not much more but it’s enough for me.

    [Reply]


  56.   56. Posted By: Uzair
        Date: December 8th, 2010 @ 5:14 pm 

    This is seriously becoming a joke. This needs to be sorted out ASAP. I really don’t want to answer any more questions of my fellow not-so-enthusiastic-confused fan of F1. It ruins the race weekend.
    Both parties have to decide as you James also point out about sponsorships. Is this helping the Lotus brand?

    [Reply]


  57.   57. Posted By: Neville
        Date: December 8th, 2010 @ 6:06 pm 

    Interesting… Nobody is mentioning the drivers situation. Kubica is probably free to go. But where ? The second driver. Is Petrov still front-runner ? I guess, he is not. What is your wisdom James ?

    [Reply]

    James Allen Reply:

    Kubica is confirmed and will stay – unless Ferrari dump Massa and offer Lotus Renault a big cheque, which seems unlikely at the moment. Kubica’s contract is with Renault corporate, which is now no longer involved in the team, so there must have been some new paperwork there. Group Lotus boss Danny Bahar has said today that his preferred choice to partner Kubica is Petrov

    [Reply]


  58.   58. Posted By: michael grievson
        Date: December 8th, 2010 @ 6:10 pm 

    I’m confused by this whole thing. I think I’ll hibernate until it’s all over :o )

    [Reply]


  59.   59. Posted By: CHRISK5
        Date: December 8th, 2010 @ 6:14 pm 

    Lotus Renault have gone Back To The Future.

    Simple.

    [Reply]


  60.   60. Posted By: Nitrobox
        Date: December 8th, 2010 @ 6:18 pm 

    i don’t know what to think… A car company should have rights to use its brand if they want to get into F1. It’s a law case and i am not good at it. Can i enter to F1 as Team Honda F1 for example not asking Honda if i can use the name, because my surname is Honda? Team Lotus was someway associated with Lotus cars manufacturer in the past, it had Lotus logo as same as Lotus Cars. Does Fernades own suddenly rights to Lotus logo too?I am confused..maybe it’s like Joe Saw ard wrote “[..]He may reason that he has nothing to lose: either Proton will pay his price and give him the money to launch a new brand in F1; or he could be playing a longer game in which he will wait for the collapse of Group Lotus, the disappearance of Bahar – and probably Zainal as well – and then swoop in and save the day, using the F1 team to relaunch Lotus under his control, probably buying the whole Proton group from the government, which would be a repeat of what he did with AirAsia[..]“

    [Reply]


  61.   61. Posted By: Bones
        Date: December 8th, 2010 @ 6:21 pm 

    I read an article months ago from Walker about this and he is 100% right,nobody who saw the real Lotus team will ever link these jokes to it(when he wrote it there was just one new Lotus team).He also said why not to take the Force India example because the name hits every single spot,I can not believe this is happening, only one man can solve it and we all know who he is, thankfully we all know that motorsports runs in his blood.

    [Reply]


  62.   62. Posted By: Lilla My
        Date: December 8th, 2010 @ 6:25 pm 

    So will we have two teams with “Lotus” in their names next year? I know that the new Lotus had problems with it, but I didn’t follow it closely enough – was that case somehow solved by the court or not yet? So will there be Lotus Renault GP and Lotus Racing or just Lotus Renault GP while the other one gets a different name?

    Funnily enough – there was no Lotus for sometime in F1 and now we suddenly have quite an abundance of it :) .

    [Reply]


  63.   63. Posted By: Vinod R
        Date: December 8th, 2010 @ 6:28 pm 

    Wow. Is this a case of ego? Or is there a huge difference commercially (for instance, ease of attracting sponsors) of using a well known name such as Team Lotus? Why would Tony Fernandes be so adamant about using the “Lotus” name. Isn’t it free advertisement for Proton’s road cars. Why not call it something else “Air Asia Racing”?

    [Reply]


  64.   64. Posted By: jonrob
        Date: December 8th, 2010 @ 6:51 pm 

    A lot of comments on here by people who have not bothered to read the history or listen to the facts.
    Tony announced his intent to use the JPS black/gold colours weeks ago, there has been a competition on the Lotus Racing website to design the livery, so it is not a surprise that Baha should try and steal his thunder.
    Baha’s ego may well be the end of Group Lotus, they have been bankrupt or on the edge of it several times in my working life. His cavalier use of it’s resources and shedding of irreplaceable engineering and design knowledge from Lotus Cars and ~Lotus Engineering leaves it weaker and in a very vulnerable state.

    When he could have had Tony advertising Lotus Cars virtually for free, and had the parent company Proton as the Renault sponsor. Proton desperately need an international image and a boost to flagging sales. (Their home position gets worse when import restrictions on competing cars are removed soon) The only question in my mind is with Baha in charge how long will Lotus cars last?
    I am aware in the back of my mind that James has said way back months go that Tony will have to change the team name, he has inside info, but I have read up as much as I can and as far as I can see Tony has a watertight case, David Hunt may be suing Group Lotus separately in any case.
    Should Malaysian government pressure from an (ex, remember, not current) prime minister be sufficient then we will all know who to blame.

    [Reply]

    Andy C Reply:

    I think we spoke about it a while back. I’m with you in thinking he has a good case.

    I did twitter Tony saying he should go out and buy proton. Now that sir would be funny.

    The barracuda eating the goldfish, only to be swallowed by a shark.

    [Reply]

    jonrob Reply:

    “I did twitter Tony saying he should go out and buy proton. Now that sir would be funny.”
    This may not be as far from practicality as it sounds. Proton seem to be in serious trouble and considering a merger with the other Malaysian motor manufacturer. Should the merger not go ahead there will come a time when the company’s NAV (nett asset value) is around the same as it’s debts, at which point it can be bought for nothing. The import restrictions currently helping Proton with a protected market will be removed, then we shall see.
    Whilst being a Tony supporter I think that Bahar has missed a huge opportunity here to promote Proton, whilst getting the Lotus promotion for free from Tony.
    It now seems likely that Team Lotus will carry on with the Green/yellow livery.

    [Reply]

    Alexx Reply:

    maybe he announced it weeks ago because he heard that the Renault-Lotus team were going to use that.

    It was a complete u-turn from the ‘original Lotus green/yellow that Chapman loved’

    Anyone else notice the similarities between Air-Asia and Virgin logo’s and business model?

    TF is a great business man, but not very original in ideas!

    [Reply]


  65.   65. Posted By: Alexx
        Date: December 8th, 2010 @ 7:40 pm 

    Renault-Lotus should hire Bruno Senna as a driver with the Senna helmet colors! just to complete the picture from an old 80s’ magazine.

    [Reply]


  66.   66. Posted By: S.J.M
        Date: December 8th, 2010 @ 8:38 pm 

    James, what happens when (if) Renault pulls out of F1 completely. With engine specs changing in 2013, will they want to make a new engine to supply, or make a chassis for a team they dont have a stake in? Group Lotus wouldnt be allowed to race as Lotus or anything including the name Lotus, would they? Im surised they dont race under the Proton flag, a Malaysian company ofcourse and i imagine would help them and their country no end.

    Oh, and the Black & Gold livery, silly for Group Lotus/Lotus Renault to do. They looks fools for copying an idea that Team Lotus are doing, and appears desprate, and thats not thinking of the fact that the JPS cars was not part of Lotus Cars (non-F1) heritage. As i say, looks very silly on their part.

    [Reply]

    James Allen Reply:

    Renault is out of F1 as a team owner, but is committed to doing the new engines, in fact they are one of the new formula’s biggest supporters.

    [Reply]


  67.   67. Posted By: Schmorbraten
        Date: December 8th, 2010 @ 9:05 pm 

    Maybe Dany Bahar was inspired by F1 itself.

    There are drivers in Red Bull-owned cars which look almost like the Red Bull cars but are not RBR cars. There are silver cars with a Mercedes engine in the back, but they’re supposed to not be “The Silver Arrows”, and Mercedes doesn’t own anything of it anymore. Then you have cars which are meant to be “The Silver Arrows” but don’t look like Silver Arrows at all, more like a grey version of a BMW Sauber, because of the ugly-green Petronas branding which many people still associate with Sauber, but it’s a Mercedes-Benz. There are BMW Sauber cars, but they have a Ferrari engine, and BMW doesn’t own any of it anymore, and are (somehow) thought to have left the sport. What else? A Renault which isn’t owned by Renault anymore but still has Renault engines. And so on.

    I think we should spare a thought for the poor Mr. Ghosn, Renault CEO, who got a bit confused by all this brand malarkey. He thought it would be a good idea to a) agree to GenII selling the so-called Renault F1 team to GROUP Lotus so there’ll be a “Lotus-Renault” F1 team, and b) sign a contract with the existing Lotus Racing team about engine supply, so there’ll be another “Lotus-Renault” F1 team. He must have had some sort of a Groundhog Day-moment and thought “Wait – didn’t I do this already? Oh never mind, let’s get on with the daily chores and sign that piece of paper. If it was the right thing to do first time it can’t be that wrong now, can it?”

    [Reply]

    Albevo Reply:

    Schmorbraten or Soeren…

    [Reply]


  68.   68. Posted By: Pawel
        Date: December 8th, 2010 @ 9:10 pm 

    To what extend will Renault contibute in construction of chasis next year?
    In the forthcoming years they will provide the KERS and engine including 2013 regulations. However I wonder who will be responsible for designing the whole car in the coming years? Does it mean Lotus is to have influance on engineering issues?

    [Reply]

    James Allen Reply:

    Not at all. But it will still be called a Renault. They’ll do the engine, but chassis is done at Enstone.

    [Reply]


  69.   69. Posted By: Pierre
        Date: December 8th, 2010 @ 10:23 pm 

    Hi James,
    Maybe someone already asked you. How do you explain considering all this messy situation, Renault accepted to provide engines to Fernandez? Is that because its financial situation was not so good and they were looking for money at any cost?
    And who decided to provide the engines to Fernandez: Renault or Genii?

    [Reply]

    James Allen Reply:

    Renault corporate did the deal with Fernandes. I get the feeling the Genii/Lotus deal came on strong once Fernandes deal was already well underway. He was going to use Renault gearbox/back end but that would have come from Enstone and he suddenly backed out of that and did the deal with Red Bull.

    [Reply]


  70.   70. Posted By: ButtonWDC2009
        Date: December 8th, 2010 @ 10:39 pm 

    Hi James,

    What do you think Fernandes’ next move will be? Will he press ahead with his plans to use the Team Lotus name? If so will he choose a different livery (i.e. green/yellow) or will he keep his plans to use the JPS black/gold livery just like Lotus Renault GP? Or do you think some sort of deal will be made between him and Dany Bahar tommorrow at the F1 commission where they agree a financial deal for Tony to give up the name?

    Great blog as always James!

    Cheers

    [Reply]

    James Allen Reply:

    Interesting that Gascoyne was talking up the green and yellow livery tonight. But the name thing is the real problem

    [Reply]


  71.   71. Posted By: Jeremy
        Date: December 9th, 2010 @ 1:35 am 

    Hey James,

    Going on from the JPS branding association and it s current banning from the FIA. Conspiracy theorists might say Tony lured Group Lotus into the JPS branding only for them to have it banned by the FIA under the “no tobacco advertisement” and forcing them to change their livery and invoke embarrassment on Proton and Dany Bahar for such a knee-jerk reaction.

    [Reply]


  72.   72. Posted By: Tom
        Date: December 9th, 2010 @ 1:37 am 

    “The new team will not claim any of Lotus’ F1 heritage”

    Is that not a bit at odds with what Bahar said today, James?

    From Autosport: “We’re well aware that there has been a lot of controversy around the usage of our brand in F1 and I’m delighted to be able to formally clarify our position once and for all: we are Lotus and we are back.”

    Unless of course he’s referring merely to the sponsorship thing, though considering that they have the achievements of Team Lotus plastered all over their UK HQ that seems somewhat unlikely.

    [Reply]

    James Allen Reply:

    That’s not what I’ve been told from the Genii/Renault team side.

    [Reply]

    Tom Reply:

    Indeed, the livery says it all.

    [Reply]

    Rob Reply:

    A black and gold livery seems at odds with that claim!

    [Reply]


  73.   73. Posted By: Simon Lord
        Date: December 9th, 2010 @ 4:09 am 

    There was a suggestion way back in this thread that Bernie Ecclestone would resolve the situation by banging their heads together.

    Past experience suggests that the current stramash is precisely what Mr Ecclestone wants. It uses an emotive brand and some big names to get headlines for F1 in the off-season when otherwise all would be quiet. He has to invest nothing in it apart from throwing in the occasional provocative comment to keep the pot boiling. The participants also get plenty of headlines for Proton/Air Asia/Renault.

    This may not have been set up as a cynical exercise in media manipulation but it’s certainly turning into one.

    [Reply]


  74.   74. Posted By: Andrew H
        Date: December 9th, 2010 @ 5:11 am 

    As commented above, I really hate Jonathan Legard’s commentry. I would listen to the 5 Live broadcast but I love the insite and comments by Brundle so I stay with the BBC and just shout at the screen whenever Legard gets it wrong. I sat get Mr Allen back – afterall, he was about the only one that spotted that Lewis H was going to win the drivers championship in 2008 during the last lap – more than the entire Ferrari team could do until the race had ended!!

    Let’s get rid of Legard, if we can’t have James Allen then let’s have Karun Chandhok – he could probably even do it from the cockpit if he is allowed to drive next year and still do a better job…

    [Reply]


  75.   75. Posted By: Ohm
        Date: December 9th, 2010 @ 5:16 am 

    Hi James,

    One thing I don’t quite understand is why Group Lotus wouldn’t want to buy into Fernandes’ Team Lotus and go for a seemingly random team like Renault instead?

    Great site as always,
    Ohm.

    [Reply]

    James Allen Reply:

    1. Fernandes’ team is Fernandes’ team, 2. Renault is much higher up the grid with infrasructure capable of winning the title only 4 years ago. 3 The main reason is a business to business deal on road cars, between Genii and Lotus. F1 is the promotional vehicle. This is about business

    [Reply]

    john g Reply:

    3. the ego of danny behar

    [Reply]


  76.   76. Posted By: john g
        Date: December 9th, 2010 @ 2:12 pm 

    how can group lotus afford to buy 25-50% of the renault / genii team?

    that there’s seemingly no strategic link between renault and lotus, or proton and renault, shows the short-sightedness of behars plans – there’s absolutely no reason for group lotus to need to be involved with the renault team, certainly on a cost per reward basis. in terms of popularity, group lotus is taking a massive hit with this move, and to try to position themselves as competitors to porsche and ferrari simply by virtue of the fact that they are now in F1 (clearly as nothing more than a name on someone elses car, a marketing exercise) is retarded. it’s certainly not going to do anything to change the cars, at least not positively – we’ll have to wait see what damage this level of investment into F1 will do to group lotus funds but they won’t be getting any kind of return on it and the cars as a result will have to suffer unless proton just bank rolls it.

    group lotus should clearly have settled with a partnership of team lotus. any renault links that could have strengthened lotus or proton cars would still be available. what does genii have to offer – VOIP in cars!? if there’s one thing i wouldn’t want in my lotus it’s crap like that.

    [Reply]


  77.   77. Posted By: Nilesh
        Date: December 9th, 2010 @ 4:54 pm 

    Completely off topic, James. There has been a change of plans and I will have to be out of the country. There is no way I can track where your book has reached from the info that Grand Prix Legends has or from the USPS postal service. Is there anyway that I will be able to redirect and receive the book? This was meant to be a present for my wife on our first wedding anniversary. :(

    [Reply]

    James Allen Reply:

    I don’t understand. Please email james@jamesallenonf1,com with an explanation of what you want and we’ll see what we can do.

    [Reply]

    Nilesh Reply:

    Hi James,

    I did send you an email. Wondering if you got a chance to go through it. I have a question : Will I be able to order another signed copy from you in case I didn’t get the one I ordered earlier? It would be appreciated a lot! Thanks.

    [Reply]

    James Allen Reply:

    I’ve passed it onto our ecommerce partner. seems quite hard if you didn’t arrange for mail forwarding. Yes you can order another book


  78.   78. Posted By: Chris Orr
        Date: December 10th, 2010 @ 6:58 am 

    If this new lotus team wishes to build on it British hertiage, will they want a british driver.

    This year I noticed Petrov had Lada branding, but I would expect that to disappear as triple automotive branding on 1 f1 car doesnt seem to fit.

    I guess it works if they are in the same group i.e Mclaren Mercedes but now rivals, and Fiat and Ferrari, owner and ownee.

    Possibly Paul Di Resta in the other seat? I hope so. Hes proved his worth

    [Reply]


  79.   79. Posted By: cheap contract hire
        Date: August 11th, 2011 @ 3:28 pm 

    This is a genuinely great post! Thanks a lot for that information and facts. I will travel home without delay and learn much more about this.

    [Reply]

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