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“F1 season will start with two Lotus teams, ” says Asmat
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“F1 season will start with two Lotus teams, ” says Asmat
Posted By: James Allen  |  17 Jan 2011   |  6:02 pm GMT  |  119 comments

Following on from Friday’s activity in the Lotus saga – where the Renault team together with its sponsor and shareholder Group Lotus took a big presence at the Autosport Show and launched the F1 livery, while rival Team Lotus rebranded its factory – today there have been more developments.

Group Lotus CEO Danny Bahar has said this weekend that he does not believe that the dispute between the two will end up in court, but when I put that to Team Lotus CEO Riad Asmat this afternoon he said that it was now certain that the F1 season will start with two Lotus related teams.


“It is feasible for there to be two Lotus teams in F1 this season, ” he said. ” I see no harm in that and we’ll see how it develops as the season goes on. It looks like the court case will not be before the third quarter of the year anyway.

“I don’t know if ultimately there will only be one Lotus in F1. We are Team Lotus, we’re entered with the FIA as Team Lotus and we will race as Team Lotus.”

There are two court cases, which will be heard “Autumn at the earliest”; one of them about the use of the Lotus name, the other over the termination of the 5 year licence.

However Group Lotus are seeking summary judgement next week, 24th January, in a preliminary hearing. This is quiet common if one party feels that it’s case is overwhelming, it can apply for summary judgement and if the judge is persuaded that the case is totally one sided he can rule accordingly and avoid the expense of both sides preparing for a full court case and free up High Court time.

Asmat added that he has not had any communication with Group Lotus recently.

Prior to taking on his role at Tony Fernandes’ Lotus Racing operation Asmat worked at Proton HQ in Malaysia and clearly once the five year licence was signed between the two companies, he and Fernandes had in mind to build the Lotus brand through F1 and then get control of the car company.

“When we started the programme with Tony and Mike Gascoyne it was a five year plan and we’re going to stick with it,” he said. “Obviously it didn’t work out, but it doesn’t mean we cannot be an engineering powerhouse, they cannot stop us from doing work on road cars. I like the way Caterham works with Lola; we could work with another party. As for building our own car, I don’t think that’s feasible at the moment.”

Asmat said that the team believes its new F1 car, powered by a Renault engine and with a Red Bull gearbox and hydraulics, will give it an improvement relative to the midfield teams of between 1.5 and 2 seconds a lap. “We should be mixing it with Sauber and Toro Rosso, ” he said. ” At the Valencia test (Feb 1st) I hope we show what we are made of. We need to get points this year (for top ten finishes). My head is on the block with the shareholders. They own planes, so if I don’t deliver I’ll be flown back to Kuala Lumpur!”

Over the winter the operation at Hingham in Norfolk has added 20 new staff and they are still recruiting in some areas. On the commercial and sponsorship side they have taken on American John Cutler, who was head of business development at Team HTC Columbia, the pro cycling team of British rider Mark Cavendish.

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119 Comments
  1. CaptainJack says:

    Given that it now seems that Fernandes and co were plotting to get control of Group Lotus, its hardly surprising that Group Lotus parted ways with them, i mean you grant a license to someone you don’t expect them to use it as a Trojan horse to buy out your own company down the line!

    1. MAS says:

      Given the state Lotus were in at the time, Proton might actually have considered that a favourable outcome. It wasn’t until they hired Bahar a little later that it was decided to make a last all-or-nothing charge for glory to either become a British Ferrari in a few years’ time or go out trying.

      Actually, I think they still would have welcomed Fernandes’ on board even after those plans were made if it weren’t for the fact short-term F1 success was considered necessary to promote Lotus’ new face. Either way the incompatibility with Bahar’s program for the brand caused the rift.

      1. CaptainJack says:

        What’s clear is that Lotus have a new impetus and ‘New Era’ direction under Bahar and Fernandes does not have a part to play in that (how could he, he is a low cost airline mogul, that’s not the direction they are going in). Whilst Fernandes may have daydreamed of owing Lotus he should respect that the company has a new direction and does not want to deal with him anymore instead of attacking Lotus through this ugly set ouf court cases. I mean these shennigans with buying up Team Lotus, its just an ugly, aggressive attack from someone who can’t let go.

        Fernandes wants to see Lotus fail because he then gets to pick up the pieces. He’s going against the wishes of the Champmans and Lotus Cars themselves, who endorse Bahar’s New Era policy. For Fernandes to success, everyone else must fail, Lotus Cars, Lotus Renault GP, you name it. How is that a good outcome? He should pick a new name and move on.

        Anyway, personally, I love the new range, I love the expansion in motorsport and I wish Lotus success, every true fan would.

      2. MAS says:

        I do like some of the new cars actually, they aren’t in the spirit of Collin Chapman at all but I don’t really mind that. The point isn’t whether or not the new direction should succeed, it’d be great if it did. It’s just that it very probably won’t.

        Bahar’s plans are seen by many industry insiders as ludicrously overambitious. Even their own man, Bob Lutz- who has been brought into Group Lotus in some sort of advisory role, publicly said he gives it at most 60% chance of success. Compare it to McLaren’s recent efforts: a far healthier company (more experienced in the “high end” segment as well) taking more time to develop one car than Bahar wants to take to develop five.

        Fernandes is a very clever businessman, unlike marketing man Bahar and the people at struggling, inefficient Proton (who have been making a mess of Lotus for years). So I wouldn’t be so quick to dismiss the contribution Tony could have made to Lotus. He knows how to turn around a struggling business and that is the kind of man Lotus needs, not a unproven marketing man like Bahar.

        Furthermore, putting a 60 million dollar sticker on someone else’s F1-car won’t do much good and isn’t worth dumping a very popular team and a potentially valuable partner. In fact, the entire Group Lotus Motorsport-program, except perhaps for the Evora GT-effort, is no more than a bunch of stickers.

        As for whether Tony should just bow out, he made a deal and a commitment (to a lot of people) for five years, it’s not on him to just bow out when some of his supporters renege on their commitments AFTER he made the effort. Yes, what he does now is betting on Bahar’s failure, but those are good odds and that isn’t HIS fault. And when Bahar’s dreams do come crashing down I’d rather it’s Fernandes waiting in the wings than another Phoenix Consortium or Nikolay Smolensky.

        As for the “trojan horse” and the “plotting”, that’s just nonsense when talking about publicly traded companies, but Feyman explains that much better than me so just read his reply below again instead.

      3. MAS says:

        Okay that turned out more wordy than I intended, let me put it like this:

        re: Tony’s action:
        He had already made an investment and a commitment when Bahar started working against him. He is forced into this situation where he had to buy the Team Lotus name to protect his investment and come good on his commitment. The fact that this also means he is betting against the health of Group Lotus is mostly because Bahar’s failure is so very likely.

        re: the “true fan”:
        The “true fan” won’t mistake Bahar’s sponsor-deals for an actual motorsports programme. The efforts of Lotus Racing on the other hand are exactly what a motorsports-fan likes to see: plucky, ambitious and well-sorted.

        The true Lotus fan will want to see the company survive. In the end, Bahar is risking the company (and many millions of Malaysian Tax-dollars) to realize a boyhood dream, however cool that dream is. Fernandes is actually good at reinvigorating ailing companies and can offer Lotus what’s needed (though it might not be quite as cool).

        If Fernandes is really going to wait for Bahar’s failure we might get the best of both worlds: Bahar gets his shot and if it fails Fernandes comes in instead of some adventurer like at TVR. And if Bahar succeeds, well… he succeeds.

      4. DaveyJones says:

        CapnJack,

        Sorry old chum, this is clearly an emotive subject for you. However, in motorsport in order to be a success, by definition , everyone else must fail. Its competition! That doesnt make the winners bad people.

        Personally, I wish Lotus Renault all the best as I think Kubica is a fantastic driver and deserves a good car.

        I also wish Team Lotus well, and hope to see them move up the grid.

        Funnily, Ive managed to refer to both teams without confusion. Whatever next?

    2. Blackbeard says:

      Thats a tad naive Cap’n, what else would they have been doing it for?

      1. kowalsky says:

        love of the sport? noooo.
        After listening what fernandes said about using roadcar size tyres besides the 4 cyl engines, i realize that this newcomer don’t give a damn about the sport’s history. He is just after the cash.

      2. MAS says:

        What does the size of the tyres have to do with F1 history? And why would it be bad? The current 13″ wheels are just holdovers from old regulations, there’s nothing special about them. And I hope you aren’t suggesting that the four-pots are somehow “unworthy” of F1 because if you are I want you to google “turbo-era” and hang your head in shame.

    3. Feynman says:

      Interesting use of the word ‘plotting’, what’s wrong with the word ‘planning’ instead?

      They weren’t do anything deceptive or covert; the strategy was obvious and all above-board. Fernandes, partners, and free-market modernizers within the Malaysian government wanted to do an ‘Air Asia’ to Proton. That was the plan, not the plot.

      Current Proton management and other political factions clearly weren’t so keen to be out on their ear, hence Project Bahar … a high-stakes hyper-leveraged march to Stalingrad, burning money on a raft of fanciful motorshow concept cars, overweight Lotus roadcars rammed into a hostile market sector, and expensive sponsorship sticker deals with just about any spec of motorsport that they could find.

      Fernandes, by publicly sticking with the Team Lotus name for now, clearly signals that he is happy and willing to take that bet. To keep his own Lotus operation running, in very clear anticipation of Proton/Lotus going down in flames, Bahar being sacked, and the whole debt-soaked, hollowed-out operation sold to him for a ringgit in four or five years time.

      Seems fair enough to me.
      If I fancied a flutter, I think I’d stick it all on Tony and Riad too. I don’t know them, but just from what I’ve seen, y’know, the vibe, they look smart, fast and switched-on.
      In a fight with a marketing-man like Bahar and a lumbering state-owned roadcar company, I think they’ll regroup, play the long-game and take their prize at a canter.

    4. Henry says:

      How on earth do you come to the conclusion that they were planning to use the Team Lotus brand ‘as a trojan horse’ when buying the car company?! That is an absurd suggestion. Fernandes has always been fairly open about the idea of buying Group Lotus, as it has been a failing, state-owned car company for the last decade or so. Much as he bought the Malaysian national airline, he always talked about buying the failing, nationally owned, car manufacturer; Lotus. It was not a plot to get control of the company, it was simply a business plan. By making it sound like they had sinister plans for the company, you are missing the point. You dont buy a company you plan to ruin, at least not most of the time. Fernande’s plan would not have been to break it up and sell if off, it would have been to rejuvenate a once successful brand; otherwise why would he try to re-ignite the brand in F1 at considerable expense?! Group Lotus simply found alternative investors. It is business, not a sinister sci-fi plot.

      1. devilsadvocate says:

        Im inclined to agree here, if anything the sinister player here is Bahar and group Lotus. Its a classic “grass is greener on the other side of the fence” situation. Group Lotus signs a 5 year deal figuring Fernandez wouldn’t make much of it and they would get some high profile and emotionally tied support with the Lotus name in Formula 1. It was a huge success from the standpoint of popularity and they were the only backmarker that really had their stuff together this season.

        So marketing hotshot Bahar sees this popularity, gets jealous because Lotus didnt start out pushing sponsorship on a top level team for fear of failure and pulls the plug on Fernandez and Co and decides to strike off on his own.

        Even if there is some malevolence on Fernandez part towards this whole lotus roe Im really rooting for him since he put his neck on the line first and started at the back and then really just got the rug pulled out from under him once the powers to be realized Lotus F1 was viable. Honestly, I love Robert Kubica but at this point Im actually hoping the design team comes out with another R29 to firmly nail Bahar and Renault’s coffin shut for good.

      2. MAS says:

        To be fair to Bahar, his plans for Lotus go back to before the start of the season I think. Probably as far as the Renault takeover by genii. Didn’t James do a piece on the relationship between Bahar and Lopez a few months ago? How Lopez was a long-time Lotus fan and he and Bahar always had the intention to bring back Lotus through Enstone?

        It’s a pity the Enstone team got caught up in all this, as your last, rather spiteful comment comment illustrates. They’re a team with a successful history that just came through some difficult times and they have two sympathetic and entertaining drivers, one of which really deserves a good car. Even though I dislike Bahar’s actions and attitude, I hope the team, at least will have a good season.

      3. devilsadvocate says:

        MAS I dont think people are saying Bahar didnt have plans that far back, and I do remember the article you are talking about, its more the fact that he reneged on the 5 year deal that Group Lotus had extended to 1Malaysia F1 to race as Lotus because he wanted to aim higher than a backmarker. As a marketing guy that isnt necessarily bad, but its really disrespectful that he is essentially throwing all the hard work Fenrandez and Co. did putting themselves on the line to bring under the bus to move the Lotus name on to the next best team.
        I also still stand behind my comments about Enstone while agreeing they are a bit spiteful, I think that so soon after canning people like Briatore and Co. that they would be a little more cautious to step right back into involvement with someone like Bahar. Lets face it, they had to have known for him to bring Lotus to Enstone it would mean terminating with the currently established Lotus team which with the 5 year deal in place would mean that, regardless of your thoughts on if he did it in an underhanded way, would at least be unfair to the current Lotus. I think it could cost them, and I think a lot of people wont feel as sorry for them this time around.

      4. MAS says:

        devilsadvocate,

        I’m 100% on board with you on Bahar’s lack of respect towards Tony. In fact I’d go so far as to say that in the way he has conducted himself he has disrespected the history of Lotus and Collin Chapman’s Legacy as well. The press-releases that went with the end of the Lotus Racing License were especially bad in that regard and the most damaging thing to happen to the brand in the entire saga.

        But I don’t think he went into F1 because he wanted to use what Tony was building up. Lopes took over Renault while people hadn’t seen anything of Lotus Racing (who got their entry just a month or two before) and were still very sceptical. Lotus Racing’s popularity wasn’t the impetus for him is all I’m saying.

        As for Enstone: the team-members can’t really choose who owns them so I can’t hold it against them and Bouillier seems alright. Being embroiled in the schemes of Bahar and being involved in his great gamble makes me pity them a little. Then again I always liked Briatore (because he stuck it to the boring ultra-professionals like Dennis, Head and Todt – But that’s just me I know).

  2. JimmiC says:

    I appreciate that I am not adding much to the discussion, but I am getting really bored with this argument. Can’t one of them just rename themselves Brabham or Cooper and be done with it? There’s plenty of old legends knocking around.

  3. mitsu says:

    I’m team “team lotus”. What team are you?

    1. Cameron Isles says:

      Team Confused. A warning to all marketing depts at major corporations: run as far away from all things Lotus as you possibly can.

      1. SteveH says:

        I’m with you, Cameron. Every time I start reading about the two Loti I have to backtrack and sort them out as to who is who. If I, who follow F1 closely, am confused how confused is (are) the casual fan or the average TV viewer?

      2. Rich C says:

        Just one of them “Black Lotus” and one of them “Green Lotus” and we’ll know which you mean. ;)

    2. kowalsky says:

      team don’t care. Team i wouldn’t buy a lotus road car if i was in the market for a sports car.
      That’s the kind of fan they made me.
      When are this guys going to realize that the fans want to see racing, and that they are fed up with all the politics?

    3. Sheppski says:

      How about:
      Team Protus (Proton/Renault/Lotus)thus leaving Team Lotus available for who ever believes that have the right to follow in the Chapman shadow.

  4. Looks like Team Lotus aka 1Malaysia Racing will be providing free sponsorship for Group Lotus. Paul Stoddart was saying he sold Minardi to Bahar when he was with Red Bull – this time Bahar doesn’t even have to pay, although I doubt Team Lotus drivers will get a lot of TV exposure, maybe when they’re lapped by the other black Lotus cars?

    1. Zobra Wambleska says:

      Hold that thought until later in the season and then we’ll talk.

      1. I know Mike and Tony have been busy putting out brave messages on Twitter but you shouldn’t trust internet too much these days.

        Fans often see things in black and white or tend to lump everything into “good” or “bad”. Logic would suggest that 1Malaysia Racing aka (sort of) Team Lotus simply don’t have the technology available to break into top 10 – top 15, yes, I will agree but not top 10 (only if first 10 cars are eliminated like in Australia 2002).

        Things are not looking all rosy for Fernandes and Co. in the court as well. I see super Tony selling the team to somebody else in the future. 1Malaysia guys talk about keeping Team Lotus name and building cars while using F1 as an advertising platform which begs a question: what are they gonna call their brand? I mean we can go on and on forever but my feeling is that they’ll find a solution soon and there’ll be only one Lotus-sponsored team on the grid. Team Lotus belongs in the past, Lotus Renault GP is the future.

      2. Zobra Wambleska says:

        I have no idea how the naming will shake out, I’ll leave that to the courts, my comment was mainly about how well “Team Lotus” will perform this season. For a new team, with very little time to produce a car, I think they did very well last season. As I’ve stated in an earlier post, I have a lot of respect for Mike and his ability to do amazing things with an F1 car on a small budget, so I’d like to see how he’s doing mid-season before I write him and the team off to an also ran position.

    2. Henry says:

      You dont hear McLaren cars being called Vodafone, neither do you hear Force India being called Kingfisher, neither do you hear Ferraris being called marlboro. The name of the title sponsor does not equate to the name of the car. The renault cars are sponsored by Group Lotus, but the chassis names will be renaults, and group lotus as no more to do with the team than Vodafone has to do with Mclaren: they are the title sponsors, possibly shareholders, but they are not the team.

      1. James Allen says:

        Except that most title sponsors are not shareholders. Lotus is in this case

      2. Christopher Hobbs says:

        James, are they? what are they shareholders in? Genni or Renault? and do you know what percentage they hold?

      3. gtornes says:

        James,

        I have read on various forums people claiming that Group Lotus still has no ownership in the team, and they sometime state you as a source of this.

        Can you confirm if this is the case or not?

      4. Feynman says:

        Some very conflicting stories on who bought what exactly, but if we stick with the 25% shareholding.

        And keeping with the previous McLaren theme …
        post-Mercedes, Mansour Ojjeh owns a 25% chunk of the team, and is a sponsor (corporate partner), but the team or chassis isn’t generally described by punters on raceday as a TAG-McLaren. (Even up to 2003, when the parent company was still officially titled TAG-McLaren Group).
        … Mumtalakat owns 50% and they don’t even seem to get a look in, naming wise.

        If rocket-red title sponsors don’t generally get mentioned (except by the drivers) and minority shareholders don’t either, then it’s not especially clear that being both at once is going to be enough to get your name used in the commentary.
        Especially if everyone just decides to stick with the official FIA entry list, which for now at least, unless someone wants to take a bath on FOM money, still just says Renault.

      5. Henry says:

        I have read some reports stating that they have not actually secured any shares as of yet. But in my comment I did state that they were possibly shareholders. Either way, at this moment in time they are not majority shareholders: sure they will have influence on the team, but they dont have control, as far as I am aware. Of course you are in a position to know more about this than I; I do respect that superior knowledge, but I would be interested in a clarification of the shareholding/sponsorship status.

      6. James Allen says:

        This is interesting and a little vague at the moment as Lotus’ Claudio Berro is saying that they are already shareholders, but my understanding is that Genii still hold all the shares and Lotus will get a ‘major shareholding’. There is a call option on Lotus side to buy shares at the end of 2012.

      7. Henry says:

        I can’t reply to your reply (if that makes sense!) but thank you for your clarification. Definitely interesting to see how it unfolds.

      8. Bec says:

        Genii capital have issued a statement saying they (Genni) own 100% of the team, and that Group Lotus/Proton only have a future optin to buy equity in Renault F1.

        Therefore I think it’s quite clear atm that Lotus cars are simply just a sponsor, a sponsor that Proton have been told by their bank is costing too much.

      9. Austin K says:

        James,

        Aren’t Marussia, the title sponsor of Virgin Racing, now their main shareholder?

        I don’t think I’ve seen anyone refer to the Virgins as “Marussia Virgins”!

        Cheers!

  5. Bec says:

    Team Lotus are the team with the racing history, Renault are just sponsored by Lotus cars who have never competed in F1.

    1. Aramis says:

      Incorrect, Lotus Cars ran in 2010 under the Lotus Racing banner. Team Lotus by contrast haven’t run since 1994.

      1. Bec says:

        Incorrect, they were just sponsors, just like Lotus cars are for the Renault team.

        Genni capital have revealed that Group Lotus own not 1 share of Renault F1, and are merely sponsors, also Proton’s bank say Proton are spending too much sponsoring Renault with the Lotus cars brand.

    2. RichT says:

      Not so. It could be said, were Team Lotus a continuance of the original outfit, but not this new, Fernandes-run outfit. All they did was buy an historic name, with which they intend naming their team. All the history they have, is one season; that of 2010, which still is not nor ever shall be, Team Lotus.

  6. Charlie says:

    James, not a criticism on your always excellent journalism, but having just skim read that article I didn’t really get the gist on the first scan because of the confusion of the two lotus names. The season is going to be a nightmare for viewers, and I would think an unmitigated disaster for the teams, I certainly wouldn’t sponsor a team who I thought would get confused with another at every mention. I look forward to seeing how the media deals with covering the teams in season!

    1. James Allen says:

      Agreed. I think the TV guys will call the Enstone team Renault and the Norfolk team Lotus for the moment. But it’s tricky

      1. unoc says:

        Agree. I hope JA is right. While teams are known by there constructors names (as they are currently) there will be no fuss. No one refers to Hamilton being on pole in a Vodafone ousting the Marlboro of Alonso.

        But as soon as a few commentators and journalists start calling Renault Lotus and Lotus Fernandes’ group, then we will have trouble.

        One rule for all and I’m glad JA thinks so to

      2. Topless Porridge says:

        Similarly, no-one will refer to Hamilton being on pole in a McLaren ousting the Ferrari of Alonso. But for very different reasons.

        :-)

      3. David McVey says:

        I think that’s a certainty James.

        They will have to because that is what the team is called as I understand. Lotus is the title sponsor isn’t it?

        I find it hard to accept either Team as Lotus. Now that the Chapman family have withdrawn their support from the Fernandes operation they have lost their legitimate claim to the name. I assume they’ve had to return the corduroy hat.

        Also, I’m guessing that the Chapman family have decamped to the Renault/Proton operation due to some commercial incentive. If so, i think they underestimate the level of knowledge amongst Formula 1 fans.

        As I understand it, Colin kept his beloved F1 Team on a seperate balance sheet specifically to avoid a car company board of directors getting control of it. Fair enough, Colin isn’t here anymore and the family have got to make a living and are entirely justified to run the family business as they see fit. It just seems to be lacking in sympathy for the memory of the man that made F1 cars what they are today.

      4. gtornes says:

        David,

        Agree with you that neither really has any claim to beeing a continuation. Team Lotus really died at the end of 1994, and any bringing back of the Lotus name would always be something created separatly from the ols team. This is actually one part of the Bahar/Clive Chapman/Group Lotus arguement I have sympathy for.

        Not so sure about the whole buying off the Chapman family theory, as they seem to be doing fairly all right financially on their own. Clive Chapman seems to be to be a man with a genuine passion for keeping the old Team Lotus history alive, which he has been doing very nicely for the past 15 years. In these 15 years he has worked quite closely with Group Lotus and his argument now is that they are merely continuing to do so. Then again, I would hardly believe that support to build a museum for the classic cars would dampen his relationship with the Group.

        As for the reasons for Chapman to keep Team Lotus as a separate legal entity, there were at many times many common directors bewtween the team and Group Lotus, and I believe this had most to do with spreading the risk of liability in racing and accounting reasons. Chapman and Fred Bushell were notorious in moving money around where it most suited them, even money beloning to Group Lotus at times (read up on the DeLorean history and GPD connection).

        One thing I think is noting is that in one way one might say that what Chapman intended with the split actually worked, as when Team Lotus went under it did not take Group Lotus with it. Still, I doubt that even Chapman would have foreseen the current twist of the tale taking place 16 years after the team disappeared.

    2. MAS says:

      What will actually happen is that the commentators will constantly go of on a tangent, exclaiming how utterly confusing the situation is, every single time they need to name one of the teams. They wont tire of that for at least half a season anyway. But they should just follow the model put forth by the guys at f1rejects instead:

      Team Lotus should be affectionately known as “Fondmetal Team Malaysia” (Gascoigne’s old wind-tunnel business once had ties with Fondtech and that’s all the excuse I need). And to then be fair to Fernandes, Lotus-Renault will just be Renault (also because that’s who they really are). Once one of them gets sold off or backs down, the media can give the survivor their name back.

      1. Mario says:

        As someone else has proposed already they could be called Green Lotus and Black Lotus.

      2. Henry says:

        Well that would be a little inventive, you may as well call Force India ‘White Green Orange Kingfisher’…the examples go on for ever.

        ‘Silver-Red Vodafone’
        ‘White-and-Blue PDVSA’
        ‘Red-with-bits-of-white Marlboro’

        etc…

      3. Stuey says:

        This. Brundle was asked the question at Autosport International 2011. Said he would call them the Green Lotus and The Black Lotus in his commentary

      4. MAS says:

        Well, if you want to be all sensible about it, sure…

        It’s all moot anyway, commentators will just love to pretend they are frustrated with the situation and will regurgitate explanations every chance they get instead of coming up with a solution and sticking with it without further comment.

    3. Henry says:

      I assume that most journalists will refer to “Team Lotus” (Tony Fernandes, green and yellow, etc) as team Lotus, and the Group-Lotus sponsored Renault team, as Renault. In term of official classification, the Renault Chassis names have to remain renault, otherwise the team looses alot of money from the TV revenue, by re-naming. So the cars will actually be Renaults, just sponsored by Group Lotus, much like McLaren cars are referred to as McLarens, rather than Vodafones.

      1. RichT says:

        At the moment, and until such time as it is changed, Renault-Lotus are entered with the FIA as ‘Renault F1 Team and Team Lotus as ‘Team Lotus.

        Regardless of who is and/or becomes what, I consider the entire affair a travesty, one which leaves a nasty taste in my mouth.

        Thank goodness for historics. They are what they were and ever more shall be so, which is where Team Lotus, should be, where its once glorious name might remain, untainted and untarnished by these cowboys.

  7. Ben says:

    FYI Mark Cavendish is Manx (from the Isle of Man), so not strictly British. Certainly not English, nor from the UK, as many in the English media would have it.

    1. Galapago555 says:

      Totally off topic, I know, but an interesting point.

      No offence, just ignorance: the Isle of Man is a British Island, as stated in their Passports, isn’t it?

      http://bit.ly/gJ479S

      Thanks in advance!

      1. Flakey says:

        Well it comes from the confusing nature of the the usage of names. UK, and Great Britain tend to be used interchangeably, but they do not mean the same thing. Take the Isle of Man, as you have, and yes they are British, but not part of the UK.

      2. Galapago555 says:

        Thanks, but this is not what Ben said. He wrote that Cavendish is a Manx, “so not strictly British”. Now you say that the Isle of Man is British but not a part of the UK. My question (are Manx British?) remains unanswered.

        I do insist, no offence, just my ignorance from Madrid. :-)

      3. The other Ian says:

        The Isle of Man is what is called “a Crown Dependency”.
        Basically they run their own affairs, and leave Defence and Foreign Relations to the UK government.
        The Channel Isles are also Crown Dependencies.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crown_Dependencies

      4. Austin K says:

        He is ‘British’… just about.

        Britain = England, Scotland, Wales
        UK = Britain + Northern Ireland
        British Islands = UK + Channel Islands + Isle of Man
        British Isles = British Islands + Republic of Ireland

        Someone who is from the British Islands, or from a British territory such as Gibraltar, can be considered ‘British’.

        So, someone from the Isle of Man is ‘British’ but isn’t from Britain (as stupid as this may seem).

      5. Ben says:

        See? That’s what I meant about ‘not strictly’ ;)

      6. Galapago555 says:

        Thank you very much for the info. I’m starting to understand…

        Just a point: I can’t agree with you when you write that “…a British territory such as Gibraltar…”

        Gibraltar is not a British territory but a “Non-Self-Governing Territory”, according to the United Nations, after the “Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples” (1960).

        It’s not a question of opinions but a question of facts: Gibraltar is included in the list of Non-Self-Governing Territories. Funnily enough, the only colonized area in Europe…

        More info http://bit.ly/eCwtD9

      7. Rich C says:

        So,then… how does a French race team sponsored by a car company from Malaysia come to call itself “British” ?

      8. Austin K says:

        This is going wildly off-topic but I thought I’d post it anyway…

        “Gibraltar is not a British territory but a “Non-Self-Governing Territory”.”

        These terms aren’t mutually exclusive!
        The point of a “Non-self-governing Territory” is that some country maintains a level of control over it- in the case of Gibraltar, this is Britain.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_overseas_territory

  8. Richard Bell says:

    What road car manufacturer would want to work with a team that doesn’t really have a name or at least battling with a different car manufacturer for the use of its name?

    1. unoc says:

      I know it does seem weird. I would have thought that if GL had put the money they were going to jam into Renault into Team Lotus (the name GL were actually offered befoer Fernandes got it) then TL would be doing better and Lotus would be working together to improve instead both are losing money on court battles while the lotus name is mucked around with and two teams are indivdually trying to excel. 1 team with an 80 million budget is better than 2 with 6 million budgets

  9. MAS says:

    It’s a shame it has come to this. Fernandes obviously isn’t in this for charity but he and and Mike came into this with exactly the right attitude and they sought the support of the people who had a legitimate connection with old Team Lotus: the Chapmans, Peter Warr, David Hunt AND Lotus Cars.

    The situation was pretty good like that. Racing under a License would bring the name and the company back but without just digging the Team Lotus name out from under a stack of legal documents. It showed respect for all involved (though Lotus Cars couldn’t have let him race as Team Lotus anyway).

    You cannot help rooting for Frenandes in this because of the way Bahar then handled things. He rides into town, tries to bully David Hunt out of his rights (thus publicly insulting the people who kept Team Lotus running for the ten years after Chapman’s death and misrepresenting Lotus’ history as well) and finally breaks all agreements with Fernandes while the ink is still wet with a flimsy excuse (whatever else happens, I hope Tony takes them to the cleaners’ for that). On top of that, Peter Warr is dead and the Chapmans have withdrawn their support.

    But I get Bahar’s point of view as well. His entire strategy for Group Lotus is an all-or-nothing gamble bcause he believes the alternative is certain doom for the company. Buying into Enstone makes sense in that context. A few race-wins (which aren’t going to happen with Fernandes) is worth half a Bond-film feature in terms of publicity for his new cars.

    I can see two things happen that can reduce the number of Lotuses on the grid. Either Bahar’s gambles in the automotive sector don’t turn out well and Group collapses or will have to downsize drastically. Or Fernandes loses the court-case and will have to back down. Worst-case scenario: both things happen and we’ll have no Lotuses at all in a few years.

  10. Chris says:

    http://www.ipo.gov.uk/types/tm/t-os/t-find/t-challenge-decision-results/o02610.pdf

    The Team Lotus trademark for racing is invalid and void. David Hunt sold TF and RA a paperweight. They are going to be laughed at in court

    1. CaptainJack says:

      Pretty much, it’s laughably bad. I don’t think Joe Public realise just how weak the TL legal position is.

      It’s just so ridiculous, TF doesn’t make Lotus cars, Group Lotus do and are in it for advertising, but what’s TF got, what is he in it for? So he can say he is Lotus instead of the guys that make the cars, do you think he has ever been struck by what a ludicrous proposition that is? Seems not.

      1. devilsadvocate says:

        glad you seem to have such a strong grasp on history and all in your attempted character assassination of Fernandez and TL… except Lotus cars were actually never directly involved with Team Lotus (that actually raced in formula 1, because the boss wanted to keep the entities separate. Thats how Fernandez was able to by the name from James Hunt without Chapman or Group Lotus permission. Ludicrous, preposterous, just downright sacrilegious really… hehe

    2. Locky says:

      Interesting – - Great Post
      Its going to get ugly me thinks.. :-)

      1. Peter says:

        This is what David Hunt sold TF

        http://www.ipo.gov.uk/domestic?domesticnum=1337455

        http://www.ipo.gov.uk/domestic?domesticnum=1338435

        He sold the right to use the words “Team Lotus” and the C badge in F1 as a Class 35 trademark. The link you have provided is the Class 41 trademark which is no void.

        This is also an interesting link

        http://www.ipo.gov.uk/o14703.pdf

        The conclusion states:

        47. Having regard to Section 46(5), the revocation has been partially successful. The
        registrations will be revoked with effect from 11 January 2002 in respect of all services save as follows:

        No. 1338435 – Advertising services included in Class 35, all relating to Formula One
        motor racing.

        No. 1337455 – Advertising services included in Class 35, all relating to Formula One
        motor racing; but not including any such services relating to pre-recorded
        tapes.

        David Hunt still owned these and has now sold them to TF.

        My head hurts now…

      2. Jord93 says:

        Joe Saward says the class 35 trademark is the all-important one Fernandes needs.

      3. James Allen says:

        They certainly think that they have more than enough to resist the summary judgement Group has requested on Monday and to take it to a hearing in the Autumn

    3. Mario says:

      Looks like they can be easily stopped from using the name “Lotus” by whoever has got the rights to it.

    4. Drez says:

      Yes that trademark was revoked but that’s not the one they have a legal right to use in F1.

      http://www.ipo.gov.uk/types/tm/t-os/t-find/t-find-number?detailsrequested=C&trademark=2297413B

    5. Bob says:

      Oh dear.

      The trademark and the team name are two seperate issues. The right to tace as Team Lotus differs from the right to use the historic Team Lotus logo.
      The link you kindly provided relates to the logo, and only states that the trademark has been revoked through non-use.
      Except that the trademark has been revoked through non-use, I dont think anyone can infer the relative strength / weakness of either Group or Team Lotus in respect of the right to race as Team Lotus from the above link.

    6. Kenny says:

      If this is the case, what is going on now? I am really confused…

    7. Feynman says:

      So how does that work? (Genuine question)

      It was a Class41 (motor-sport activities) Trademark that was revoked, because as Group correctly argued at the time, no activity had occurred for some time in that particular classification.

      But Team Lotus and Hunt still maintained the Class35 (Advertsising Service) Team Lotus trademark and the Team Lotus logo:

      http://www.ipo.gov.uk/domestic?domesticnum=1338435

      So there was a Team Lotus company in existence, and it maintained its trademark and logo (just not in motor-racing), and now it wants to go motor-racing and has re-applied for a Class 41 TM … is there any reason why they wouldn’t get it back, as opposed to Group who have applied to use the same logo?

      Would a company (Team) with a valid trademark fail in a new application for another classification, or how likely is it that another company (Group) would be given rights to use that identical trademark and name in it’s rival application?
      (i.e. two separate companies, with identical trademarks, only separated by trademark class).

      1. Feynman says:

        As an addendum to that, I note that the maintained Class 35 trademark, was specifically described as

        “Advertising services included in Class 35, all relating to Formula One motor racing.”

        There has surely got to be a way to wangle that into a F1 team name. Fernandes sells the car livery to Team Lotus Ventures, as Ferrari do to Marlboro, allowing them to sell-on as part of it’s business of “Advertising service related to F1″, in return for car naming rights.

        Therefore you have a car named after an advertising services company called Team Lotus.

  11. Christopher Hobbs says:

    Good post James, I’m a big convert to your site, who needs Autosport anyway. (well apart from the club stuff which Marcus Pye still does a great job with).

  12. frosty says:

    The on track rivalry between these two Lotus teams should make for some excellent racing.
    Bring It On.

    1. RichT says:

      Perhaps both entrants would be better served were they to enter cars in BRISCA F1 Stocks! They could hammer each other as hard as they like then!

  13. Marty McSuperFly says:

    Ah, first world problems – gotta love the stupidity in F1 sometimes.

    I’m Spartacus!

  14. Henry says:

    Just to confuse matters…

    F1 Fanatic has this link up: The High court to hear legal battle over the naming rights next week!

    http://www.thelawyer.com/snr-denton-and-macfarlanes-prepare-for-formula-1-branding-battle/1006659.article

  15. cordy says:

    yes james i think you are almost there to see this whole game from tony. If you look at 1malaysia alliance shareholder you can see why
    he bring in Naza the Malaysian car maker into
    this alliance. At first i see this as noble idea to bring back Lotus into F1. But looking into a big picture i can smell something fishy about tony alliance. the only reason why he started this whole lotus F1 is to buy over
    group lotus. If you do some google you can see Naza planned to buy over Lotus last year. and yes they failed. So they using F1 as a ticket to get people attention. and now they owned
    team lotus, its a good start for them. so
    naza who produced “rebadge” car from kia to pougeot in malaysia was was asked to join
    this alliance because tony didnt have backgroud
    in road car manufacturing. Knowing that lotus
    brand was undervalue he thought this is a good
    idea to rebrand this car maker so he needs
    people who know in and out about Lotus. Then
    come Riad Asmat into the picture. He was a
    personal assistant to current Proton CEO.
    He dont run any racing team before except
    asean imax1500 for proton.

    Knowing TF who run things by himself can anyone
    give me a reason why a “rebadge” car maker Naza who dont have a racing history or even a racing team in this alliance and a guy(riat)
    who never run a big racing team now a CEO in F1 team.

    In coming years dont be surprise if you see a
    Team Lotus road car produce by naza and run by
    Riad Asmat. Cheers

  16. Chris says:

    Also part of the reason why Group terminated the license to use the Lotus Racing name was the fact that TF tried to trade on the Lotus name by making an energy drink LR8 ( a pun on accelerate(8) and Lotus Racing (LR) ). The license was for use in racing only. Tf breached the conditions and so had the license terminated. I hope TF gets laughed out of court

    1. duest says:

      Presumably the license was for racing only because Group Lotus aren’t in a position to offer a license for much more. I don’t see that prohibiting Tony Fernandes from using the name in other markets.

      I certainly can’t see Group Lotus, the car manufacture, having any claim to the name Lotus when it is applied to energy drinks! I also don’t think my local businesses ‘Lotus Lounge’, ‘Lotus Chinese Restaurant’, ‘Lotus Flower Shop’ and ‘Lotus Folding Walls and Doors’, just to name a few, have much to worry about from Group Lotus…

  17. Kat says:

    “and clearly once the five year licence was signed between the two companies, he and Fernandes had in mind to build the Lotus brand through F1 and then get control of the car company.”

    James, has Riad Asmat or Tony Fernandes actually told you that they were planning to get control of Lotus Cars, or is it just your own conjecture? I’m a bit sceptical about the idea, because I’ve never seen Fernandes suggesting anything like that in interviews.

    1. RichT says:

      Good point. I have absolutely no recollection of Fernades, previously making mention of his ultimate plan, that of taking over Lotus cars, while he was seeking support for his F1 venture. Can this really be? Over to you, James!

  18. Rich says:

    Hi James!

    Where can i find the video of Martin Brundle and yourself driving the new Silverstone from last year? Cant seem to find it on youtube..

    Rich

  19. Andy C says:

    To be quite honest, I have totally lost interest in who is called what.

    Neither one is lotus of old, but I continue to support Fernandes/Gazza as I like how they built the team. Next year will be pivotal in the long term future, in that they have rapidly expanded the tech side and brought in a lot of good people. Putting a renault/redbull back end on the car could be a great move.

    I think they’ll be very close to Sauber next season.

    On the flip side, while I dont like the way Danny Bahar has conducted himself, I will continue to support Kubica as I think he is excellent.

    Here is to watching cars racing around a track again…testing isnt too far away.

    1. That’s what I say, so what if there are 2 Lotus teams, Torro Rosso and Red Bull nenver bothered me…. right now my worry if the 1.6 litre engine rule….

  20. Has there EVER been a year in F1 where the whole circus ran smoothly, with out some form of controversy LOL?

  21. Ben G says:

    I hope the TV commentators call Group Lotus Renault “Lotus Renault”, and Fernandes’ outfit “Team Lotus”.

    I expect they’ll be so far apart on the grid it won’t really matter. “Team” will still be competing in the B-class.

    It would be sadto deny Group Lotus their share of the marketing pie just because of a pedantic loyalty to ‘Team Lotus’, because Danny Bahar seems to have annoyed a few folk on the way.

    Group Lotus are trying to rebuild a great British brand. Why so many of you people are against that?

    1. Andy C says:

      Plans and achievement are a very different thing though ben.

      I think the whole thing has descended into an ego battle.

      The logical thing was for both sides to Join up.

      The 5 car plan could be a great success, but I suspect it will not be. Who in their right mind would buy a lotus over a Porsche or Ferrari (or mercedes top end). I hope I’m wrong, but I think it is too much too soon. Or a mclaren mp4-12c.

  22. Graham says:

    Gaaah!!
    How many times?

    There are 2 lotus cars on the grid next year – those run in yellow and green, beloning to Lotus racing.

    The black and gold cars are Renaults. Now, I do see what Bahar is trying to do, but noone ever watched Rossi storm to victory on his Yamaha, and cry “that Fiat is class, I’m buying one now”..

    Why is it so hard for F1 fans to see the wood for the trees?

    1. Ben G says:

      But Group Lotus have bought the Renault team. So why doesn’t that make it a Lotus?

      1. mvi says:

        They have not bought the team, although they have stated intentions to buy it. So far they are only sponsoring it.

  23. jmv says:

    seems like the livery issue is also still up in the air…

    Black/Gold might be troublesome as it implies JPS sponsorship (tobacco). Ferrari really had to exterminate every trace of Marlboro on their livery.

    So I cannot imagine that Black/gold as it is will stay.. especially as it refers to the famous JPS livery.

    So then what will Group Lotus do? Green-Yellow is already taken by Team Lotus…

    Is gonna be interesting few weeks.

  24. pdac says:

    I’m curious now … Next weeks high court hearing is about a summary judgement to prevent Team Lotus from using the Lotus name, right? So that would mean that if the ruling goes in favour of Group Lotus, then I’m assuming that Team Lotus will not be able to race with that name.

    However, if the judgement went in favour of Team Lotus and ultimately, that was the final decision, then does that mean that Group Lotus will never be able to rename the Renault team to a name that included the word ‘Lotus’ in the future?

  25. Matt B says:

    Never mind the wrangle over the use of the black and gold livery, have you seen the Pirelli test car?! Now THATS a good looking F1 car!!! No joke.

    1. mvi says:

      It does look great, all dark and minimalist.

    2. Greg says:

      Its a Toyota.

      1. Matt B says:

        Thanks for that…

  26. Robert McKay says:

    Frankly I think the Lotus thing is BRILLIANT.

    Yes it’s confusing and awkward and a PR disaster but for adding another story and another bit of spice to the new season I’m all for it. Especially as the battle will go down to lower formulae like GP2 because both Fernandes and Group Lotus have put money into teams there too.

    Who am I for? Both, in a way. In terms of “Lotus vs. Lotus” I’m for the Fernandes team. Having said that, given that I am still going to think of Lotus-Renault as Renault, for a while at least, and that I actually like Renault – great 2010 with excellent driver in Kubica and nibbling at the big 3 on various occasions with smaller budget – I can’t suddenly hate that outfit simply because Group Lotus got a bit uppity, split with Fernandes and stuck some money in.

    Maybe over time my views will change but for now I think it’s a nice, typically-F1 sidestory.

    1. Andy C says:

      To be honest Robert me too. I want kubica to do well again next season.

      Doesn’t mean I have to like bahar though ;-)

      My wishing team lotus well is more to do with the way they have built the team up and I’ve always liked gazza and his no nonsense attitude.

      1. Andy C says:

        Although I don’t think it’s brilliant :-) !

  27. didier says:

    as of today group lotus did not buy into renault , the renault team is 100% owned by genni capital today , they may sell minority shares to group lotus eventually

  28. rob says:

    hahaha
    two team lotus?
    one team lotus was allready pathatic
    what a joke!

  29. Ian H says:

    just out of interest does anybody know if the FIA’s suspended 2year F1 ban (following the Sinapore Piquet incident) will affect any of this (if at all)ie can the team change ownership/name under the stipulations of the ban?

  30. Dave Aston says:

    I am surprised that so many people find this interesting.

  31. Richard says:

    The simple answer is that neither team should run under the name Lotus. They are not Lotus, they have none of the tradition and experience that was Lotus and they never will be.

    It is an insult to the name that such teams try and pretend to be something they are not.

  32. Rahza says:

    “Genii currently owns 100 per cent of Lotus Renault GP. Eric Boullier has moved to clarify reports about the ownership structure of the Enstone based F1 team called Renault.” quoted from motorsport.nextgen-auto.com.

    1. Bec says:

      Exactly. Lotus cars are simply just a sponsor, a sponsor that parent company Proton have been told by their bank is already costing too much.

  33. Andy C says:

    I was reading a lot of discussion on another site about the black and gold “lotus renault GP” colour scheme and possible legal challenges in Canada (around imagery representing tobacco brands and likeness).

    I’ve thought/wondered for a while that the team lotus competition might have been a bluff to call off group from the Green and Yellow colour scheme.

    With your contacts, do you know whether theres any substance in that (i.e who started the idea first)? If it was, it was a great bluff.

    For what its worth, I loved the JPS Lotus colour scheme as it was the first F1 car I ever saw (and sat in Mansells car in fact). But I have always preferred the Green and Yellow scheme.

  34. Lefuet says:

    “This is quiet common if one party feels that it’s case is overwhelming”.

    You mean “quite” and, more worryingly, “its”.

  35. Manok says:

    For the sake of motosport, Lotus Renault and Group Lotus:-

    1) Let Fernandes alone and let him use of Lotus Brand for five years….

    2) Lotus Renault, came out with a new name… Proton Renault would we be better.

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