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Group Lotus fails in one sense, but gains in another
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Group Lotus fails in one sense, but gains in another
Posted By: James Allen  |  24 Jan 2011   |  8:30 pm GMT  |  81 comments

The application for summary judgement in the London High Court today in the dispute between Group Lotus and Team Lotus failed, but it has brought forward the actual hearing, so both sides have won and lost something today.

Wanting to get the confusion over Lotus in F1 sorted before the start of the season, Group Lotus brought about the application for summary judgement, something that can be achieved in a week or so and which, if successful, means that the judge dismisses the case because the evidence is so open and shut. That did not happen today, which is a small win for Team Lotus, owned by 1Malaysia group. The judge, Justice Peter Smith decided that there was definitely a case to be heard.

But he also ruled that, as the dispute had gone on long enough already, the case will now begin on March 21, between the Bahrain and Australian Grands Prix, much sooner than 1 Malaysia was anticipating. A ruling is therefore possible by the end of the month, by which time there will be have been just two Grands Prix. If the result goes Group Lotus’s way there will have been only a brief period during the season of two Lotus teams overlapping on the grid.


This puts the pressure on if an agreement is to be reached by the mostly Malaysian shareholders on both sides, as Group Lotus CEO Danny Behar believes it should. Time is now short for that.

“We remain confident that we will succeed at the full trial and we can now focus on the challenges ahead in the 2011 FIA Formula One™ World Championship,” said a Team Lotus statement tonight.

Meanwhile Team Lotus boss Tony Fernandes tweeted, “Very very happy over the judgment today. And extremely happy that full trial brought forward to March 21st. The good do always eventually win.”

This case was actually launched by the 1Malaysia side and it was over the sudden termination of the five year licence from Group Lotus. Allegedly the grounds given for termination were over a merchandising T shirt design.

Although there have been faultlines in the way Team Lotus relates to Group Lotus for many years and Group Lotus has in recent years taken steps to close off the areas in which Team Lotus has the right to use the Lotus name, it was only after last year’s Singapore Grand Prix that this current row blew up, which promises to decide the matter once and for all.

1Malaysia boss Tony Fernandes acquired the Team Lotus rights from David Hunt and announced it in Singapore. Group Lotus immediately reacted saying that, “With Proton’s agreement, Group Lotus has now terminated its licence to 1 Malaysia Racing Team to use the “Lotus Racing” brand in the 2011 and future Formula 1 seasons as a result of the flagrant and persistent breaches of the licence by 1 Malaysia Racing Team, which were damaging to the “Lotus” brand.”

1 Malaysia’s response was to apply to the High Court and launch the action which will now be heard in March. Team CEO Riad Asmat said at the time, “We think now is the time to clear this matter up so there can be no further arguments. We have therefore today issued proceedings in the English High Court for a declaration that Team Lotus Ventures has the rights to use the Team Lotus name and everything associated with that brand in relation to Formula 1.”

As it’s a legal matter it could go either way, going to law is always a risky business however good a case either side might feel it has.

What is surprising about today’s development is that the matter will be resolved much more quickly than Team Lotus was expecting. From their point of view a longer lead time would mean two Lotus teams on the grid for most of the season and a sense of normality perhaps beginning to surround that. Group Lotus just wants them to stop racing as Lotus, leaving the way clear for them to completely rebrand the existing Renault team, ultimately renaming the chassis to finish the job off.

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81 Comments
  1. MAS says:

    Won’t Group Lotus still need permission from all the other teams to rename the Renault team and still keep their prize-money? And if so, does that apply to the name on the FIA entry-list or to the chassis?

    And if it’s the former, why wasn’t Team Lotus affected by the same rule? They did get some money for tenth place, didn’t they? Would they stand to lose this year’s prize-money if they lost the case and got into the top 10?

    1. Hisham Akhtar says:

      I don’t think so because the chassis name remained the same. You can change the team all you want but one only forfeits their prize money if they change the chassis name.

    2. Myrvold says:

      Group Lotus would need permission, but Team Lotus did not. You are free to change name between season end, and the sign up for the next one. Just like BMW Sauber is just Sauber again ;)

      1. Chris H says:

        James, can you confirm this please. I’m not certain by any stretch, but it’s not my understanding.

      2. Dr Paul says:

        The real sticking point here is Bernie Ecclestone. If he were to wave the fine levied on teams for changing their name, then Fernandes would be free to rename his team to something else. Surely the image of the sport is more important than a few more millions in the pocket ay Bernard?

    3. Feynman says:

      No-one here knows, and those that know, ain’t gonna say …

      … but the last time anyone got a look at an older copy of the concorde agreement, the basic rule was that if you wanted to change the team name less than 5 years after you had previously changed it, you needed unanimous agreement from all other teams.

      If you didn’t get such agreement, and still changed your name, you would lose all your FOM TV and prize money, and a demotion to a lower ranked column for future payouts. That money would be divided amongst the other teams, so guess how any vote would end-up.

      Last season was the fifth season that BMW Sauber were called that, which perhaps explains why Sauber still dragged the BMW tag around for another year, also suggesting the 5-year rule is still in effect.

      Team Lotus get a lot of their early FOM money from a separate fund, set-aside specifically for the new teams … this is probably not affected by that rule, so this is why Fernanded can probably rename and not lose millions of dollars.

      1. mike says:

        team lotus didnt change their chassis name for 2011 as they raced a lotus branded chassis in 2010, so no money is lost

      2. MAS says:

        Ah thanks, that makes some sense. A pity we don’t have more to go on.

        If this is indeed how it still works, Group wouldn’t need anyone’s permission to change Renault F1′s name since they’ve been called that since ’02 if I’m not mistaken. Perhaps they’ll do it as soon as they get a majority share (though I understand that situation is also very unclear).

        Also, it means that Team Lotus could lose any prize-money for this year if they lose the case about the ownership of the Team Lotus name.

      3. unoc says:

        No. I do believe that legally speaking if Lotus (fernandes) can legally prove that he has the rights to use the name in the 2010 season (which he can, by showing the old argeement) then Lotus (group)’s introduction of themselves into the sport and subsequent legal case has caused Lotus (team) to lose any money, then Lotus (group) would have to pay Lotus (team) the money that Lotus (team) lost due to Lotus (group) entering the sport.

        That in plain english.

        Lotus has the rights to race in 2010. THey hence get the money throughout 2011. If Group Lotus force them to change name and the losing of money isn’t an intended (or related) impact then Lotus can sue Group Lotus to get back the money they lost by Group Lotus entering F1 which wasn’t expected when the 2010 agreement was signed.

        In other news:
        BMW Sauber changed to Sauber in name and constructor name. Team name has to include the Constructor and Engine. A team can change from Fancy Pants McLaren-Ferrari (unlikely combo) to Ron Dennis super march McLaren-Ferrari season to season as it’s a team name changing.

        Each year there is a time by which the constructor name can be changed and if missed then they lose money/jump through hoops. Lotus Racing was contructor Lotus with the Racing just part of the team name. Team Lotus is constructor Lotus with Team part of the team name. Hence no change. Renault to Lotus Renault is still Renault Constructor and Renault as sponsorship so that can change, but the car is still a Renault as Lotus is similiar to Marlboro or Petronas currently. It would need to change the constructors name to Lotus in order for it actually be a Lotus.

  2. Ben G says:

    Round 1 to Group. But a long way to go.

    1. Clinton says:

      I think its “Round 1 to Team Lotus”.

      My understanding is that Group Lotus brought the application for summary judgement to get the main case dismissed on the basis that there is no case.

      Group Lotus lost the summary judgement application as the court decided there was a case to be heard.

      1. Ben G says:

        You very rarely ‘win’ summary judgements. They are often retaliatory efforts against the original claim, in this case from Team saying Group acted wrongly in ending their licence. Group were always unlikely to succeed in stopping the case about the licence going ahead to a fuller hearing – they did after all terminate the licence very suddenly.

        The win for Group yesterday was that a high court judge looked at all the elements as a whole – including Group’s case that Team cannot use the name Lotus in F1 (that’s the real biggie as far as Fernandes is concerned) – and decided it should all be sorted out PDQ in one case. That’s good for Group because it ups the pressure on Fernandes at the outset of the season. Not surprisingly, Team yesterday were arguing for a longer delay.

      2. David Ryan says:

        I would have said that Group Lotus failing to push the case through to summary judgment is more of a setback for them than either you or they (via their statement) are making out. As has been previously pointed out, an application for summary judgment in this instance would in effect be a claim that the defendant (GL) had no case to answer. By rejecting the application, Justice Smith has concluded there is in fact a case to answer. The drive for resolving the case as soon as possible is not particularly new – it has been the case since the Civil Procedure Rules were introduced – and the court date suggests it has been assigned to the so-called “multi-track” route in the High Court which is standard and does not signify any particular leaning one way or the other by the judge as to the likely outcome. His comments will be more of an attempt to incite the parties to resolve this dispute, which is perfectly understandable given the duration of it and the potential harm caused. It’s difficult to comment without the actual case report, but on face value it is a setback for Group Lotus.

    2. Jack says:

      in what way is it round 1 to group?? Group is the Renault one mate, Team is the Fernandez one.

    3. Soeren says:

      :D :D :D

      So you’re an employee of Group Lotus?

      That’s again utter rubbish coming from Group Lotus, contorting the truth just like calling a black sheep white.

      If one party (Group Lotus) applies for a summary judgement, they do this hoping the judge decides in their favour right there and then, avoiding full trial.

      The judge declined to make a summary judgement. So if Group Lotus now say they’re happy with the outcome it just means they can’t admit that they got kicked in the face.

      1. Ben G says:

        I have no connection with Group Lotus. I am, however, a Lotus fan and have owned Lotus cars. When I support ‘Lotus’, therefore, I mean the great Norfolk-based car making company founded by Colin Chapman, not some disused shell of a company bought off the shelf for use by 1MalaysiaRacing.

  3. Sick of it all, this whole Lotus Renault vs. Renault-Lotus story. And we are not even close to either the season’s start, or the end of this destructive dispute. Economic turmoil… Say again?

    1. Sebee says:

      I hope I’m not the only one that feels like the media is being played here by Lotus in a marketing move. The ink and bytes they are gettin are well worth the legal fees. In the end, they can’t loose.

  4. jordan says:

    Why would it be in Team Lotus’ interest not to have the case settled until later in the year? Certainly the complications of two Lotuses must be making it difficult for them to attract sponsors as well.

  5. Steve Rogers says:

    Any information on exactly what the T-shirt issue was? Pictures?

    1. Jack says:

      yeah, i’ve not seen this issue covered anywhere, rust rough allusions to it

  6. Nick in Dubai says:

    There were rumours that renault-genni were running low on cash last season and almot missed payroll. if group lotus were to loose this case, presumably their sponsorship of Renault could be seen as passing off and a termination enforced.

    Should that happen, could Genni-Renault-Lotus collapse before the end of the season?

    1. Brian says:

      Is the marketing value of the Lotus brand so valuable that it will be worth this foolishness? The Lotus name can only be made great again with results on the track. But that takes time. As you point out, perhaps this is their only route to survival.

      1. Soeren says:

        “The Lotus name can only be made great again with results on the track.”

        I agree wholeheartedly! And maybe that’s why Fernandes started where he did, building up a team, even if it takes at least some years until they enjoy real success in F1, if ever.

        Fernandes is an extremely successful company leader / owner / CEO and the thing he’s good at (apparently) is getting things onto the right path right from the start, with a clear idea about where you want the company to go and about what is your market or target group.

        Dany Bahar is (only) a moderately successful marketing guy, so his approach is starting by painting everything rosy and cool, hoping that the products and their quality and the consumers and the company’s market share follow suit. A bit like a self-fulfilling prophecy. Ok, maybe that’s just another description of marketing …

  7. Pinball says:

    There is only one Lotus in Formula 1, the other is just a naming rights sponsor.

    Lotus had always been a manufacturer, coming along and slapping your logo on the side of a car that some other organisation has designed, developed, and built does not make you a manufacturer, and therefore in my eyes not Lotus.

    So that leaves 1Malaysia as the closest thing to a real Lotus. In a couple of years once Proton / Malaysian Government has had to sell Group Lotus off to 1Malaysia because the business plan has gone to sh!t, then it will be the complete real Lotus.

    1. Steven says:

      WHile Im on Tony Fernandes’s side, there is NO Lotus in Fourmula 1. The FIA should ban the use of old team names, like Lotus, BRM, Tyrrel, Brahbam, Cooper, those are the ones that come mind. The we wouldnt have these stupid fights!

    2. seisteve says:

      Oh Boy… this would be a great conclusion to the whole story.

    3. Robbiehooper says:

      Here here. That’s what I hope will happen!

    4. Ben G says:

      So you’re saying that someone who buys a disused racing team off the shelf is closer to the ‘real’ Lotus than the company which has made Lotus cars continuously since its founding? If Fernandes and Team view themselves as the only ‘real’ Lotus, why did they race under licence from Group last year?

    5. unoc says:

      One is based in Norfolk, one uses the Team Lotus name. One runs Team Lotus colours. One is Lotus as Constructor. That is Team Lotus as of 2011 and they are Lotus.

      Neither are the same as past Lotus, but as a reincarnation of old Team Lotus, new Team Lotus is a real Team Lotus. It is picking up where the old team lotus left off.

      Renault just has Lotus badges on it. It is as much a Lotus as the Ferrari is a Marlboro (ironically would be much more likely to accept Ferrari as a Santander currently…) or McLaren being called Vodaphone.

      Just an interesting philosiphical question. If Group Lotus painting a Renault makes it Lotus and retures Lotus to F1, then given Marlboro has worked with McLaren and now Ferrari.

      Is Ferrari the real McLaren?

  8. jonrob says:

    From the IP registrations, (the links to which I have posted here twice) it is very clear that Lotus on It’s own may be used for everything except F1, whilst Team Lotus is registered for F1 only.
    Thus in fact Group Lotus were somewhat dishonest in licensing the Lotus name out in the first place. Both could be sued by David Hunt, though obviously it is unlikely that he will sue Tony, but said some months ago that he may take action against Danny boy. (Broadsword calling….:-) )
    Luckily our judge chose to hear all the evidence, will Bahar’s credibility with Proton last until the trial?

    1. Baron Von Awesome says:

      Actually Group Lotus have a trademark to use the name Lotus in F1, the only debate is around who has the right to the term Team Lotus.

      1. jonrob says:

        No they don’t, their registration specifically excludes F1. I suppose I will have to post the links yet again; read for yourself here: http://www.ipo.gov.uk/t-find-number?detailsrequested=C&trademark=2289924

        Whilst Team lotus is for F1 only. http://www.ipo.gov.uk/domestic?domesticnum=1337455

        Remeber (again) that in order for an F1 team to change it’s name all other teams have to agree.

      2. jonrob says:

        You may also like to check the “CABC Team Lotus” IP registration here :http://www.ipo.gov.uk/t-find-number?detailsrequested=C&trademark=2560767 and please take particular note of to whom it is registered and also of class 34 which could knock Renault’s JPS livery on the head.

  9. Baron Von Awesome says:

    Team Lotus did not want those court cases brought forward, in fact they argued to push the date back to after the first race at least. Considering a summary judgement is seldom granted in such cases it’s actually a bad outcome for Team Lotus, in 8 or so weeks they could effectively cease to exist.

    1. jonrob says:

      The date is after the first two races.

      Danny boy Bahar is becoming an embarrassment to Proton. (As I gather, he was to Ferrari before.)

      I still predict Tony buying Lotus from Proton for £1 within 3 years, after Bahar has bankrupted them or at least Proton has called a halt to feeding the money pit of Baharr’s ego.

      1. unoc says:

        Somehow I think that you may be right. Doubt it will be a token like 1 pound. But it will be a small amount. And then Lotus will have a supercar but will mostly go back to light weight designs.

        Fernandes remember is a great Business man. He is rather rich and has pulled AirAsia into what it is today. If he had the opportunity then I doubt that he would decide against buying it low and makeing it big.

  10. Prisoner Monkeys says:

    I’m sick of this battle of egos. For the love of the sport, will someone PLEASE just yield already!?

    1. seisteve says:

      I agree but the problem is who? Group Lotus can obviously not rename themselves or the sponsorship is useless, Team Lotus would not have a problem if their 5 year contract was still valid as they would not need to re-name.

      The only outcome (assuming the contract is deemed valid and was inappropriately cancelled)is that Group lotus Pay Team Lotus a large amount to change their name and re-brand… unfortunately the fans would not like it and treat Lotus Renault accordingly.

      Bottom line is that the guy Proton brought in to strategically place Lotus as the UK Porsche is not very good at strategy…

      1. unoc says:

        You mean convincing people to buy Malaysian supercars from an almost dead British light weight car maker over Ferraris/Lamborghinis/Maseratis/Aston Martins/etc… isn’t such a good idea?

        Given the current row one has to wonder how the 5 new cars will come out and how the public will react.

        Disfavouring the public right now could be a massive blow not only F1 wise, but also selling cars wise.

  11. Nick F says:

    It would have been good if they could have gotten this whole thing over before the season starts.

  12. Tombob says:

    James, what do you see the outcome being in this whole saga?

    If Team Lotus win, they’ll be forced to carry on promoting the Lotus brand and even if they choose not to, the chassis will remain a “Lotus”.

    If they lose, do you think it could signal the end of the team should they have to rename the chassis and forfiet their revenue share?

    I guess my point is that whichever way, Team Lotus will not come out of this well, bar some compensation money perhaps?

    1. James Allen says:

      It comes down to the original arrangements between Lotus Cars and Team Lotus then the rights TL still has and ten the grounds for ending the licence. Hard to say where the law is concerned

      1. Timo says:

        I think the situation is tilted heavily in favor of Team Lotus: win or lose the court case, Team Lotus still wins, here’s why:

        The original suit (as James rightly pointed out) was brought by 1 Malaysia against Group Lotus alleging that Group Lotus improperly terminated the licensing arrangement. Group Lotus’ defence is that the termination was proper because 1 Malaysia had committed a material breach of contract by violating the terms of the license.

        Under the principles of contract law, it is very difficult for a party to be coerced into specific performance of the contract. Therefore, if 1 Malaysia is successful, the court will order Group Lotus to pay damages to 1 Malaysia to the extent of the foreseeable economic loss suffered by 1 Malaysia as a result of Group Lotus terminating the licensing arrangement.

        On the other hand, if Group Lotus was successful in the summary judgement plea, or is successful in the trial, the court will will uphold the termination of the licensing arrangement, and order 1 Malaysia to pay Group Lotus the legal costs.

        So assuming 1 Malaysia wins, Fernandez rakes in a lot of money from Group Lotus. And nothing happens from a team name perspective.

        If Group Lotus is successful in defending the suit, all that is established is that Group Lotus was right in terminating the licensing arrangement. Even in this scenario, nothing happens from the team name perspective because 1 Malaysia is NOT requiring Group Lotus to continue the licensing arrangement. 1 Malaysia does not, at present, need Group Lotus to use the Team Lotus name in F1.

        The current court proceedings do not have any effect on the team name issue. All it does is provide bargaining rights to one party or the other to successfully buy out the other persons interest in the brand, whether Team Lotus, or Group Lotus.

        The only way Group Lotus can force 1 Malaysia to refrain from using the Team Lotus name is to bring an action for “passing off” against 1 Malaysia, basically saying that 1 Malaysia wants to unfairly benefit from the brand awareness created by Lotus cars. I doubt this will work because 1 Malaysia is not in the business of building road cars that can unfairly compete with Group Lotus’ road cars.

        Sorry for the long-winded comment, but the end result is 1 Malaysia stands to win one way or the other. 1 Malaysia has no critical business interest to protect by continuing to use the Lotus name. This makes me wonder that the real reason Fernandez is fighting for this, just maybe, is that he is lining up the pieces to checkmate Proton into someday selling him Group Lotus.

        Remember: Fernandez is an extremely successful businessman. And Bahar is, well, an employee jumping from shop to shop in search for his three minutes of fame. At the end of the day, business is business!

      2. Bob says:

        Best comment yet.

        Thanks

      3. RichT says:

        Case well put! As Group, never had any involvement in F1, and Team, never had any involvement in road cars, then that further strengthens what you outline.

        As an aside; perhaps someone should tell that to Nigell Mansell, him coming out in support of Group Lotus earlier this month, pledging his support for Group, saying, quote:

        ” I am delighted to see the return of Group Lotus to Formula One through its acquisition of an equity stake in Renault F1,”…

        I’ll leave you all to make up your own minds why he said it, but really, he should know better, that Group were never involved in F1. Too many knocks, perhaps?

      4. Glynn Harrold says:

        Interesting comments. So is this legal dispute only about the contract termination? I (like may others I think) were under the impression that the court case was about the right for Team Lotus to use that name for it’s F1 team?

      5. James Allen says:

        It is both, as far as I’m aware

  13. Graham says:

    I really hope it all gets sorted quickly – this wrangle is overshadowing the build up to a really exciting season.
    Do most fans want to back the underdog? Of course they do.

    Without all this lot, we’d all still be rooting for Renault to get back amongst the big 4; now I fear Behar’s lack of respect for a deal done and signed for 5 years, plus his subsequent bullying tactics will really dampen the enthusiasm surrounding the Renault team last year – it makes you feel sorry for Kubica.

    1. Hisham Akhtar says:

      Kubica always seems to be overshadowed by team politics doesn’t he? First BMW choosing to stop development in 2008 and making a dog in 2009 and then by the end of 2009 when BMW bounced he joined Renault, there was similar speculation over whether Renault would quit and now this…the guy needs a stable team that will consistently give him a car to challenge for victories and championships

    2. Bastosman says:

      I agree, I think this saga has undone a lot of the goodwill Renault have earned in the past couple of years. No doubt Kubica is one of the main reasons, but I think people were generally behind Genni Capital. Despite the right and wrongs, I really don’t think Group Lotus have done themselves any favours in the eyes of neutral F1 fans.

      Having said that, sport is like politics, in that peoples’ memories are short – come next year this will all be in the distant past.

  14. And meanwhile I expect Bernie is loving it, tons of free publicity. And as the old saying goes: there is no such thing as bad publicity.

    1. Steven says:

      Exactly!!

    2. jonrob says:

      “And meanwhile I expect Bernie is loving it, tons of free publicity. And as the old saying goes: there is no such thing as bad publicity.”

      Well, er, um, normally I would agree with you there wholeheartedly, but there seems to be a big dollop of nasty flying Bernie’s way involving offshore banks, and ex banker and €50m.
      However there is a long way to go and a lot of rope to be paid out yet. Just pinning Bernie down to one country to be expedited from is an impossible task, and since he usually comes up smelling of roses, maybe he will make use of it in his own way. On the other hand he may be retiring anyway.
      One thing is sure, there is no one who can hold a candle to his business skills or what he has done for F1.

  15. pdac says:

    Can someone please give me a definitive answer on this one …

    Everyone keeps suggesting that there are two ‘Lotus’ teams for next season. But my understanding is that Tony Fernandes ‘Team Lotus’ are the only one that has a chance of appearing with the word ‘Lotus’ in their name.

    He has already submitted his entry using the ‘Team Lotus’ name. The court case is about whether he is allowed to use it. If he loses, then it is my understanding that he will have to change the team name.

    This is my confusion, though. My understanding is also that, in order for the Renault team to use ‘Lotus’ in their name, they would have to have the unanimous approval of all teams (they need to change their name). Surely, then, Tony Fernandes would not give is approval and so they would not be ‘Lotus’ next year.

    Is that not right?

    1. David McVey says:

      No that isn’t right actually. The car is registerred with the FIA as a Renault, Group Lotus are just title Sponsor.

      The convenient thing about the Lotus Renault GP name is that it gives the impression of Renault merely doing engine supply to a Lotus branded team but in reality Renault have built the whole car and it is on the entry list as a Renault. Group Lotus have done little more than write an IOU.

      Only if they changed the Chassis name on the entry list would they require the approval of the Pirahna Club.

      1. pdac says:

        Thank David. I think that is sort of what I was saying. I’ve just looked on the FIA website and found the 2011 entry list containing the following details:

        Team: RENAULT F1 TEAM(FRA)
        Constructor: Renault

        Team: TEAM LOTUS(MAL)
        Constructor: Lotus Renault

        So, there is only one Lotus team entered for next year – why is everyone making out there is two??

        Are they simply following the hype that Danny Bahar is putting out or is it just the press being stupid and/or trying to fill some column inches?

  16. I bet we’d all prefer to have one and only Lotus in F1 to avoid confusion – it’s a real double confuser this one. It’ll be tricky to for commentators too.

    1Malaysia Racing are quite persistent I see but they’re kings of nothing. It’s like trying to built the city of London on Mars and then claiming it’s the same thing as the one that used to exist on planet Earth. Group Lotus are more about building New London on Mars.

    I suppose Ferrari doesn’t feel the same without Enzo. Having Team Lotus without the man who created it makes little sense. Funny that Trulli was speaking about Chapman the other day and how he felt connected to the man. Hmm, what’s next I wonder? It’s not normal I think.

  17. M.Wishart says:

    I simply support team lotus and hope they move forward from this saga. Tony has gone about his racing in the right and correct manner, as well as trying to do the right thing by the history of the name within F1. Where as Danny is jumping on the band wagon that left months before he ever arrived.

    1 question to everyone, what are your feelings about the Chapman family and how they have gone about their business??

    I for one felt very sad for Tony once they decided to change sides, and hope the grass in brown over on that side…..!

    1. Tom says:

      i don’t think it’s fair to critise the Chapmans. however they manage the estate depends on what their situation was at the time, and quite literally it is their business and no-one elses.

      My personal opinion on the matter however is that both of these teams are dragging a wonderful part of motor sport history through the mud.
      money, some would say, is the root of evil today.

      1. Rick J says:

        Have to say differently. I think it is regrettable for the Chapman’s to have succumbed to whatever pressure they caved in under and reversed their position. Sort of flies in the face of that old fashioned but still worthy notion that an Englishman’s word is his bond.

        Also I don’t think Tony Fernandes can be accused of dragging the Lotus name through the mud – and I don’t think this is just about money.

        In my opinion, Bahar is at fault. He is causing damage to the Lotus brand. Hope the shareholders are taking note.

    2. garyp says:

      If the Chapmans didn’t want the Team Lotus name to be used they shouldn’t have sold the rights, a bit hypocritical really.

  18. bones says:

    On the F1 official website they have been calling group Lotus simply Renault,I think they know what the outcome will be.

    1. Adrian J says:

      That’s because they are simply Renault.

      Group Lotus is a sponsor, you don’t see them calling Mercedes “Petronas” or McLaren “Vodafone” for the same reason.

      There was a report a few months back that GL had bought a 25% stake in the team, however this has since been refuted by Genii Capital.

      In fact I find it interesting that Renault themselves have pointed out this fact too…I wonder if they see which way the wind in blowing??

    2. RichT says:

      They are listed with the FIA as entrants for 2011 as RENAULT F1 TEAM. That, subject to change, for whatever reason, of course.

  19. telbr says:

    Whatever the ruling will be, I think Team Lotus, especially 1Malaysia and Tony Fernandes, will suffer in the end. 1Malaysia investing lots of money with the intention to make a lot more from Lotus name in F1 through sponsorship and merchandising. But current and potential sponsors would not want to associate with Team Lotus if they see Kubica and Petrov lapping Team Lotus cars race after race. The sponsors may jump to other midfield teams or, if they really want to be associated with Lotus, to Group Lotus Renault. As for merchandising, only diehard Team Lotus fans may buy the merchandise.

    1. Adrian J says:

      You’re assuming here that Renault build a better car than Team Lotus…

      Since winning the championship in 2006, Renault have really only built a competitive car last year, so there is no assumption that they won’t be back in the mid-pack.

      As for Team Lotus, they will have one of the best rear-end packages on the grid – along with a long gestation time for the car and some talented guys back in the factory.

      It would be a pleasant surprise, but there’s a chance Team Lotus could be on a par with Renault this season…

      Now that really would put the cat among the pigeons!!

      1. Baron Von Awesome says:

        There is no chance. Even Fernandes has admitted there is no chance. On their best day 1 Malaysia are not as good as LRGP on their worst day.

      2. jonrob says:

        Shirley Team Lotus will have exactly the same Renault engine/gearbox package as Renault, it’s being supplied from the same source and is ostensibly the same.

  20. tomek says:

    James (hope it is not completely off topic question), do you have any information about HP as a sponsor of Renault in 2011? On the new livery their logo is not present. Did they have only one year contract with Renault? Or is this lack of HP logo related to the arrival of Group Lotus within the team?

  21. Stevie P says:

    For me, the black n gold liveried team will be a Renault and the green n yellow (if that’s what they go with) will be a Lotus in 2011. In 2010, there was a team with ‘BMW’ in the title – I still called it a Sauber. What’s in a name, hey!?!?!?!? ;-)

  22. telbr says:

    I really do hope that Team Lotus as well as HRT and Virgin to be fighting for points this year instead of just rolling chicanes like last year. However, even with talented people on their payroll, they may not have enough money to finance car development, especially without title/major sponsors. Their real hope would be that their planned developments and budgets can be met and sustained through the season. As for Renault, it has almost guaranteed money from Group Lotus/Proton even though that may not happen, pending decision from Proton’s bank

  23. john g says:

    when i was young my mum used to say that if i couldn’t play nicely then she’d take my toys away. would be quite funny if we ended up with renault F1 and 1Malaysia!! Afterall, apart from the paint schemes nothing have anything to do with chapmans F1 lotus team.

  24. James says:

    I think it’s a safe bet to assume that the Renault Lotus team will have the faster car this year, and more ability to advance it. So why would Fernandes want to have the Lotus B-Team? That’s how most people will see it. Results matter, and his team will end up looking like a slightly awkward Torro Rosso.

    1. Andy C says:

      I’m not so sure about that by tge end of next year. They’ve just slotted in the same engine, one of the best transmissions in f1, have two good drivers and have recruited some really good tech staff.

      It will pivot on whether Renault keep tge magic touch (last year every change they put on the car seemed to work straight out the box).

  25. Timo says:

    James,

    This case is about breach of contract, and not the intellectual property of the use of “Lotus” in F1. Pasting below Fernandez’ own words(extract from autosport):

    Fernandes himself said on Monday there was no possibility of the legal situation coming out of this week’s court case preventing Team Lotus from racing under that name in 2011.

    “Many confused about case today,” he wrote on his Twitter feed. “It’s not about Team Lotus name who owns it, which is in November. We brought that case to prove once and for all.

    “Today’s case is Group [Lotus] desperate attempt to use their one way unlawful termination of license agreement of Lotus Racing. Saying 1Malaysia can’t use Lotus [name]. Part of post termination clauses. So nothing changes on Team Lotus.”

  26. Bernard says:

    Group Lotus mean as much to F1 as other sponsors do. Putting stickers on cars does not grant you a global soapbox.

    Group Lotus have contributed peanuts to my enjoyment of F1. 500 million+ fans watch this sport with a passion for the people who work day in day out building and racing F1 cars – not for the people who hand cheques over in the hope of projecting their agendas.

  27. Meeklo says:

    In the Renault livery article its mentioned that the team was working on the Lotus deal since August2010. Its interesting that knowing this Renault still did a deal to provide engines to TonyFernadez for 2011. Would it not have been in their best interest to not supply engines to Fernadez?

  28. Soeren says:

    James, what did Team Lotus lose? Their opponent’s application for a summary judgement was rejected. So … what exactly is now worse for Team Lotus than it was before?

  29. chris green says:

    Fernandes could throw in the towel and rename the team – JPS – then take Proton/Lotus/Renault to task over the black and gold livery. lol

  30. Julien says:

    I understand that group lotus does not own a single share of Renault F1 at present and were just a sponsor and team lotus is a manufacturer in F1…what might be the stand of FOM on this?

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