F1 World Champion 2014
Lewis Hamilton
It’s Lotus vs Lotus again!
News
It’s Lotus vs Lotus again!
Posted By: James Allen  |  13 Jan 2011   |  5:48 pm GMT  |  192 comments

Today we had the official unveiling of the new black and gold livery by the Renault team, now sponsored by Group Lotus.

And with amazing timing, this evening the other Lotus, now known as Team Lotus, has put out a provocative video on You Tube of the rebranding of its HQ at Hingham with the classic Team Lotus logo and colour scheme.

Just before Christmas Hazel and Clive Chapman, the widow and son of Lotus founder Colin Chapman, issued a statement saying that they no longer support the efforts of Tony Fernandes’ team and do not wish him to call it Team Lotus. This was a blow to Fernandes who made much of the Chapman family’s support in the launch of the team and throughout last season.

But there has always been a faultline over what is Lotus and what is Team Lotus. After Group Lotus withdrew the five year licence for Fernandes’ team to use the Lotus name, on the grounds of a dispute over a T shirt and Fernandes struck a deal with David Hunt to use the rights to Team Lotus, the Chapman family lined up with Group Lotus and its CEO Danny Behar. They all feel that Team Lotus should be left to rest in peace.

Fernandes was at Hingham last week and today’s video shows the response of Fernandes and his technical director Mike Gascoyne to that pre-Christmas development.

The High Court in London is due to hear the dispute between the two sides this summer, but many in the F1 paddock feel that the season cannot be allowed to start with the uncertainty hanging. F1 sponsors I have spoken to recently all say that they would have a major problem with sponsoring either team with this confusion in place. But neither side looks remotely like backing down at the moment.

Meanwhile the Lotus sponsored Renault team has said today that it will race under a British racing licence. The team is based in Enstone, Oxfordshire, but as Renault is a French company they raced under a French licence. With Group Lotus’ involvement they have gone British.

Featured News
MORE FROM JA ON F1...
Share This:
Posted by:
Category:
Tags:
192 Comments
  1. The question is what Tony gets from Team Lotus moniker? He’s not building and selling them cars right? I mean why bother at all?

    TF and Mike certainly have nothing to do with Chapman’s heritage or whatever they’ve been claiming all this time. It’s a bubble that’s about to burst, they should also be careful or they’ll end up without Renault power (certainly RBR technology won’t be very useful without it), I bet monsieur Ghosn is not too impressed as his contract is with 1Malaysia and Renault’s corporate website mentions only one Lotus-branded team – that’s Lotus Renault GP. A very bleak PR campaign from the so-called British “Team Lotus” (Made in Malaysia).

    Finally, who let the dogs out at the end of the video?

      1. Feynman says:

        Never trust anyone that doesn’t like dogs, the fact Mike’s dogs have their own space in the Team Lotus factory is great fun.

        http://twitpic.com/14a7cf

        As for the Renault (yes Renault), since the team is Genii Capital, shouldn’t the license be neither French nor British, but a Luxembourgian one?

        … although, I just youtubed the anthem, and a dreadful old dirge it is too, makes the British one sound positively upbeat – not that it probably matters much either way for 2011.

        If they don’t soon fill up some of those gaps on the livery, I think we might all see one Lotus sooner than anyone expected.

      2. Ah, thanks for clearing that up. I didn’t know Mike was a dog person, well, he has got a canine nickname so I should’ve known better.

  2. PaulL says:

    Sham Lotus!

  3. Alexis says:

    “Just before Christmas Hazel and Clive Chapman, the widow and son of Lotus founder Colin Chapman, issued a statement saying that they no longer support the efforts of Tony Fernandes’ team and do not wish him to call it Team Lotus.”

    Well, sorry, but talk about messing people about. Lotus Racing / Team Lotus have started from nothing and built up a great little team in Norfolk, really representing what Chapman and Lotus were all about.

    And now they’re throwing their backing against a Malaysian conglomerate who are just a title sponsor for a French team??

    The whole Renault situation is nuts. It’s like Ford having Vauxhall as a title sponsor. Or Ferrari using Peugeot engines.

    Madness.

    Good luck to Fernandes and Gascoigne – the true Lotus team.

    1. Feynman says:

      … Regarded more as a triumph of bullying and bribery by Bahar, than any substantial comment on the way Fernandes ran his operation.

      The Chapman’s Classic Lotus business was put in fear for its continued use of naming rights (Group has some very recent form at that sort of stunt), and at the same time an inducement was in the form of a small museum sited at Group Lotus to house some of Classic Lotus cars was made to the family.

      If you read the press release, it read more like a hostage statement than any glowing endorsement of the Bahar’s operation.

      They got nobbled.

    2. Ikertzeke says:

      “The true Lotus team”… The only thing “Lotus” in that team is the name, five words, calling that, using five words “true Lotus team” is TRULY amazing.
      From my part, I consider both Lotus teams fake.

    3. Frenchie says:

      You never know. With the 2013 regulations, Ferrari maybe be tempted by the one company that started the turbo era in F1. 1.6L 4 cylinder turbo engines isn’t exactly what Ferrai are famous for.

      Scuderia Ferrari Renault Marlboro. This almost sounds like an invitation to get Briatore back in F1. :-)

    4. Dave says:

      Mind you, we have already had BMW Ferrari…

    5. Jimbonic says:

      Or BMW using a Ferrari engine….. !!

  4. Eno The Wonderdog says:

    Well I don’t care what license they race under – Renault & Bahar’s Lotus is a fraud. The pulling of the license was more to do with Malaysian government moves to sell Proton and another loss making government car maker for a dollar as they did with the national airline that has now become Asia Air. Stealing the black and gold Fernandes was pushing all last year was just poor grace. After giving the license for 5 years the new boss (Bahar) came in & right royally pheasanted boot old Fernandes.

    1. eVilsin says:

      Since when air asia came from national airline? Malaysian national airline ‘Malaysia Airlines System’ (M.A.S) it’s still a alive and kicking with 5 star skytrax rating from 1 of 7 airlines in the world…

  5. F1supremo says:

    Which is the REAL Lotus? I would say it’s the one that has the most Chapman DNA. Chapman set up Lotus Cars, the company that is sponsoring Renault and whose team ran the original black and gold livery.

    Lotus Racing did a great job last year, given the prep time they had, but their ownership of the Team Lotus name – which may well stand up in court – is nothing but a marketing exercise. There’s no Chapman DNA here.

    1. ian says:

      How true.

    2. iceman says:

      And a Renault with a Proton-owned badge slapped on the side somehow embodies the true spirit of Colin Chapman? More like “nothing more than a marketing exercise.”

    3. Steve Jarvis says:

      Despite Team Lotus having some of the engineers who worked with Team lotus back in the early 90′s? That said Neither should be allowed to use the name

  6. Kam says:

    Not much to add other than this stupid!
    Typical F1- so much good could have been achieved, instead F1 looks foolish.
    Man Utd and Man City get on with it fine.

  7. John M says:

    I just wish this whole mess would go away.

    Neither of the teams are really Lotus. They’re just marketing the name. Take it to court, settle it, whatever…just get it figured out already.

    In the meantime, this just kind of sullies the Lotus name.

    1. Stickman says:

      Agreed.

      Only the lawyers will benefit from this debacle. Meanwhile F1 looks foolish (again).

    2. ian says:

      Group Lotus are Lotus.

      1. Mat says:

        Group Lotus are Proton pretending to be Lotus. They are a sham quite honestly. Firstly they see Fernandes in F1 and gathering a lot of good will and then they decide that they want a piece of that action too and enter F1. They see Fernandes wanting to give his car the black & gold livery and again Group copy that just to act as spoilers.

      2. tonybcc says:

        Don`t forget that Tony Fernandes tried to buy Lotus Group, don`t be fooled he is a smart bussines man same as Danny Bahar they all want money Danny for lotus Tony for his company. They all useing lotus as an excuse

  8. CTP says:

    i think we’re starting to see on which side of the fence james is pitching his tent.

      1. richy says:

        The Lotus side….

        :P

      2. ian says:

        I see no bias – no harm liking and respecting the people involved.

    1. Mario says:

      who is we?

      1. Ben says:

        No, we is who? Is we Who? Errr moving on…

        It’s like my Mum used to say to my brother and I;

        “If you can’t play nicely none of you will have it.”

        Its Proton Renault and Air Asia Racing… done, thanks see you tomorrow.

      2. DC says:

        i’m with you on that one Ben. Proton Renault and Air Asia Racing…. think i’ll be calling them that from now on and ignore all the nonsense surrounding the rest…

        I think the FIA should look at the “bringing the sport into disrepute” rule over this and step in!

      3. James says:

        Brilliant!

  9. Colin says:

    Ah, F1 wouldn’t be the same without a few fights. Honestly, i.m more interested in the politics than the racing. The cars are amazing, and the tactics very interesting but politics is where its at for me. Dani Behr must be delighted that this is happening, massive exposure for his new team just at the launch of new lotus. Neither wants to back down, but Tony F is onto a hiding to nothing here. It.s all about money, sponsorship to be precise, and neither team is going to make what they should with the current situation. James, is their a specific historical reason why the Chapman family want the team lotus name not to be used? If not i believe they should quietly stay in the background. By giving up the rights to the name i feel they should in quietly into the night and keep their opinions to themselves. Thanks for consistently excellent blogs!

  10. Stu says:

    Well Team Lotus have an identity already and it’s not a big jump for people to equate Lotus Racing with Team Lotus because little has changed.

    The Renault that is no longer a Renault however doesn’t have any real Lotus identity because everyone knows its a Renault with Renault drivers, a black paint job and an oversized Lotus badge on the front.

    The very fact that Fernandes team has been there a whole season already means that Group lotus will struggle to win the “battle of the brands” by such means alone.

    Certainly most F1 fans will fail to make any connection with it other than a rebrand so I don’t see them getting a big following based on that alone – just like Renault really!

    1. Steven says:

      The problem is that the average F1 is not as informed as you and I, the everage F1 fan doesnt really follow the stories like most of the readeres of this site, so they will be confused.

  11. Richard M says:

    The livery does not really look very nice, the red Total parts make it look rubbish.

    I think Team Lotus should just re-name themselves ‘Air Asia’ or something and Lotus-Renault should be Proton-Renault. They both should just leave the name Lotus alone, I mean it is ok Ferrari carrying on after Enzo Ferrari or Williams carrying on after Frank goes or Mclaren carrying on after Bruce Mclaren, but you would not really reanimate any of these teams after they had finished and I think it is the same for Lotus. It is ok to carry on after the founder dies in their spirit but then when they finish they are finished, don’t try and resurrect an iconic brand for marketing purposes.

    1. ian says:

      I agree, so no ‘Team Lotus’. But group Lotus surely have the right to enter Formula One under their own name – ‘Lotus’.
      They do make rather good small sports cars, unlike say Renault.

      1. James Allen says:

        I need to find out more about the Team Lotus logo.

      2. Turnpike says:

        James, I just had a look at the UK Trademark register:

        Seems that the “CABC Lotus” logo belongs to Group Lotus, from way back, but “CABC Team Lotus” logo belongs to Team Lotus.

        However Group has recently filed a trademark application for “CABC Team Lotus” in the green and yellow colour scheme…

      3. James Allen says:

        THanks for that. What’s the link?

      4. jonrob says:

        I posted the links here weeks ago. Everyone ignored them.

        The use of the “Lotus” logo, wordmark and identity is expressly forbidden in F1 (including with Renault) whilst that of “Team Lotus” is usable ONLY in F1 and is forbidden elsewhere. It is very simple and clearly stated.

        “Lada Proton Lotus Renault” are registered as “Renault” and a full entrant teams vote in favour would be required to allow a name change to “Lotus Renault”, an occurrence which James himself has stated, is most unlikely.

        Looking at the Group Lotus Finances, I am pretty sure that Tony could own ALL rights both Group and Team Lotus within 3-5 years.

        The accounts are downloadable from http://wck2.companieshouse.gov.uk/ for £1 per complete document. You will need Group Lotus plc (06060189) and Lotus Group International Ltd (02831840) to get a better picture. (Gasp at the amazing losses! Thrill to the massive loans, shudder at the huge number of directors!!!) I cannot post the documents here due to copyright etc. But if there are any accountants out there please see if you come to the same conclusions as me, bearing in mind Mr Bahar’s stated car program of 5 new models and becoming a British Porsche. (I believe a £4Bn to £5Bn disaster let alone the financial black hole of an F1 team.

      5. Christopher Hobbs says:

        Of course Lotus can enter F1 with their own name, problem is – they arn’t, they are entering as a sponsor of a Genii run renault chassis/engine.
        VIVA Team Lotus!!

    2. Bastosman says:

      Yeah, I agree with both points. The livery looks pretty crap; the red doesn’t fit in, all the sponsors names on the nose just look a mess, and that strange gold looped stripe on the side pods really doesn’t work for me.

      I also think 1Malaysia should just give up on the Lotus thing, despite doing a great job (and producing a far nicer livery). They have the good will of the fans and much of the paddock so will be able to survive the identity change. I’d like to see them stick with the green colour scheme though, it does look really nice.

      I’d also add that the ‘casual F1 fan’ people keep referring to is not going to give much of toss about the Lotus name anyways.

      1. Mario says:

        They would’ve given up on the Lotus thing if it wasn’t for them wanting to get involved in making and selling cars. They thought doing that under well known Lotus brand was a good idea and that was the reason they came to F1 in the first place. It is all now in tatters as Bahar succeeds in making their life difficult and as they do not feel like building a new car brand from scratch they need to keep on going with this Lotus thing. So if you thought it was just about racing in F1, think again.

  12. AB says:

    So, Lotus Renault GP Team will have the Lotus logo, and Team Lotus from Tony Fernandes will have a Team Lotus logo… say whaaaat???

    This is something really stupid, i’m not sure what they want with this!!

    1. ian says:

      Does fernandes have the tight to that logo? It’s not a ‘Team Lotus’ logo, it’s a Lotus logo.

      1. Dan says:

        It IS a Team Lotus logo. It is the only Lotus-related logo that’s actually allowed to be used in F1, as that’s what the trademark covers. Group Lotus and their logo that goes on the cars, isn’t allowed to used in F1. Proof of that is actually on last year’s Lotus Racing car. They didn’t use the Lotus logo despite having the naming licence from the car company.

        Tony Fernandes now owns Team Lotus Ventures Ltd., the company David Hunt setup around Team Lotus when he took it over in the final part of the 1994 season. That company has existed solely to retain the rights to the Team Lotus name and trademarks, and Hunt has stated he had been trying to find a Fernandes figure (a man who loves Lotus, and had the money to bring it back) to sell the company on to for the last 16 years.

  13. Philip says:

    I still find myself leaning toasted “Green” Team Lotus as I believe the way Group Lotus has handled the situation appears, at least from the outside, to be morally wrong, totally unprofessional and the t-shirt argument to be pretty weak. I can’t deny that Behar runs a decent marketing operation as he spreads the word about the company. I really like to know how he gained so much support from a certain unnamed motor racing magazine and especially how he sold it to the Chapman family when the majority of fans were, possibly still are, in support of the Fernandes effort.

    1. Christopher Hobbs says:

      Totally agree, and as a buyer of that magazine for 30 years, I can’t even bring myself to look at it let alone pick it up. Even the magazine’s website forum is full of people dissmayed by the angle it’s taking!

  14. Jon says:

    There is only one Lotus though. Renault is still going to appear on screen as Renault, chassis is still called Renault.

    Bahar has just spent a small fortune of money he doesn’t have on sticking a few Lotus stickers on a Renault.

    Fernandes worked hard to bring Lotus back to F1 with the right intentions & respectful of the Chapman heritage. For Group to terminate the licence over a tshirt & then bribe the Chapman family with a museum & get ex drivers like Mansell on side by buying his kids rides in Evora cup says it all really.

    Go Team Lotus!

    1. Frenchie says:

      I think you’re missing the point. Group Lotus are gearing up to buy the Renault F1 chassis operations out of Genii.

      I imagine that it is the court case that stops Group Lotus from becoming a majority shareholder of the Enstone operations. Once this is resolved, I would expect the team to be rebranded as Lotus and Genii to become a minority shareholder.

      The Chapmans must have seen this coming and I assume this is the reason why they are lining up behind Bahar.

      Fernandes is a very wise business man and behind closed doors, there is probably more at stake than the branding of an F1 team.

      1. James Allen says:

        What I hear is that Lotus has a call option to buy some shares at the end of 2012, not necessarily the whole 100%.

      2. Frenchie says:

        I remember Gerard Lopez saying team ownership for the long haul; that it was a stepping stone for getting into F1.

        Have you got any more news as to what Lopez might do next?

      3. Jon says:

        Will Group Lotus have the money in 2012 ?

        Their road car program is ridiculously ambitious for such a small company & the question of where the money comes from has yet to be answered.

        They are chucking money they don’t have left right and centre. I hope Lotus cars are a success as a Lotus owner myself, but they are trying to punch way, way above their weight.

      4. Christopher Hobbs says:

        James, you met this Danny chap, did you ask him where the money will come from to buy out Genni?

      5. James Allen says:

        From Proton, so from Malaysia. How much is state money or private investment he didn’t say, but it seemed mostly state money

      6. Dale says:

        Remember even if Group lotus take a majority shareholding in the Renault/Genii team they’ll still need permission from the other teams to make a name change to Lotus and keep their TV rights money. I can think of one team in particular (Team Lotus) and possibly a couple of others who might oppose this – and they need unanimous support.

        I don’t think they can afford to make the name change without the support since then they lose a lot of cash based on previous performance and have to build it up again. For them I feel the money talks.

      7. Dan says:

        Ferrari and Red Bull would probably back Team Lotus too, as they both fired Dany Bahar and don’t have good relationships with him.

  15. Jeffrey says:

    This is such a dirty mess, and I think they are actuelly making it a lot harder on themselves. I understand Fernandaz, but wonder if he would not be to accept a certain buyout sum out of the contract (which he had with group lotus) and build a new brand, like 1malaysia, or AirAsia, or something new. I wonder if other names of previously succesful but now defunct f1 teams will also become interesting again. We might see ‘resurrections’ of teams like Tyrrell, Brabham, BRM in the near future…?

    One other thing I wondered is wether Lada will remain as a sponsor next year, as it ould mean 3 car companies branding one car, in different ways. seems pretty confusing to me… ;-)

  16. Thomas W says:

    This is crazy. Why are group Lotus sponsoring the Renault team when they could spend no money and go to no effort at all and have the Lotus brand enhanced by Team Lotus? Team Lotus when it was last in F1 was not the same as Group Lotus I don’t see why it should be an issue now. Even if there is no offical link the casual viewer would make a link between the Team Lotus and Group Lotus which would benifit Group Lotus.

    James do you know how Group Lotus are justifying all of this to their share holders?

    1. Hare says:

      They want to win, put simply. They are launching five new cars, and want to establish a pedigree to go with it. Team Lotus aren’t going to win races any time soon, nor do they believe that, though that’s why they’re in f1. Lotus Renault on the other hand, are real players, and can do very well next year and the foreseeable future.

      I love team lotus, but they’re not gonna win this one. I will still love them as Air Asia, as it’s the character of the team that I like.

      1. Christopher Hobbs says:

        What’s all this talk about Renault winning any time soon? Has Ferrari,RBR,McLaren and Brawn/Merc quit F1? Good luck Renault, your’e going to need it!

      2. Hare says:

        Don’t know if you’ve been following developments off season, but there is no Renault Team any more. It’s a ‘Lotus’ (Group Lotus) car, with a Renault engine.

        The point was, Renault have more chance to win than Tony and Mike’s outfit.

        Kubica, for example, had 3 podiums last year 1x2nd, and 2x 3rds, and placed in the top 5, 8 times! So Renault last year came wafer close to a win. They definitely have a chance this year, especially with Kubica in the car, and some Russian money coming in from Vitali’s friends-in-high-places situation.

        Remember it’s another rules mash up this season, with Kers coming in again, movable rear wings, new tires.. That’s the kinda thing that Brawn jumped on and won the WDC and the WCC with.

      3. Christopher Hobbs says:

        I think if you look at the f1 entry list it’s still a Renault owned by Genni sponsered by Group Lotus!

      4. Christopher Hobbs says:

        Plus, we had a very close running agresive top 5 last year who often took themselves off, so at least some of the old Renault’s points were handed on a plate.

  17. ian says:

    How exactly can Group Lotus back down?

    1. bouke says:

      Going up in flames and burning out, taking their car buisiness with them, I expect.

  18. ian says:

    Do ‘Team Lotus’ have the right to the CABC logo?

    1. Dan says:

      No, and they’re not using that one. They are using the Team Lotus logo, which is fully theirs and actually the only Lotus-related trademark allowed to be used within F1.

  19. d-d says:

    it’s not for the first time to see such dirty play by Fernandes and Gascoyne.
    Funny because actually *they* like to blame Group Lotus of such behaviour and lack of respect for Lotus brand. How cynical.

    1. Steven says:

      Fernandez and Gascoyne didnt make any dirty plays. The were leased the license for the name and then Group Lotus backed out. Team Lotus spent the money to make a name for themselves in F1, and now Group Lotus wants to reap the rewards that somebody else worked for. Thats dirty!!

    2. Kirk says:

      What have Fernandes and Gascoyne done? I see them simply trying to continue to run a team that they started from scratch last year – no one was complaining a year ago.

  20. mikr says:

    I’m becoming more of a “Team Lotus” fan everyday. It doesn’t hurt that I’m driving for them in F1 2010 the game.

  21. Serrated Edge says:

    In my opinion the situation has become ridiculous with both sides willing to back down.
    I agree with the view F1 cannot allow the season to start with both teams squabbling and bringing the sport into disrepute.
    Someone (Bernie Ecclestone?) needs to call both teams into a room and not allow them to leave until a solution is found.

    1. Philip James says:

      I don’t think it’s wise to get Bernie involved in this…he let a once great team fall to pieces (Brabham) after he built it up through the late 1970′s and early 80′s with Gordon Murray designing the car and Nelson Piquet (snr) winning two of his three world championships there, he sold the team in 1988 and they were never to regain their past glory. But still even when he owned them, it was never the same as when Jack Brabham himself had the team, Bernie ran it like he runs F1 now…not a shred of emotion in it. I was excited at the prospect of welcoming Lotus back to the grid at the start of last season after many years away, but i have to say i’d prefer it now if both teams just left it alone and let Colin Chapman’s (and later Peter Warr’s & Peter Collins’) Team Lotus to rest in peace – along with Chapman & Warr. We could look back at what might have been for the old Team Lotus, in it’s last season in 1994 they struggled on with an old-uncompetitive Mugen-Honda engine, starting the season also with the 107c car (a car that essentially was two years old, just modified from season to season) until the 109 (also with a lighter-more powerful engine from Mugen-Honda) was ready at Monza 1994 – Johnny Herbert put the car 4th on the grid, was also quick in the morning warm up, only to get punted off at the first chicane (the old first chicane at Monza) by Eddie Irvine (in the Jordan-Hart) and Johnny had to take the restart in the old car with the old engine which was uncompetitive…had they got through that chicane Lotus stood a good chance of winning that race, and the teams history from 1994-present could have been so-so different. For a few years Peter Collins performed miracles to keep the team afloat, Herbert put in some amazing performances that were way beyond the car, but sadly they could never recapture wins and consistent podiums like they did in the 80′s, and also back in the 60′s & 70′s. I’ve been watching F1 consistently since the late 80′s and a lot of good small, medium & large teams have gone to the wall or just sold up (to another company or car Manufacturer) due to the expensive nature of the sport (e.g. Brabham, Lotus, Arrows/Footwork, Jordan, Ligier, Minardi, Tyrrell, Stewart, Onyx, March/Leyton House, Fondmetal – formerly Osella), Simtek, etc) and it’s a shame as these teams kept Formula One going in their time, the were owned by people passionate for the sport and just a corporation just looking for a fast buck or two, but i suppose that is just the world we live in now!!

  22. frostyxiv says:

    shame about the arguments, but that black and gold car looks a beauty.

  23. jmv says:

    Congratulations to Bahar! He manages to get “double” the exposure by sponsoring just one team!

    The sales for Lotus cars must go up!

  24. CaptainJack says:

    Fernandes should back down but he won’t because his real goal is to own Group Lotus. It casts a whole new light on 1Malaysia’s farcical ‘Team Lotus’ branding and exposes what a cynical and calculating guy he is.

    I mean the Chapman’s have spoke, Mansell has spoken, Alesi and others, and yet Fernandes persists. He really is a most unpleasant and mean character when you look beneath the shiny PR facade.

    1. bouke says:

      Of course, Alesi was part of the launch party for the Group Lotus Renault car, being named the teams new “racing ambassador” so his opinion is clearly unbiased, right?

      This is ugly, and both sides are making it worse, but at least the Fernandes team established they are racers in this last season.

      The new people at Renault for now only show they are good talkers with money to spend, and a mixed message of “not wanting the Team Lotus legacy” while at the same time using the logo, livery and history. I wish Kubica and the Enstone people well, but I won’t miss the people at the top of this team when they leave F1 after being out of words and money.

  25. Chris R says:

    Group Lotus surely have the most at stake, as it’s their name that they use for road cars. Fernandes got hold of a brand and built a new team on it.

    The possible profit from a deal with Proton/Group Lotus must surely be worth more/equal than using a new name and getting sponsors based on that. Otherwise Fernandes surely would not bother.

    So Fernandes will hold on as long as he can see a profit in holding on, while Group Lotus will wait and hope Fernandes gives up. Where is the FIA in all this?

  26. Ashley Scott says:

    Nothing more to say is there really?

  27. Chris says:

    So now its clear, TF is NOT the good guy in all of this

  28. Stuart fenton says:

    Legal matters aside, that is a great looking car. Always suprises me how poor liveries are. Last decent one was the mild seven renault. This one looks hip. I can see posters on the bedrooms of 9 year old boys already

    1. JLR Racing says:

      Loved the Mild Seven Renault – stuff of dreams!!

  29. David Chubb says:

    It’s Team Lotus all the way for me. They have the same kind of the original Team Lotus and still have a friendly yet professional attitude about them. Lotus Renault for me are just a brand name trying to bring the company which was founded so it didn’t have to be affected by the F1 team into F1 defeating its original purpose as a car manufacturer

  30. Frenchie says:

    Lotus (Team) is Malaysian and Renault is now British. That’s the world gone mad. Lopez is obviously no longer a big fan of the French va va voom.

    I suppose the switch to a British licence has something to do with the upcoming court case and also probably to pave the way for Genii to sell a bigger share of the chassis operations to Lotus (Group).

    I am certainly a bit biased here, but Renault to me, as a full F1 operation is synonymous with Alain Prost, Rene Arnoux, Derek Warwick, and lately Fernando Alonso, Pat Symonds and the Flav (call me evil but I hold no grudges over Singapore 08).
    I find this regretful this is being traded for Nigel Mansell and Ayrton Senna (THE Team Lotus Renault in the JPS livery back in the 80s). Both have a place on the grid.

    These days, I am annoyed that:
    - 1Malysian Racing Team is trading on Team Lotus’ history with a Malaysian flag. It would seem more appropriate to use the Union Jack to trade on history.
    - Lotus Racing was under licence from Group Lotus and was able to carry on the legacy of Lotus in F1 (remember them celebrating Lotus 500th GP). It made sense since Lotus cars were involved in the operation but now seems ridiculous having lost the backing of both Group Lotus and the Chapmans.
    - Tony Fernandes’ team carries on as Team Lotus after having lost the backing of the Chapman family no longer supports the efforts of Tony Fernandes. Purchasing a name and putting pretty stickers on the factory doesn’t buy the spirit nor Legacy of Colin Chapman.
    - Lotus Renault GP ends up using history that is not its (yet) to win a court case so as to give the green light to Group Lotus to become a majority shareholder. Dany Bahar denied the possibility of using Team Lotus history and somehow they are using the JPS livery.

    I regret that we belong to times where brand is everything. I love the way F1 has become much more professional over the last 20-odd years, however despise this lack of originality in generating something to go racing and do business with.

    Tony Fernandes, Dany Bahar, Gerard Lopez are all fantastic businessmen and probably share a lot of great brainpower between them. It is a shame they have only been able to come up with something this mediocre.

    I love the spirit of Tony Fernandes and Mike Gascoyne and thought they had a tremendous season. They should probably let go of the Team Lotus idea. I hope they have a rebranding strategy in mind. Personally, I would be quite upset if they went racing as Team Lotus in 2011. I hope they can rebrand before the season start. Tune F1 or Tune Racing would suit me fine.

    James, feel free to pass on my views to Tony and Gerard. I would assume a few people would agree with me on most points.

    Long live Ferrari, McLaren and Williams.

    1. andyb says:

      When Renault were blue and yellow and Fernando and Fisi were there they were pretty cool. You’ve changed Renault.

      1. Frenchie says:

        You are too kind andyb. I wish I was this powerful though!

        Thanks for reading my post.

      2. Mario says:

        This is Renault no longer. Only the name remains(temporarily) and the engine and expertise is supplied by Renault.
        Everything changes so quickly anyway. It’s just that some people aren’t accustomed to the pace of change so they express sentiment over times long gone. As one bloke said it over two thousand years ago even the most conservative cannot step twice into the same river.

  31. Chris says:

    also Paul Stoddart outs one of the new teams as having spent 100million this year. No guesses for who……. Mr Tony Fernandes. Pretty shameful to have spent 40million more than any other new team and have nothing to show for it!

    1. Frenchie says:

      If this is true then this year’s car should be pretty good.

      I don’t think they ever intended racing for points in 2010. They only had half the lead time of Virgin and HRT to get to the grid. I think last year was all about brand awareness and getting into FOTA.

    2. Kirk says:

      They do have something to show for it – they beat both Virgin and HRT. What else do you expect?

  32. Lindsay says:

    I like that, now that they’re taking backing from a Malaysian company, “they have gone British.” In politics this would almost be called astroturfing.

  33. Jodum5 says:

    Nice job overselling the video. That was barely interesting and definitely not provocative.

    1. James Allen says:

      I think you’ve missed the point

    2. PaulL says:

      Hi Jodum, perhaps like you I thought Gascoyne was going to do his usual piece against Group Lotus, but the provocation was in watching the old Lotus marque being erected.

    3. bhele minotaur says:

      You really have missed the point dude, anyway, both sides of this make a compelling argument. But as a out and out die hard fan, i am supporting Fernandez here, simply bekoz Group Lotus granted him the licence in the first place and for whatever reason Mr Bahar decided to yank it. Lotus Racing did so much with both limited resources and time. In my opinion, Group Lotus should have looked at 60 or 70% shareholding in the 1Malaysia outfit and then worked towards makig that into a competitive outfit along with Tony, maybe drop Mike. They’re not going to be calling shots with Gerard Lopez and Genii, Bahar is looking for shortcuts to success in F1, BMW, Toyota and Honda have shown that no such Shortcuts exist in this sport. The Renault team is a has been team now, in a few seasons it’ll be chasing Williams and Force India. For me Lotus means innovation, pushing the limits, The Lotus 78 and 79 being pioneers of their time.

      1. Frenchie says:

        I don’t think backing Fernandes’ Team Lotus would work for Group Lotus from a marketing perspective.

        Bahar has probably looked into this option and remembered how long it took Gascoyne to bring design Force India into the middle of the pack.

        Renault, on the other hand, have recently won two drivers’ and two constructors’ world championships. They are more likely to win (races or championships). They won the development race last year and have a potential champion in Robert Kubica.

        Even if Team Lotus were to drop Gascoyne and replace him with a Paddy Low or Aldo Costa it would still take them years to become competitve. Just check how long it took Adrian Newey to design a regular grand prix winner.

  34. Ben G says:

    Give over Tony.

    1. Mario says:

      I wonder if they’ll upload a video of them scraping these stickers off when the case finally gets resolved.

      1. AndyK says:

        Hahaha:)

  35. Andrew Myers says:

    It’ll be interesting to see who “owns” the lotus logo. Do we know if that is part of what Tony Fernandes’ outfit bought off David Hunt?

    1. James Allen says:

      It’s the rights, as far as I’m aware. IP in the name, logo etc

      1. ian says:

        I cannot see that, Hunt got the name, i do not think he got the logo. Then again it’s all such a mess …

      2. jonrob says:

        Quite right James, there are two brands, two logos, two wordmarks, two brands and two identities.
        One is registered for F1 (Team Lotus) http://www.ipo.gov.uk/domestic?domesticnum=1337455

        and the other (Lotus) is registered for everything specifically except F1. http://www.ipo.gov.uk/t-find-number?detailsrequested=C&trademark=2289924

      3. Dan says:

        So it would be right in saying that Lotus Cars are breaking the law by sticking that logo on the Renault car?

        ‘Advertising services, in particular the service of renting out advertising space on the exterior surfaces of racing vehicles, none being in the field of Formula One motor racing.’

        So can this car turn a wheel in a Grand Prix? In the off-season etc. that’s fine, but in an official F1 Grand Prix, surely the moment that car turns up at the circuit it’s livery is illegal?

      4. jonrob says:

        Yes Dan that’s what it looks like. But if only life were that simple.
        On that same site do some searches on Lotus and you will see some more registrations which appear to contradict each other. I also looked at JPS and Mr tobacco still owns it and both the brand and the ciggies are still going strong. Thus there is a strong case against using it in the sport. (I will resist mentioning Ferrari again! oops!)

  36. Dan says:

    “a dispute over a T shirt” – This is the first I’ve heard of this, can you explain it in more detail? Withdrawing a contract long many years before it was due to expire is a harsh thing to do.

  37. Mario says:

    This car looks all right. I suspect Kubicas going to have a new helmet too, one to match the car. If they can back that with involvement in the battle for wins and Petrov scoring too, that would make them look really nice.

    1. ian says:

      How about silver with a thick red stripe down the middle …?

      1. Mario says:

        I would’ve thought it would be mostly black with some gold(obvious) and some little white and red somewhere on the side as he usually does.

      2. ian says:

        you miss my ‘point’.

      3. Robert in San Diego says:

        Yes but Marco is no Mario!

      4. Mario says:

        Yeah, I missed it. What was the point? Thick red stripe? Your not thinking he is aiming at Ferrari, are you? If you do then, you’d better forget it.

      5. jonrob says:

        Surely the red stripe is the tear off tab on the cellophane to open the packet. This is a new bodywork easy access development program.

      6. Christopher Hobbs says:

        To put you out of your missery, The famous F1 world champion, MARIO Andretti drove a JPS Lotus and his helmet was silver with a fat red stripe!

      7. Mario says:

        Thanks for that.

  38. Lars says:

    I know you have to report it, it’s your job, but I speak for many F1 fans I know personally, when I say this Lotus thing is the most boring high profile topic of the last decade in F1.

    I don’t know anyone who cares, be it in real life or online.

    1. mvi says:

      Well, I find the ‘Lotus thing’ thoroughly fascinating!

    2. Rick J says:

      I don’t find it boring either. Sad, yes – as it discredits the name terribly but given all that, quite interesting none the less!

  39. dkfone says:

    James, surely it would be absurd if Renault were referred to as lotus by commentators. We dont recognize Mclaren as Vodafone, nor do we call Ferrari Scuderia. How do you see this playing out?

    1. James Allen says:

      If I was commentating I’d call the team Renault, as things stand. It’s the same problem with writing about it to be honest. They need to find a way of integrating themselves, which doesn’t involve a chassis name change, which would cost them their prize money

      1. M says:

        Maybe say Renaulotus?

  40. Adrian Newey Jr says:

    Memo to Fernandes – See if the Tyrell or Brabham is name is for sale!

    1. James Allen says:

      No, this is about making road cars, Fernandes thought that he could take over the Lotus brand from Proton, starting by re-establishing the brand in F1. Bahar has stopped that

      1. Dan says:

        Judging by what Fernandes has done with another ailing Malaysian company, Air Asia, and the good public image he’s created at his F1 team, he would have been an infinitely better candidate than Bahar?

      2. Ted the Mechanic says:

        Yes, Fernandes is obviously a big picture player. However he must also be thinking about, and angling for, a big money compensation payout strategy to change tack at this point…

        (apologies for the mixed metaphors)

      3. cordy says:

        you are damn right. what people missed here is how tony also bring in Naza into his alliance which is a “rebadge” car maker who produce Naza version of Kia and Peugeot into Malaysia.
        Do some google and you will find it. Cheers

  41. Rich C says:

    The best way to settle this is to have Danny B buyout Tony F with a suitable sum of money and then Tony change his team to a new one, represented by Malaysia’s national flower the Hibiscus. Its at least as racy as a Lotus blossom and the ‘flowers’ association would always remind us where they started from.

    1. Christopher Hobbs says:

      But Tony has a lot more money than Danny so that aint gonna happen!

  42. Bludd says:

    James, can you elaborate on the t-shirt thing you mentioned as the reason for Group Lotus to end the licence early?

    1. Declan says:

      +1. I’d like to know too; and where I can get my hands on one!

    2. Mark says:

      I’d also like to know. I was wondering how they were allowed to terminate that contract 4 years early.

  43. Gilbert says:

    There is one Lotus manufacture in the world. As a title sponsor we got Lotus Renault GP, full stop. And with a British licence, what more for a sponsor !!

  44. Nick in Dubai says:

    If the chapman family really felt that strongly about the use of team lotus in F1, they shouldnt have sold the asset on. Im sure they were happy with the cash from the sale, but now they want to control it?

    Its a bit like selling a pice of art, but then telling the buyer its staying on my wall, and no you cant visit it.

    David Hunt has been trying to sell the team lotus name for years. For some reason until moneybags Bahar came along they didnt appear to want it back.

    Then there is old Nige, who took a very strong view that he was supporting group Lotus because it was the right thing to do, now his sons turn up on my back doorstep with a shiney new GT car to race with….

    1. Mat says:

      It seems that a lot of the support for Group certain people have been giving to Group has come after they have been given something by Group. Alessi was made an ambassador so he says that Group is the real Lotus. Mansell’s sons get a shiny new GT car, so he backs Group. Group want to set up a Lotus museum, so the Chapmans suddenly change their mind and want to back Group. If Group weren’t giving everyone all these nice presents would they be getting so much support? As for old Nige, so people still think of him as a Lotus person? I thought his name would be more associated with Williams. I would rather hear from someone like Andretti about this mess than Nigel Mansell. At least with Mario he’d cut through the BS and tell it like it is!

  45. Andy says:

    I am at a loss with this, When talking about the Vodafone Mclaren Mercedes, they are normaly called Mclaren! So to that end, the Lotus Renault, is called Renault!

    however what does Fernandez get from being called Lotus? Maybe that question should be, what will Fernandez get for not being called Lotus?

  46. Voyager says:

    Isn’t the black and gold colour scheme an historic cigarette sponsors colours?

    With the banning of cigarette advertising are they allowed to do that?

    1. James Allen says:

      It’s JPS, John PLayer Special. There is no sponsorship from JPS involved in the deal. It depends a bit on the laws of different countries. I’m sure they have looked into it legally very carefully. Bear in mind that Marlboro still puts a lot of money into Ferrari, but obviously has no branding on the car.

      1. Hisham Akhtar says:

        James, can you elaborate on Marlboro’s sponsorship? I hear they are the highest paying sponsor in F1 but how does it make business sense to them if they can’t even brand Ferrari?

      2. ColinZeal says:

        Obviously no marlboro branding at all on the ferrari, none at all, lol.

        Please tell us about this t-shirt controversy james, myself and plenty others are unaware of this incident you briefly mention. Cheers.

  47. Le Gazman says:

    I just don’t understand this claim that they’re now British because they have a British title sponsor. It’s confusing things even further. Let’s be clear – Lotus doesn’t own this team yet (or at least this isn’t what’s been announced thus far) but both Lotus and Renault are behaving as though they do.

    Have they in fact bought the team, but not announcing it until the legal wrangling over the Lotus name in F1 is resolved?

    It’s a hideous state of affairs and really does make a mockery of the sport and its sponsors.

    1. James Allen says:

      Lotus will become a shareholder too. But Lotus is owned by a Malaysian company

  48. Johnny Mol says:

    I know this is off topic, but I was curious to know if there are any other teams that are sponsored (in an extremely subtle way) by tobacco companies besides Ferarri?

    Thanks – first post for moi!

  49. James D says:

    At the start of the season I was really sceptical of the use of the Lotus name by Fernandes and didn’t support it at all. Then I met him at the Fan Forum event James organised in London. He was very friendly and talkative, impossible not to like. From that point on I hoped for every success for him.

    Now though, whilst I still wish him success with his F1 team, I wish he’d give up the Lotus name. I think the time has come to concede defeat here especially as he’s lost the Chapman’s support which he put a lot of emphasis on. My respect for him would grow if he gave over now.

  50. Mr Anderson says:

    I can’t help but feel that Fernandes’ Lotus are missing a trick here. Surely if they back down and say that they are “respecting the Chapman family’s wishes”, they could rebrand and gain huge publicity from it (would they stand to lose anything if they change names?). They could also claim to be the small fish being bullied by the massive conglomerate Lotus/Proton, which people always love to read about (just ask Richard Branson). Whereas if they continue with the court case, they have a lot to lose. They have the moral high ground at the moment, and they are at risk of losing it if they don’t act.

    1. Christopher Hobbs says:

      You have to remember that Tony Fernandes is a massive fish and isn’t gonna be bullied by some jumped up kid from Turkey/Switzerland or what ever stone Danny crawlled under from!

  51. Adam BBR says:

    Er I wonder if Bernie ( for a suitable fee ) would object to Tony n’ Mike calling the team
    Brabham !. Kinda got a nice ring to it !

    1. Dan says:

      But Bernie doesn’t own the Brabham name…

      Oh wait, that didn’t stop Lotus Cars!

      1. Adam BBR says:

        The real pity is that both parties have equally
        legitimate claim to the Lotus name( ie not much!)
        Much as I appreciate and applaud the efforts of
        Tony n Mike , my gut instinct is that Danny Bahar
        as the current ceo of the company that actualy makes Lotus cars has an edge

  52. Olivier says:

    Okay, this is a little childish of Team Lotus.

    It really is a no brainer which one is the real Lotus in F1. Historically it is Team Lotus and Fernandes got the rights to use the name and logo. It is Team Lotus vs (Lotus) Renault. End of story.

    I really like the family feel of Team Lotus as opposed to the corporate feel of Group Lotus.

  53. Nick L says:

    This may be a little off topic here, but can anyone please explain to me the difference between the Black & Gold (JPS) livery that the Renault/Lotus team are planning to use and the Marlbro Bar Code (that wasn’t a bar code) which Ferrari were banned from using last year. If anything the Black & Gold, because of it’s history, is explicitly cigarette branding, is it not????

    1. Frenchie says:

      I believe the difference is that the barcode was deemed subliminal form of advertising whereas in the case of Renault, these are just a colour scheme i.e. Renault does not benefit from a cigarette/tobacco manufacturer.

      This is just my understanding. A lawyer would need to confirm.

  54. Tim says:

    Group Lotus seem to just care about making the car company profitable, which it is not at the moment. I do not see them caring about the Team Lotus history. However, so far, I have not seen them disrespect it either.

    Team Lotus have been great to watch and I feel like I want to see them grow as they seem to be what Team Lotus is all about. Underdogs trying to out perform themselves.

    They should both be brought together under one big Lotus banner. After all I believe I am right that Colin Chapman built the Lotus Cars to sell to provide money to support his racing under the Lotus name. Just like Ferrari was.

    People talking about the Lotus Renault team now having a British Liscence and saying how can it, Renault is French, Lotus is Malaysian owned and genii capital are from Luxembourg. Simple: Lotus are British, based in Norfolk, and the F1 team factory is in England. Better the RBR who build their cars here etc but they race as an Austrian team because Reb Bull and it’s owner originate from there

    1. jonrob says:

      “Group Lotus seem to just care about making the car company profitable, which it is not at the moment. ”
      I’m afraid that trying to develop 5 new cars at once will place a huge if not fatal strain on the Lotus Cars resources both engineering and more significantly, financial. Lotus Cars did have some really great engineers and a good organisation, however I understand that a lot of the old guard were ousted after Bahar’s arrival.
      Whilst Proton (or it’s bankers) is rumoured to be providing $1.5Bn funding, it is nowhere near enough to develop 5 new cars.

      1. clearence says:

        “Whilst Proton (or it’s bankers) is rumoured to be providing $1.5Bn funding, it is nowhere near enough to develop 5 new cars.”

        Yes, it is. It takes about $200mil to develop a sport car

      2. jonrob says:

        I heard and I’m pretty sure it was from James in this site, that it nowadays costs $800m

  55. Kenny says:

    We have a French race team operating with a British license whose cars carry the logo of a Malaysian owned British car manufacturer and are painted in the livery of a cigarette brand that they have no connection with.

    And, we have a Malaysian race team whose cars are painted British Racing Green and carry a name and logo nearly identical to the name and logo of the French team.

    No problem- we can call them Black Lotus and Green Lotus, or simply Black and Green.

    Imperial Tobacco and the BRDC must be delighted.

  56. Mike W says:

    People often joked that with their road cars, Lotus stood for ‘Lots Of Trouble Usually Serious’. Perhaps now the acronym will mean ‘Lots Of Teams Using Solicitors’

  57. If I remember correctly, the black and gold livery was a JPS branding of the car, so the fact that they are using it, but not using the JPS brand (and yes I know that they cant even if they wanted to) makes as much of a mockery of them as the Team Lotus lot using Lotus branding.

    In other words, they are all as bad as each other, they’ve both decided to run with something that is not trully theirs. It reminds me of one christmas I had when both of my nephews fought bitterly over a red bike and a green bike. Both wanted the green one, then both wanted the red one, and neither one of them wanted the other to have anything.

    That was a nightmare christmas and my eardrums have yet to recover, despite it being 10+ years ago, I fear we’re in for the same kind of nightmare season where this will all detract from some great racing.

  58. andymidnite says:

    Money can buy you a team but it can’t buy you respect, Mr. Bahar. Lotus-Renault?! Boggles.

  59. Ted the Mechanic says:

    Mike Gascoyne looks like Dr Evil…

    Don’t mean to infer he is.

    Just an observation.

    Sorry Mike.

    1. jonrob says:

      Rumour has it he is very cuddly, especially under pressure.

  60. I believe any one has the right to be called what they want!

    lotus racing was there 1st! 1st come 1st serve!
    if they want to be called team lotus then let them get on with it!

    no more petty squabbling!

    anyway there is still plenty more classic team names!, if they want to bring them back? tyrell, brm, brabham etc!

    at the end of the day it works for red bull and toro rosso! so i see no problem.

  61. gtornes says:

    jonrob, James, et all. About the trademark situation.

    What jonrob says about the limitations of use inside/outside of F1 of the two trademarks he links (1337455 and 2289924) is correct, but there are particularly two aspects of these two trademarks that are worth noting:
    - the Class (35, specified as the selling of advertising space on a racing car)
    - the age of the trademark, and when it was last used.

    The Team Lotus trademark you reference, that is still registered, was first registered in 1988, when the Chapman family owned Team Lotus and GM owned Group Lotus. I find it interesting that the logo registered in this trademark is a version of the “modern” (post 1986) Lotus logo, and is quite different to the classic Team Lotus logo (as still often used by Classic Team Lotus today). Up until 1988 Team Lotus never had a trademark registration of any kind, but always had a permission from Group Lotus to use the ACBC Lotus logo, and variants of this that would include the word TEAM written on the top half of the logo. One thing I have been wondering quite a bit about is the reasoning that went behind registering this trademark, and the selection of Class 35 (originally without any restrictions within the class) to register it in. It does however seem quite obvious that the registration was done in cooperation with Group Lotus.

    The trademark right stayed with the team When the Chapman family sold Team Lotus to Peter Warr and Peter Colins in 1990, and later ended up being owned by David Hunt’s company Team Lotus Ventures when he bought it out of administration in October 1994. In 1995 Hunt did a deal with Pacific to become Pacific Team Lotus, and the Team Lotus name has hence not been used in F1 since.

    Hunt has since tried to get the name back into F1, without success. One of the basic grounds for keeping a trademark registration is continued use in the classes it is registered for. A trademark registration is not an eternal right, but given and renewed every five years as long as you can show that you are using it in the class it is registered for. When Group Lotus applied for revocation of the class 35 registration in Jan 2002 they were therefore partially successful, because Team Lotus Ventures had not done any racing for more than five years, and got a revocation of all rights Team Lotus Ventures had except for in F1. The case details are here:
    http://www.ipo.gov.uk/types/tm/t-os/t-find/t-challenge-decision-results/o14703.pdf

    This revocation is the reason Group Lotus got the registration you reference for all applications of selling ad space on racing cars, except in F1. One thing I notice in the case details is that the Class 35 trademark is for what the judge refers to as “collateral services” to running an F1 team. Originally Team Lotus Ventures did not have a trademark registration in Class 41, which includes “running a motor racing team”, and in my opinion is the most logical class to have coverage for if you want to run an F1 team, and do all the branding exercises that goes with it. Team Lotus Ventures applied for a class 41 registration in 2002 and got it in 2003. This trademark was however revoked in Jan 2010 after opposition filed by Group Lotus in Sept 2008 on the grounds of not being used in the past five years. Case details here:
    http://www.ipo.gov.uk/types/tm/t-os/t-find/t-challenge-decision-results/o02610.pdf

    Shortly after filing the above opposition, in Oct 2008, Group Lotus applied for a registration of the word Lotus in Class 35, 39 and 41. This was granted in july 2009, and does not include any restrictions on use in F1. As this registration was given more than five years after the previous five year extension of the Team Lotus trademark, it could go some way to deny the rights of the Team Lotus trademark, and would quite probably make it very difficult for Team Lotus now to get a registration in the same classes, as they have applied for. Details here:
    http://www.ipo.gov.uk/ohim?ohimnum=E7389471

    This is not at least enhanced by the fact that Group Lotus has in fact been present with the Lotus name in F1 last year, using the Lotus Racing trademark that they filed for registration in October 2009, and licensed to be used by Tony Fernandes this year. The fact that a trademark containing the word Lotus, owned by Group Lotus, has been used in F1 this year could well prove to be a decisive, and somewhat ironic, factor in the legal struggle lying ahead.

    The case is however not in any way clear cut, and although I see it as beeing Group Lotus that has the strongest legal position, I still think it is a huge risk for both parties to actually fight this out in court, and I am therefore still quite sure that all will be settled before that.

    1. James Allen says:

      Thanks very much for that very thorough and interesting post.

    2. clearence says:

      @gtornes, thanks, great post, now everything becomes more clear for me

    3. Mario says:

      now, that was a pretty good effort, thanks a lot.

  62. Rick J says:

    I think the only solution is for Group Lotus to buy Team Lotus back – the name at least. Then the name is rightfully home. Mind you that will for sure cost a bundle now as Fernandes is thoroughly ticked off with Bahar and who could blame him? It makes sense for Tony to stick to his guns as long as possible. He undoubtedly wants to pick up Group for a song and given the fickle nature of politicians he just might see it happen yet if Bahar crashes and burns. As an original Lotus fan and car owner I want to see the marque successful. Realistically that means Group – preferably under Fernandes’ ownership! If Bahar had been smart, he would have bought the name from Hunt and respectfully wooed Fernandes into an ever more cozy relationship with Group. That way at least he might have been guaranteed a job when the Malaysian Government steps out!

  63. Brian M says:

    Who cares…? This off season is boring compared to last year when we had USF1 to joke about.

    1. James Allen says:

      And Schumacher comeback and Button to McLaren..

  64. Oddsodz says:

    Fernandes might want to think about selling the name back to the Malaysian nut jobs. Let them have the name and get a deal with Cosworth to be a all in one “Cosworth Racing” team. A Good name with no nut jobs trying to screw him over.

    1. jonrob says:

      Bit tricky, as they will be using Renault engines. The nice guys at Cosworth may take exception!

      1. Oddsodz says:

        Easy fix. Change engines. No biggy. lol

  65. Luke Harrison says:

    The fact that both are now running the logo with Chapman’s initials is the biggest joke. A names a name and while it’s silly more than one team is operating the name, the fact the corporate identity – the motif – is the same for both, it makes a mockery of the entire thing and that will cause confusion.

    Good job all that new branding is on peelable vinyl eh.

  66. Rich C says:

    I think this whole tempest is excellent exposure for Danny B’s Lotus. I see *no positive aspects to it for Tony F’s Lotus, however.

    I’ve learned more about Lotus cars lately than in the last 20 years. But whatever I may have learned about Lotus F1 is of no consequence.

    The turmoil is free advertising for Lotus Cars and a pain in the neck for Tony’s Lotus.

    So imho it’s advantage: Danny B.

  67. Marcus Hayward says:

    Something I haven’t seen mentioned yet in any meaningful way is the fact that the black and gold livery has NOTHING to do with Lotus (Group/Racing?anything) It is/was the colours or branding for John Player Specials, which are cigarettes. Sure the Lotus F1 cars form the past with that livery are iconic, but I actually feel that the green and yellow that Tony and Mike are stuck with is the more relevant paint scheme for Lotus Racing. This is all really nauseating and if Danny was before me right now would receive a swift kick in the g’nads!

  68. Rich C says:

    >>Group Lotus seem to just care about making the car company profitable<<

    Yes, thats their job. Ppl send them money to do their thing only if they can reasonably expect to get it back with interest.

    This is the great divide between racers and manufacturers.

  69. chris green says:

    my suggested name for the Proton/lotus f1 team

    is Delorean.

  70. Mike from Medellin, Colombia says:

    I wonder what was behind the Chapman’$ $udden change of heart…to $uddenly $witch their $upport for Group Lotu$$$ ???

  71. madmark1974 says:

    How people’s allegiences can change. At the Classic Team Lotus Festival at Snetterton last year, everybody (including the Chapmans) was all buddy-buddy with Fernandes and co.

    Here’s the link :
    http://www.lotus-festival.com/

    and here’s the ‘official’ video :

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EmoVraTe248

    1. gtornes says:

      Thing is though, at that point the cooperation with Group Lotus was still going well.

      There’s a video here, from the Autosport show this weekend, where Clive is asked about the issue. He emphasises that they have always supported the Group, and are merely continuing to do so: http://www.lotuscars.com/motorsport/en/motorsportvideos

      One thing that surprises me is how many are talking about how Fernandes’ team deserves to be named Lotus because he treated the heritage and name with such respect. I agree that the way he went about basing the team in Norfolk, securing the support of Group Lotus (including getting the next type number: T127) and getting the support of the Chapman family really was great, and did a lot to convince many, including myself.

      The way I see it, it is however important to remember that Fernandes had only licensed the use of the name. The way he talked about it though, he gave the impression that he was now the owner of Lotus Racing. See for example here, where he says ” It hasn’t really sunk in yet that I own Lotus Racing”: http://www.teamlotus.co.uk/team/management/tony-fernandes/tony's-team.aspx

      Problem was, that he (before doing the deal with Hunt) never had any ownership claim to the Lotus name. I suspect that part of what led to the entire souring of the relationship was just this kind of talk, where Tony was positioning himself in the media as the face of Lotus, and the “heir” of Colin Chapman. Combine this with the fact that he then went ahead and bought the Team Lotus name from David Hunt (this was, as far as I know, done before the license was terminated) and the many reports/speculations that his long term agenda was to move in on a takover of Group Lotus, and I can very much understand why the license agreement was terminated, regarless of the legal details of t-shirts they claim in public.

      Now if you are in a business licensing a brand name, I am sorry but this is to me not in any way treating that brand with respect. I am still a fan of the team, especially Mike Gascoyne, and what they have acheived, but I for one am now hoping that they move on and build their own heritage around their own name.

  72. Graham says:

    I’m so pleased that people are beginning to see through the cynical marketing exercise that is Renault, sorry Lotus, no sorry again Genii Capital.
    How Behar keeps a straight face as he signs up existing teams and sticks the lotus name on them – both in the States and in F1 – is beyond me.
    What exactly is Lotus contribution to the design, engineering and logistics of any team they are invlved in – None. But they do give them money.
    Sorry but if you want the Chapman ethos, look for a small team in Norfolk, performing on the world stage against the odds and punching above their weight with an innovative engineering director. Team Lotus are the real inheritors of the Chapman tradition. Not a Malaysian car maker buying their way in to F1 and Indycar with little or no technical contribution.

    PS – Can’t wait for the Ferrari slaying road cars that are due out ! (Puff puff puff).

    1. Chris says:

      IF yuo had read above, Tony Fernandes is going to be laughed out of court……….

      1. Graham says:

        Surely that will depend on the legitimacy of the deal that David Hunt did all thise years ago.

      2. Graham says:

        AND

        Whether or not Team Lotus ever was a separate entity to the Lotus Co

  73. Graham says:

    One other thing Tony and Mike.

    The green and gold is a fantastic colour scheme, but what about the old Gold Leaf red and white livery.

    As for Renaults black and gold, doesn’t really work.

  74. Chris Orr says:

    I was just thinking it Lotus cars is putting the extra cash in Renault, is there a need for Petrov?

    He didnt really impress alot in 2010, and his seat seems to bear all the hallmarks of a pay driver. So should the now Lotus Renault GP look for drivers to push them further up in the standards and challenge for the 3rd place they are aiming for in 2011.

    I guess we just have to watch this space.

  75. Jon Wide says:

    When a team publishes it’s financial results is it clear who the team sponsors are?

    I would put good money on Imperial tobacco (owners of the JPS brand) having made a contribution to the Renault 2011 budget. There are no happy coincidence’s in business. In the few countries where Imperial tobacco are allowed to advertise, there is clear reference to motor sport and a tag line of “the legend returns”

    This coupled with almost every other sponsor from 2010 not appearing on the “definitive” 2011 livery launch at the Autosport Show. Imperial tobacco have managed to find a quiet way into the sport. I’m sure of it.

    If Renault are prepared to claim they have no agreement with Imperial Tobacco they should launch legal action against them. Advertising campaigns do not happen overnight, the actions of Imperial Tobacco are well thought through. It doesn’t seem like the action of a large established company to trade on implied connections in the knowledge that they will be opening themselves up to prosecution.

LEAVE A COMMENT

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Top Tags
SEARCH News
JA ON F1 In association with...
Download the chequered flag podcast today
Download the chequered flag podcast today
Multi award winning Formula One photographer
Multi award winning Formula One photographer