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Lotus F1 team “angry” ahead of Monaco Grand Prix
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Lotus F1 team
Posted By: James Allen  |  20 May 2012   |  8:27 am GMT  |  78 comments

Commercial partnerships and collaborations in F1 are commonplace, with most teams having “technology partners”, “performance partners”, “logistics partners and so on.

Now the Lotus F1 team has gone one step further and found an “angry partner”; Rovio, the Finnish company behind the popular Angry Birds game. It’s a tongue in cheek story, but designed to draw attention to a couple of significant milestones for both companies.

“While Lotus F1 Team will contest its 500th Grand Prix in Monaco, the No.1 digital game in the world – Angry Birds – has just reached 1 billion downloads. As a result, both brands have decided to join forces to celebrate these respective milestones,” said the Lotus statement.

Angry Birds has become the number one paid app of all time and its branding will appear on the Lotus cars at this weekend’s Monaco Grand Prix. This recalls the Williams tie-up with Sega and Sonic the Hedgehog back in 1993.

It’s interesting to note that the Enstone-based team is now talking about Lotus’s Formula 1 history, having finally aligned the Lotus road car brand with the Team Lotus F1 brand, following the settlement of the case with Tony Fernandes. This milestone refers to the team which was Benetton and Renault, rather than the Team Lotus line, but it highlights how confusing it is for this team to talk about its history.

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78 Comments
  1. Josh says:

    I hope Kimi wears an Angry Bird-designed helmet in Monaco :)

    1. Allwyn says:

      and go crashing on a wall ? :)

      1. Josh says:

        who’s fat in F1? maybe he can crash into those :D

    2. Sebee says:

      Wonder what will happen to Kimi when you tap him?

      1. Sebee says:

        …turn into a penguin?

      2. saleh says:

        he will freeze you just like the ice bird :)

    3. Quercus says:

      What is this ‘Angry Bird’ game?

    4. Raymond YZJ says:

      Nah that’s Heikki :P

      Maybe he could do the yellow bird though :P

  2. Rob says:

    Didn’t Fernandes and co celebrate Valencia 2010 as Lotus’ 500th? And will anyone else statistically ignore their time as Lotus? (not that they contributed much)

    1. DMyers says:

      James points out that they’re talking about Toleman/Benetton/Renault’s 500th race :-)

  3. Andy says:

    I think it’s a bit sad when an F1 team uses the history of another team, especially when the only thing in common is the name.
    Are they counting Renault, Benetton etc in this 500?

    1. hero_was_senna says:

      It’s my argument against the Mercedes GP team.
      This F1 team is not run from Stuttgart, but from Brackley, and it’s history reads as Tyrrell, BAr, Honda, Brawn and Mercedes.
      Apart from the name, there is absolutely no connection to the legendary Silver Arrows.
      In fact, if Mercedes had bought the Toyota F1 outfit and changed it to Mercedes, it would have closer links to the German squad due to its geography.
      This “Lotus” team has as much right to the name as Mercedes to theirs. Toleman, Benetton, Renault, what a joke!

  4. Jon says:

    They mean Enstone’s 500th GP, don’t they? They seem to be distancing themselves from Team Lotus’s history more and more by the day – very strange when they fought so hard for the name. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see ”Enstone F1 Team” before long.

    1. John says:

      I would love to see Enstone race alongside Milton Keynes, Silverstone and Brackley!

    2. Toleman fan says:

      They mean the 500th grand prix for Toleman Group Motorsport and its successors.

      Not Enstone, because the original base was in Witney. The team had already taken podiums, fastest laps and a pole as Toleman and at least one race win as Benetton before leaving their industrial estate base in Station Lane, Witney and moving to the purpose built site down the road in Enstone.

  5. Jo Torrent says:

    How can LotusF1 have a partenership with Rovio ? No one will buy that @RGrosjean is an ANGRY BIRD

  6. Sam says:

    But didn’t the Lotus Group withdraw its sponsorship from the Enstone-based team?

  7. Timo says:

    Hi James – I think Lotus is referring to the 500th GP for Enstone manufactured cars rather than on Lotus’s formula 1 history.

  8. Alex Rushen says:

    James,

    I saw last week at Spain that Kimi had an angry bird logo on his cap – are Rovio a personal sponsor of Kimi and this agreement just extends this to the team for the Monaco GP?

    1. RodgerT says:

      Would make sense, since they’re also sponsoring Kovi.

  9. tony taylor says:

    If they are going with Chapman’s lotus history does 500 include the Sa GP in 82 or the World Wide Racing entry of 56b at Monza. Likewise do Ferrari count Surtees win when the entry was by NART?

  10. arale says:

    Rovio focus upon racing this year. They sponsor Kimi and Heikki personally, and they’re gonna introduce Angry Birds Heikki in June. Good for the Finns!

  11. Philip Taylor says:

    James,

    Lotus F1 Team doesn’t appear to be leaning on Team Lotus history at all. With 491 entries and 489 starts it would take at least 9 GPs this year for them to make the claim.

    In fact they are celebrating what would be 500 GP starts (514th entry) for the Enstone based team through Toleman, Benetton, Renault and Lotus. Having said that I’ve done a quick total and I think Barcelona was their 500th start!

    1. James Allen says:

      Confusing. Thanks for the note, updated

      1. Philip Taylor says:

        No problem. It’s one of those random things I checked when I saw their press release.

        It’s amazing that they continue to confuse even after everything was supposedly ‘settled!’

    2. Adam Codony says:

      Exactly. The team has been claiming the Enstone’s heritage since the beginning of the season. Not only their car is called E20, they also claim 3 WCC (1 from Benetton, and the remining 2 from Renault). This evidence can be seen on the motorhome walls and in the 3 stars on the top of the car.

      On a side note, if anyone is interested in seeing the Williams-Sega tie-in, here’s an article with pictures from the cars: http://srb.sonicrapidboard.com/index.php?showtopic=1688

      I hope it’s not a problem by providing a link to another site.

  12. Paul says:

    There’s a racing themed version of the game due out in June. However it’s not going to be themed around Team Enstone but around previously-branded-Lotus-Finnish-Caterham driver Heikki

    1. Pormestari says:

      At Lotus Facebook site there’s now a small Lotus-themed Angry Birds game.

  13. jpinx says:

    Nice one !!! :)

  14. George Newton says:

    Sounds fine apart from were does this leave Catheram man Heikki his helmet has been angry birds?does this mean they have lost another tie in to the ex Renault now lotus team or was Heikkis helmet unofficial?

    If it wasn’t then lotus need to ask their marketing team to stop stealing Caterhams ideas and find their own?

    Any answers James?

  15. Rob says:

    Can you clarify how they’re defining 500 GP’s, James?

    Is that for Lotuses, be they Chapman, Fernades, or Lux owned etc.

    Or is it 500 for the team which began as Toleman and became Benetton, Renault etc?

    Rob

  16. They seem to be picking and choosing which history they want, as they mentioned on twitter a few days ago that they consider the Benetton statistics from the 80′s/90′s to be their historical results, not Lotus…

  17. ColinZeal says:

    Lotus will have been in 500 races?
    OR
    The Enstone outfit will have been in 500 races?

    I mean its just silly these stats.
    If they are including original Lotus efforts surely they need to take what is now Caterham’s races into to consideration!! :)

    Toleman, Benetton, Renault, Lotus. They are the Enstone Team to me. How many races have the Enstone team completed?

    1. Bob says:

      499 obviously!

      1. ColinZeal says:

        Its obvious now that the post was updated to make this clear…… :)…… thank you though

  18. James Enocre says:

    Interesting you mention the Sega thing with Williams. Do you remember their package included a painted “hole” in the side of the car showing the drivers legs with Sega written on the overalls. I remember someone in the Williams museum telling me Frank was not happy with that – until he saw it when he couldn’t stop laughing. You could have huge fun doing the same thing with Angry birds.

  19. Steve says:

    It never fails to astound me how innovative this sport can be, both technically and Markettingly!!! (to invent a new word :-) )

    Does this mean we will see full grown men Costume on the streets of Monaco?

  20. Jonathan says:

    Strictly speaking, ‘Lotus F1 Team’ is contesting its sixth Grand Prix in Monaco!

    Even granting that Lotus F1 is in some sense the same team as the classic Team Lotus, I still don’t know how they ended up with 500.

    Team Lotus competed in 491 races between 1958 and 1994. So if you include the Tony Fernandes years, they are up to 535. But if you exclude the Tony Fernandes years, they are only on 497, in which case their true 500th GP will be the British GP.

  21. Ron W says:

    Nostalgia is long gone and the whole ‘Lotus’ constructor thing is a farce of epic proportions.
    In no way whatsoever do I connect the Bennetton/Renault team to the Lotus team. You can’t buy history despite what the circus is telling you. Having said that, it’s not just the F1 team – the latest Lotus Elise is 1.2 tons – almost twice the weight of the first car!! CC is no doubt ready to drop a big bag of washers on fair few people!!
    However, money talks and the increasing majority who watch will buy into it all.

  22. JR says:

    “While Lotus F1 Team will contest its 500th Grand Prix in Monaco”

    I think someone is confusing the Lotus F1 Team with Team Lotus.

  23. Bob Smith says:

    Wasn’t Valencia 2010 Lotus’s 500th Grand Prix? I guess the current Lotus are leaning on the original Lotus’s history but conveniently forgetting about Lotus/Caterham!

  24. John o'sullivan says:

    If this lotus f1 team are using historic lotus stats form other teams, are they using tony fernandes’s lotus stats also?

  25. Robin says:

    I see the title and I think one thing, then read the article and think another.

    Personally, I think this is a pretty okay idea and actually chuckle when I see Heikki running around with his Red Angry Bird helmet.

    Honestly, with Sauber having Chelsea’s logo on their car, this is not the worst thing to have on an F1 car now.

  26. Ole says:

    Let’s just hope the drivers don’t get inspired by the Angry Birds behaviour and becomes self-destructive when the race starts.

  27. Paul says:

    Don’t they have an existing connection with Caterham, hence Kovalainen’s Angry Birds styled helmet?

  28. Matt says:

    Hi, interesting news from the Lotus team. Any ideas how much a one off deal like this is worth to a Formula one team?

  29. Bruce says:

    I am not sure I like this! Lotus was an F1 name from, I believe, 1958 when Colin Chapman was in charge as the founder, designer and technical chief until he died in 1982. The team itself continued until 1994 when it closed down.
    The F1 team was separate from the car division which was eventually sold to Proton. Team Lotus came back into being with Tony Fernandes in 2010 and has now been morfed into the old Renault tean who had no, repeat no, link with Lotus at all.
    So how can they say that it’s the 500th Grands Prix for Lotus when they have absolutely no link at all with the original team?
    It’s not on and I hope that no-one will agree with this. The old Lotus team is dead and buried! This team is a totally new one without the right to call themselves a proper Lotus team!

  30. Parisian Bob says:

    small point, but I ask if I may, why the photo you carry for Lotus news always is of Grosjean and not Raikkonen?

    For Ferrari you always show Alonso, quite right. Other teams are largely equal drivers, but not these two I think. (Although I normally support everything French!)

  31. Kay says:

    So Lotus and its drivers will race in anger ahead of Monaco then hey? :D :D :D
    Heh nice partnership.

  32. Tom Weaver says:

    James,
    Doesn’t Heikki Kovaleinen have an Angry Birds helmet design this year? Is this another shot across the bows in the Lotus/Caterham dispute?

  33. Jonathan says:

    Stick a green pig on the finish line, and Lotus will win no problems! :) I just hope they aren’t the exploding type of Angry Bird…

  34. SH says:

    I may have been dreaming, but I could have sworn I saw Angry Birds graphics on a couple of driver helmets at the Barcelona GP.

  35. Aljo says:

    Presumably their 500 includes the, Group Lotus sanctioned, (Fernandez) ‘Lotus Racing’ races but not the, Group Lotus disputed, (Fernandez) ‘Team Lotus’ races ?

  36. Travis says:

    I thought Angry Birds was sponsoring Heikki…now they’re joining up with another team?

    1. James Clayton says:

      Maybe they think Heikki still drives for a team called ‘Lotus’ and they’re gonna end up with a puzzled look on their face at Monnaco? :)

  37. Cody says:

    How is this going to work with Heikki being aligned with them in some way while driving for Caterham?

    http://media.t3.com/img/resized/an/xl_AngryBirds_Heikki_624.jpg

    I don’t think F1 needs another legal battle between these two organizations.

  38. Sebee says:

    Turns out that the F1 ECU from yesterday can indeed run angry birds! :-). And I thought that my comment was a bit silly.

    May I just say, Plants vs. Zombies is a way better game. Honestly I’m surprised how crazy people are about Birds.

  39. LD01 says:

    I could see some fun resprayed cars for this occasion. Would be a great bit of promotion, seeing two Angy Bird themed cars zip around the millionaires playground of Monaco. It would steal the limelight from whoever is in first place. Hope they do something along these lines.

  40. Nigel (USA) says:

    Did they announce it with a Tweet?

  41. Bakdraft says:

    Hmmm I thought Heikki and Caterham were promoting Angry Birds?

    1. Ro_Jo says:

      Angry Birds is owned by Rovio which is a Finnish company and in turn personally sponsor Hekki and Kimi. So for Monaco, they’re doing a team thing with Lotus but continue to personally sponsor the Finns.

  42. brandon says:

    They have nothing to do with the Lotus of old. Who do they think they’re kidding? Wannabes and the only reason they’ve any talent is because they’ve bought up the old Renault team and a couple decent drivers. The management of the team probably love Angry Birds though so it’s good that these two fine brands are collaborating together.

  43. Michael says:

    Neither enstone nor caterham are lotus as far as I’m concerned it’s stupid .I do like the themed cars though , I liked redbulls starwars car as well.
    I thought heikki had the angry birds eyes on his helmet because he has mad eyes the same ,didn’t know it was an official partnership.

  44. smellyden says:

    James it seems interesting the revenue streams that Lotus have been getting from Rovio and also from Microsoft. F1 seems to be very lacking in sponsorship from these types of business’ but they are exploiting it better than most, any particular reason for this?

  45. Russ says:

    So if I buy lotus does it mean RUSS has 500 starts?
    I dont think so.

    1. Rich C says:

      Absolutely!

      We’ll all come to your place to help you party, too!

  46. jasonC says:

    I find the debate over team histories a nonsense. The named ‘team’ only exists until that group disbands.
    It would appear at least that is FOM’s take on it in the current debate with Mercedes.
    I for one do not support the buying of a team brand in an effort to cash in on the history surrounding it. As a car manufacture Mercedes has the right to reclaim the brand but even then, for them to draw on the ‘Silver Arrows’ legacy is streching it. The Lotus name should have stayed in the past with it’s proud legacy.
    It is time some form of ruling was made around this to stop the nonsense and if a team wishes to use a former team name or associated name then a strong assocoation must be proven.

    What’s next? Arrows, Jordan, Brabham, BRM etc.

  47. Rich C says:

    An amusing PR ploy, though a bit silly.

    One wouldn’t expect the glitterati at Monoco to even *know what angry birds is, either.

    And as for that 500th GP nonsense…

    “Lotus” are becoming F1′s version of social climbers.

    1. Hendo says:

      At least they’re backing it up by climbing up the rankings with their on-track performance.

      Is it really all that silly – it’s got us all talking about Angry Birds & Lotus…PR job done

      1. Rich C says:

        I seriously doubt there’s many of us here in their target demographic.

  48. John O'Sullivan says:

    OK, if Lotus F1 are claiming Renaults races from 2002 to 2010, are the claiming renault’s races from 77 to 85?

  49. olivier says:

    Ohno! Great sponsor, wrong team. The angry bird ethos is more in synch with Caterham than Lotus.

    Or perhaps Angry Bird could sponsor two teams?

    Caterham = birds
    Lotus = pigs

  50. Craig in SG says:

    It seems there are a lot of people who are having trouble comprehending the following line;

    “This milestone refers to the team which was Benetton and Renault”

    Must be a bit disheartening, James, when you take the time to include such information only to see comment after comment indicating that they haven’t even read the whole piece. Trust me, it does feel better when you stop banging your head against the wall.

  51. Mitchel says:

    James, have you ever posted a Lotus-related article that hasn’t produced 90% confusion on the following thread?!

    It always raises a smile when I see ‘Lotus’ in the headline…:)

    1. James Allen says:

      I know. It’s amazing. That’s what they are dealing with. So odd for them to claim 500 GPs, as it’s across several different teams. If it’s Lotus, then let it be Lotus’ history, no?

  52. Dave Aston says:

    I’d like to see Lotus do well this weekend… I’m getting sick of Maldonado/Williams dominating this year.

  53. Bob says:

    The 500th grand prix refers to the Toleman, Benetton, Renault, Lotus history. It it NOTHING to do with Team Lotus or the green cars from the last two years.

    Please try to understand this before you start criticising the team!!

  54. Toleman fan says:

    “the latest Elise is 1.2 tons..”

    Lotus claim 924kg for the top Elise S, with abs, airbags, stability control and the rest, plus about 220hp. A lot more than a K-series mk1, but not quite 1.2 tons.

    What -does- weigh 1.2 tons is the new Exige. Over on Autocar, this is being slated in the forums for its weight and cost, and how ridiculous it is to offer a convertible Exige when everyone knows an Exige is just an Elise with a roof on.

    The problem is that what everyone knows is wrong. The new Exige is basically the cabin and nose of the old car, grafted on to the back half of a modified Evora chassis, and with the Evora’s almost-350hp, 3.5litre V6. Yes, it’s a lot heavier than the old car, and a lot more expensive. But looking at what’s in it, and how much faster it is than the old one, it’s not too surprising…

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