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Fernandes gives up JPS livery but is determined to remain Team Lotus
Fernandes gives up JPS livery but is determined to remain Team Lotus
Posted By: James Allen  |  12 Dec 2010   |  5:33 pm GMT  |  102 comments

In the intricate chess match which is the battle to be “Lotus” in Formula 1, this weekend it was the turn of Tony Fernandes to make some moves.

The Malaysian businessman, who owns the team which competed this year as Lotus Racing and which is entered for next year as Team Lotus, phoned around a few journalists for a chat, including myself.

Team Lotus is on track for 2011, says Fernandes (Darren Heath)

This follows a week in which most of the running had been made by the opposition in the form of Danny Bahar, CEO of Group Lotus. As in his struggles to build his airline business, Fernandes finds himself pitted once again against the Malaysian government, which owns the Proton company, which in turn owns Group Lotus. This week they announced that they are getting involved in the Renault F1 team. “We are Lotus and we are back” said Bahar triumphantly.

Fernandes has a different view on that.

I took the call from Fernandes on Saturday afternoon and we talked about his decision to stick with the green and yellow colour scheme and his refusal to back down in the dispute over the Lotus name. He had originally tweeted the news that he was giving in over the dispute on the black and gold livery. “We’re not childish and emotional and saying, ‘Oh no, we’ve got to be black and gold.’ We’re pragmatic,” he said. He also found that many fans felt that the green and yellow was more suitable, not least because the John Player Special cigarette brand still exists.

What Fernades is categorically not going to back down on is the use of the Team Lotus and suggestions from the Malaysian government that the two sides work together have fallen on deaf ears. So it boils down to is this; Fernandes has a court case – which he called for – coming up in April or May 2011 in London at which a judge will decide whether he has the right to race in F1 as Team Lotus, having bought that name from David Hunt.

If he wins and the judge decides that Team Lotus and Group Lotus are two separate entities then he will not have to back down and rebrand his team. So we would have four cars on the grid with Lotus in the name.

Where Fernandes believes he holds a strong hand is that his chassis is called Lotus, whereas with the Lotus Renault GP team the “Lotus” part of the name is a title sponsor component, like Vodafone is with McLaren Mercedes. Renault cannot change the name of its chassis without potentially forfeiting its prize money, which this year is in the $40 million range.

So they key question is; what will the TV commentators and media describe those cars as? Fernandes believes that if we call them Lotus Renaults then its like calling Lewis Hamilton’s and Jenson Button’s cars Vodafone McLarens, which of course people do not do.

“Are there two Lotus teams? That’s a big question mark,” he said. “Lotus in its present form (on the Renault team cars) is a sponsor. It’s a Renault chassis and engine and the commentators will refer to them as Renaults. But if they do or not it doesn’t really matter, there is Manchester City and Manchester United (in football). It’s how we present our brand and what we are going to do with it.”

If the sponsorship of the team is allowed to carry with it chassis name association, argues Fernandes, then it opens up a raft of IP issues. Taken to its logical conclusion, it means that theoretically a team with no heritage could take a title sponsorship from a company called Williams and create an impression that it had Williams heritage.

Fernandes was also keen to underline the credentials his operation has in Asia. His strength – and one of his main attractions to Bernie Ecclestone and to F1 as a whole – is is ability to take brands into the Asian market, thanks to the strong network he and his shareholders in Team Lotus have throughout Asia. Fernandes owns Air Asia. So whatever they are promoting on the side of a Lotus car is reaching a large and engaged audience in a vast emerging market that banks and consumer brands are desperate to engage.

Behind all of this is a strategy, that will become clear in the next year, “We have a very powerful billboard on the car,” he says. “Some of the brands don’t have to be Lotus related, they could be things that we own or wish to develop, ” he said, indicating perhaps products that his group may be developing away from racing. “We’ve been formulating what we can do in terms of using the Team Lotus brand and you’ll see many things coming up which haven’t been done before.”

So it looks for the moment as though there will be four cars with Lotus associations on the grid in Bahrain next March and then the court case will either force them to change – if they lose – or keep things the same, if they win.

I’m meeting Bahar on Wednesday in London so I shall look forward very much to hearing his side of the story on this.

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I think that only ONE person is allowed to settle this argument. The true carrier of Colin Chapman's blood and flesh of Lotus:

Clive Chapman


I don't know what's worse, that they fight over this lotus word...

or that we care.

I'd rather participate in JA survey on which driver is the bad boy of F1.


@Biskut Crackers

I agree - even though it may be that today other people own the necessary Team Lotus trademarks it is only Clive Chapman who owns the moral right to claim his father's racing heritage.

Therefore for any of the Lotus-wannabe teams to truly earn the right to call themselves Lotus it is necessary to be endorsed by the Chapmans!


If only Jim Clark had a child...


Clive has given Colin's cap to Tony, you can't have any greater endorsement than that.


The problem is that Clive didn't control the rights to the Team Lotus name at the time. He can endorse them all he wants, but from a legal point of view, it's inadmissable.


I agree, the Malaysians are indeed building their house upon sand...

The Windsor interview with Hunt is fantastic reading, you can find it here...


Come on Tony we believe in you!

Come on the real Team Lotus!!

It's great news for UK motorsport.

Colin Chapman would be proud.


David Hunt held the rights to use the Team Lotus name in motorsport and advertising, and he sold them to Tony Fernandes. Bahar and his group Lotus are without doubt legally on very very shaky ground, as they have been attempting to use the Team Lotus branding and image for past years, and now they are completely arbitrarily claiming it for themselves. They are not the real Lotus, they are a Renaut team, the same team that arranged the most dreadful example of F1 cheating in the history of the sport, and they are taking the Lotus name and abusing it. The Lotus brand was never about marketing. It was about hugely impressive engineering, and racing pedigree. In the same way, the Lotus road cars that are being announced and will sold in the coming years are a complete departure from those same ethics, of simple, lightweight racing pedigree, as they are becoming large, powerful road based cars that realistically are not going to compete with their competitors.


... who gave his Dad's black cap to Tony Fernandes and said to him "You are the man who is going to carry on my father’s tradition” 🙂



When's the copy of the book I won in the average car thing arriving? 🙂


I only received mine a couple of days ago, the weather has slowed up the post pretty badly. great book by the way James, its quite entertaining to read all the controversy stories knowing how they ended, your retrospective sections are superb!


Good manners,eh,Aaron?


Btw, I bought a couple of copies, one for a gift, one for myself. They have not arrived to Madrid yet...

I've read here that some people from Australia already got their copies. I think that the last time I looked at the map, Spain seemed to be much closer to the UK than Australia!!


Yes, I got my copy a few days ago but that would have been before the snowfest (and we have no such thing here during our summer).


Mmmm. That doesn't sound right. We had some very bad weather in UK last week which delayed post and courier. Chase it with Grand Prix Legends


James, please forget my previous comment. Both copies have just arrived. Looking forward to catch this evening train back home so I can start to read the book!!

I will give you some feedback with my opinon if you want 😀


Definitely! Thanks and thanks also for all your fantastic comments in 2010, always interesting


Sorry guys, I don't in anyway mean to rub it in, but I received my book last week. Im sure it will arrive with you, the weathers been bad so it might have just been delayed

But just wanted to say Thanks to James, reading through it slowly, very very good


Indeed. It's a "2010 Renault" with a paint job and a primary sponsor. In racing terms, neither Proton nor members of the Malaysian Government have any F1 pedigree. Team Lotus have exactly 1 year. Depends what's important to you - racing or labels.


Agreed. It sounds like, in the case of the current Renault team, the Lotus name will be as important as the Scuderia Marlboro in Ferrari, Or the Vodafine in Mclaren.

For me, Fernandes has played with a fairly strainght bat here. He deserves to carry the reputation he has built up in 2010 into 2011.


I don't see how any of the two teams wins in this silliness. Seems weird to pay the money to get into F1 just to try and be right about who can use the word lotus. A flower I last checked. Or a car that is far from being highly desireable with the super "high tech" Toyota engine that is found in $10k Celicas. If I was Team Lotus I would buy the rights to Tyrell name and paint fake two wheels or put in two fake carbon ones and incorporate them into the aero package. 🙂


The Tyrell team is still on the grid my friend. They're called Mercedes GP these days.

March and Arrows could be up for grab though. The only one we know is a definite no-no is Brabham.


Good suggestions Malcom. Maybe we should also add Cooper, Matra, Benetton and BRAWN to the list of championship winning teams no longer on the grid! 🙂


What about Vanwall or BRM? 😉


Ignoring all the politics behind the scenes, the only thing actually changing in 2011 from a spectator's point of view is the Renault's livery.

So not really that confusing in the end.


How about Royal Blue with a White nose band for Monaco and Silverstone as a tribute to Rob Walker?


Surely any commentator would call a team what it wants to be called as with BMW than Sauber, rather than "BMW Sauber" as they've officially been called for some years.

I guess, therefore, that the teams will end up being "Green Lotus" and "Black Lotus" to distinguish them.


" Taken to its logical conclusion, it means that theoretically a team with no heritage could take a title sponsorship from a company called Williams and create an impression that it had Williams heritage."

That's quite funny, because he is doing almost the same with Team Lotus name. His team has no real connection to the heritage of Chapman's Team Lotus. It has been created a year ago and Chapman's team doesn't exist any more.

Does it really matter if someone tries to claim someone's heritage by buying a name or acquiring it through sponsorship?


"His team has no real connection to the heritage of Chapman’s Team Lotus"

Oh yes it does, it has the great man's cap a gift from Clive Chapman.

It's a pity in some ways that cars cannot be built to the same target nowadays, then the ideal was to have the car win and fall apart as it crossed the line. Chapman was criticised for often having his fall apart before the race finished, nor did he have any truck with drivers changing his setup of the car, he knew best, drivers were just employees. Things have changed a lot in many areas, not all to the good.


@Dr Prozac

That's exactly my thought when i read that paragraph. What right does current "Team Lotus" have with regards to the historical heritage of Colin Chapman's team? Is paying David Hunt for the right to use "Team Lotus" trademarks automatically also giving them right to claim all Chapman's successes as their own?

Those are some big shoes to fill!

I guess the only person who has the right to the true Team Lotus heritage, even if he doesn't own the necessary trademarks, is Clive Chapman and his Classic Team Lotus, where, as i read, a lot of the original Team Lotus employees continue to work on maintaining old historical Lotus F1 cars. So endorsement from the Chapmans, even though legally means nothing, would be absolutely essential is one wishes to claim the moral rights to Colin Chapman's racing heritage.


Well, no, the equivalent would be buying the Williams brand.


Spot on -Fernandes has bought a name, thats all!

I'm with Lotus Renault...the real Lotus


It's all so painfully unnecessary and so very F1-like. Other sports manage to let entire months pass without a new controversy, infight or political battle during which the sport itself is the star - surely F1 could manage a week now and then. It get's so tireing. Thank god the on track action continues to thrill and excite me - laregly due to the new breed on young drivers led by LH.


It is in the interest of F1 to be in the news.


IMHO this is very much like F1. Petty squabbles over everything possible!


Colin Chapman must be chuckling about all this. Its exactly the kind of wheeler dealing that he used to indulge in..... I have to say that my sympathy goes with Fernandes, I think his team was quite impressive over the whole season


I somehow tend to think its just a theatrical show to get some popularity, even though these shenanigans about who is the real Lotus and 4 black and gold cars grabbed the headlines, I have seen atleast 2 ads on CNN ( which also sponsors Team lotus aka Fernandes's team) every day for the green and Yellow livery for the past couple of months. Why would someone spend valuable TV ad minutes to something that they will do away with?

James any comments?


It's a chess game, like I said. Both men have an end game in mind, both are being forced to adapt


Its a messy affair, but i hope Fernandes has the judgement in his name. His outfit might not be the same of old, but you can atleast trace the name back to what was Team Lotus.

James, did Tony Fernandes give any comments regarding the coming court case? Im assuming he's taking this action to protect his teams name from being forced to change by the FIA or FOM further down the line.

And what would the ramifications towards Group Lotus's sponsorship of whatwas Renault be if Fernandes does win ?

As for what they will be called, Team Lotus is Lotus (as they was last season) and Lotus-Renault is Renault. Its what the timing boards will say.


Group Lotus Renault TW Steel Total GP 🙂


He launched the case and feels optimistic that he will win it.


Good luck to him. Four black and gold cars would have been fun for a short while, but the novelty would have quickly worn off. I prefer the green and yellow livery.

James, what's your preferred choice for the two lotus teams, what would you be inclined to refer to them as? Lotus and Renault or team lotus and lotus Renault.


I don't have a preferred choice at this point, this story needs to evolve some more before it's clear how we should refer to the cars


Totally rediculous...............Lotus were a respected F1 team in the past.

Renault or Fernandes have no right morally or otherwise to use the Lotus brand.

Renault are established and Fernandes should make up a name that suits his mediocre team.

BUT not Lotus.


Proton Renault GP - has quite a ring to it, no?

Just in time for the four-pot engines in 2013!


I'd like to know why Mr Fernandes chose to use the Lotus name in the first place. Why not use his own name?


I think initially, he had the idea of getting Group Lotus on board.

His biggest mistake was to underestimate/mismanage Proton's and the Malaysian government's expectations; now he is told the reason Group Lotus have sided with Renault.

As an F1 enthusiast, I feel his intentions were honourable by getting the approval of the Chapmans. I think it got ugly because he never explained to people unfamiliar to F1 Lotus Racing would not be racing at the front.


Exactly, it's really distasteful to try and muscle in on the territory of a legitimate car manufacturer trying to do it's own thing and just race in F1. I mean who does this guy think he is telling Lotus to stop being Lotus?


To be fair, Lotus were behind this naming for the 2010 season, and since Mr Bahar decided to come out in 2011 with a team, that is when the dispute has come out.

Ultimately, Tony Fernandes is not saying Lotus cannot be lotus group. He is saying he brought the Lotus name back to F1, and he has acquired the Lotus brand.

Had Lotus group (Proton) gone in first, I dont think anyone would have bothered. But they didn't. They saw the groundswell of support, having had every chance to go into F1 during their ownership of Lotus company (and bought the Team lotus name).

If you read up on the history, group have been trying to beat David Hunt for years on his right to use Team Lotus.


Yes, because Hunt like Ferandes is a third party and Lotus must protect their commercial brand from abuse. From corporate view point is all right.

It's pretty clear - Fernandes got Lotus Racing brand from Group Lotus not from Hunt so his achievements in F1 in relation to lotus credit Group Lotus not team Lotus. Team Lotus did not drive yet.

And it is not Bahar who licensed Lotus Racing to Fernandes but previous management.

Unfortunately for Fernandes, his team is way too weak compared to Renaul F1 to promote lotus road cars of Group Lotus.


I totally agree with you !


Well the commentators and media are going to call Lotus Renault - Renault, and Team Lotus - Lotus, otherwise it would be like calling Mclaren - Vodafone. So it is clear which team it the 'true Lotus' and that is Team Lotus.


They should call them the black cars and the green cars. It's simple and the Lotus name doesn't get used at all so they both lose out.


James, wonderful quality of information right from the source. I really hope that Fernandes pulls it off as he seems to be exceptionally good at getting things done. There are two issues that he will struggle against. The first is that Lotus is not merely a title sponsor. They are that AND a 25% minority shareholder, having bought Renault's stake. The second issue is that Fernandes felt oblidged to acquire licenses, last year, to the name Lotus from the Lotus group. the license was for 5 years, I believe, and was then annuled by the Lotus group. They cited bad use of their brand and, to do so, there must have been a relevant clause in the license contract. This was not disputed in court at the time, but is, as I believe, the core of the court case that Fernandes brough forward now. Interestingly, if you read today's interview of Gerard Lopez, he mentions that fact.

I have a feeling that Renault's role in this story is complicated.

As much as I like Team Lotus, they have a mountain to climb, unfortunately...


Good call to stick with green and yellow/gold. The team already have a strong association with those colours and it remains distinctive in the paddock, too many other teams stick with black, white, red and silver.

As to what the cars are referred to thank you for the information about the Lotus named chassis, surely that is a major plus for them - would have been a major stumbling block if it had been a 1 Malaysia Chassis. Would be quite the precedent if title sponsers names are used, surely that would open up sponsorship for naming rights? I wouldn't be surprised to see the Lotus Renault name used by commentators, I think a lot will depend on each commentator's own relationship with members of each team. This poses another question: with Bahar having worked with RedBull and Ferrari, what are his relationships with other teams - good, bad or indifferent?

Would be good to hear some reaction from other teams/drivers to the fiasco.


Another great piece, James in what is becoming a truly fascinating off-season drama.

Great that you will be talking with Dany Bahar next week too in order to gain first-hand latest insight into his side of the story.

James, would you possibly be able to ask Dany on our behalf whether, with the F1 team now running in Black/Gold, whether the intention is now to have the KVRT Lotus-affiliated IndyCar team and especially the GP2 and GP3 Lotus ART teams running in similar Black/Gold paint-scheme too?

I saw photos of Estaban Guitierrez testing for the Lotus ART GP2 team some weeks ago and the car was decked out in classic Lotus green/yellow scheme, yet that was some weeks before 'Lotus Renault GP' was announced and so would really be interested to see now whether the junior Group Lotus motorsport teams will apodt the same scheme as the F1 team.

Many thanks James and loving the blog as always

Best regards



It's quite easy for Fernandes to say "actually, it's good not to go for black and gold because JPS cigarettes are still around and we don't want that association", but presumably that whole chestnut appeared in the discussion prior to them originally sending out a press release going "yeah, we're having the black and gold livery in 2011".

The two are so closely linked surely someone would've went "yeah, but that was essentially a cigarette livery, are we still cool with this?"

It's a handy excuse to make now that Bahar has pre-empted them with it but a poor smokescreen surely.

Anyway, I tend to agree with Dominic that the commentators are unlikely to stick rigidly to calling them simply Renault. They'll do what they intially did with the BMW Sauber case, make some off-tack comment about the situation and how it's weird, and then just go back to calling them Sauber.

It's complicated because people will understand that Vodafone doesn't own Mclaren whereas Lotus essentially does (co-)own Renault and distinguish accordingly, even if for convoluted prize money reasons it's still technically a Renault chassis. Commentators won't want to confuse everyone with technicalities like that every time they refer to the team.

To be honest the whole thing is kind of funny. It'll be a nice subplot for 2011, especially as they're on the same powerplant, and the whole thing has spilled over into GP2 as well.


Is the Lotus name really worth fighting over? How many F1 fans even remember the original Lotus Team, or Team Lotus or Lotus Position Racing or whatever it was/is/will be officially called, and how many fans actually care? Honestly I am confused, and I suspect I am not alone.


Seems to me that there speaks a youngster! When I think F1 I first think Lotus, Ferrari, Brabham, Tyrrell, McLaren, Williams, etc. Those were the teams I grew up watching.


Nah, I'm not THAT young. My point is that I don't see the value in resurrecting an old team's name, no matter how storied, when F1 is having a hard enough time attracting newer, younger fans who probably couldn't care less who Jim Clark was. I think it's more exciting for fans to see someone create their own legends rather than ride the coattails of legends of days long gone by.


"I’m meeting Bahar on Wednesday in London so I shall look forward very much to hearing his side of the story on this."

Pleas ask him where the money is coming from, I've downloaded the accounts of both Group Lotus plc and it's holding company, Lotus Group Int'l Ltd (2009/10 to April not filed yet) and there are certainly no piles of spare dosh waiting to be poured into F1 either buying more of Genii's share of Renault or the black hole of a race team; indeed just the opposite, several large holes that need filling in with money. I cannot see Bahar continuing in the sport after the first year when the money from abroad dries up. I understand that Proton is in a bad way too with flagging home sales in it's currently protected market. (DYOR)

Also please ask why he did not use the company Lotus Motorsport Ltd which is an existing Lotus Group Int'l Ltd subsidiary listed as dormant.

Has he consulted John Players re using their iconic livery, he must remember he is not Ferrari!


Why don't they call themselves Brabham instead!


Hi James,

Personally I think (Team) Lotus have done a great so far and should continue with their success, Danny Bahar seems quite a character..

On a side not thankyou for my copy of 2010: Five Rivals, One Champion (won from the top 5 drivers competition), a great read, and the hindsight view added another dimension to the book! Also loved the postcard of your website banners enclosed, i've always wondered who creates them..

Wishing you a Merry Christmas and thanks for providing such a great insight this season; can't wait for the next!


Great, thanks for that


James, can you ask him how they are back as to come back you must have been there in the first place,also could you point out to him that the real TEAM LOTUS would not have to put a big LOTUS badge on the front nose of the car.The total signs would also be black and gold not red and white, it's a RENAULT no matter what he says.


I can't but ask what is all the fuss and hype by the media. There was nothing like this when Vodaphone or Petronias started sponsoring an F1 team, so why such fuss over just another sponsor? The cars remain Renault, even the team name remains Renault doesn't it without FIA and the other teams agreement? so why such confusion. Air Asia was on two teams this year and nobody said anything, so why is having the word Lotus on two teams cars such a big issue? It's not even big bucks sponsorship as according to the boss of Proton the total commitment to F1 comes out of the Lotus group marketing budget of less than 20 million per year. Renault must have desperate.


Tom Walkinshaw has sadly passed away today. A gentleman who started racing himself and then into a successful independent team owner.

I have to go with TF as the real Lotus on the grid, we know he is using an old team name, but he has put it on the line and started from the bottom to do things his/the old fashion way and not paid his way to the top.

The whole TF team is Lotus, when they all signed on for jobs it was with Lotus and all want to see the name regain a high ranking.

Buying into a company can not make it a team, its a business opportunity. It's buying someone else's work, Renaults work and for that alone it doesn't make it a Lotus?

It's all about principles, how much hard work is put in. Like it is said, even if you only count the last year TF Lotus was racing, its more than Protons Lotus has ever raced.

One is a Lotus and the other is a Renault!


I like Fernades, I wasn't sure at first but I think he has the right personality for formula one. I like the gentle rivalry he had with Richard Branson and the way in which he has been respectful to Lotus and Norfolk.

Bahar on the other hand is coming across as a play ground bully that wants what the other kid has.

I think Bahar plans for Group Lotus are doomed, he's trying to do too much too soon.

I hope Fernades keeps the Team Lotus name and commentators refer to the other team as simply Renault.


Fernandes thinks he is more Lotus than the car company that makes Lotus Cars.

Only he's not, he's just a crafty, PR-savvy (notice how he plays the victim always) guy who has an old trademark and the audacity to try and stop Lotus racing under it's own name in F1.

Oh, and he thought of the black/gold idea for 2011 second.

To his credit, he does know how to work the media, but I think if you dig a bit deeper you start to see past the smoke and mirrors.


Bring back Tyrell!


It's still there, re-re-re-re-branded as Mercedes.

(Tyrrell >> BAR >> Honda >> Brawn >> Mercedes, hence the four "re's")



Very strange how the name has gone unused and unwanted for many many years, and now two organizations want it, both Malaysian, of all things!

Four cars hasn't hurt the Red Bull name.


Enzo Ferrari is not around and from my understanding the Ferrari family have little to do with the company (car or F1) owned by Fiat. Yet the synergy between road cars and F1 is huge.

Just because Colin Chapman isn't around, why can't people allow the company that sells Lotus cars to supervise their own F1 team? It's shouldn't have to be about simply buying history because of a loophole. And why can't TF use his passion to promote his own Brands?

I wonder how he would feel if someone brought the naming rights to Air Asia in Europe and went flying!

In my view he is clearly duping a whole lot of lotus fans with his real intentions to make money. Fact.... he also stated to the Malaysian press that he would play the Malaysian national anthem if the team got a podium! How much respect for heritage is that!


He would have to sell the rights to Air Asia, just like Hunt sold the rights to Team Lotus. It seems to me that Proton is just doing this to "bother" TF, why didnt they start a team before TF? Why did they allow TF to use the Lotus name. Its like they didnt realize how much money they could make and how many products they could promote, and now they are just trying to cash in on someones else's success. Pitifull


Because first they needed to change all management - first in Proton, then in Lotus. Bahar came to late to prevent the licence to Fernandes, but at least he could revoke it.


I don't see any problems with the anthems. Benetton moved from English to Italian anthems and it was still the same team. If anything, it probably went more English as time wore on.

Change comes with time; and it is totally plausible that Team Lotus could have done the same as Benetton. Racing heritage is more important than nationality in my view. If this provides any reassurance, Malaysia also used to be a part of the British Empire.


I can't remember where I read this, but I believe that TF's Team Lotus was considered by Bernie and the FIA to be a continuation of the traditional Team Lotus. Therefore they had received extra money and such along the way.

Therefore I would expect that TF will continue to be Team Lotus, and Renault will be Renault.


Hi James.

Bahar has a very big problem on his hands. For his plans to succeed, he needs a lot of money, i.e. sell a lot of cars plus 99xlottary.

It's an impossible task to achieve, given that he doesn't have a solid manufacturer support (Proton sale's are small), has a lot of money to invest on product development, and he's going to compete with Ferrari, Porsche, Mclaren, Lamborghini, Aston-Martin, and even Mercedes (SLR), Audi (R8), Nissan (GT-R) and Jaguar. Who's going to splash the money to buy a good chassis with a toyota engine, when they can buy something of the above mentioned.

I really hope that Tony Fernandes succeeds and remains independent, because Bahar's Lotus will go down in a few years, and to see the whole Lotus (factory + Team Lotus) disappear would be a tragedy, all due to a single man's exacerbated and childish ego.


I fear for lotus as a carmaker as well. They have had a good deal of success with the Elise and the Europa.

I would have liked them to add an esprit replacement and for it to be successful before adding others.

These sort of multi car rollouts are a challenge even for Ferrari/Porsche.

While I don't support Danny bahar on the F1 project, I'd hope Lotus as a car group will be around for a long while yet.


Proton os co-owned by Petronas, huge petrochemical Malasian company - Petronas towers. I feel they will be going well enough.


If Petronas wanted to support Group Lotus they wouldn't put all the money on the Mercedes GP Team. Seriously, which marque has more relevance on these days: Mercedes or Group Lotus/Proton?


They should lose the yellow stripe down the nose of the car. Looked great on the '49 in 1967, but modern F1 cars are so much more slender, making it look pants. Just go British racing green with yellow accenting, burgundy interior.


It was only when Team Lotus raced in the Indy 500 that they added the yellow stripe, and then carried over the practice to F1, F2, etc. Therefore, running a solid green car would still be in keeping with Lotus heritage.

Alternatively, why not extend the yellow to the full width of the nose? Then it would not look ridiculously thin (my only gripe with the current scheme), and it would remove the cluttered look. Also, just green and yellow; no white accent lines... and white circles with black numbers!


that's a very good point about the slender nose and like your thinking on the overall scheme



1. … and they should have a brighter green. So far, it looks quite dark on screen. They can draw inspiration from Ferrari: their red sparkles on television.

2. Have all yellow barge boards with large vintage numbers!

3. Put an effort on typeface! It really pays off.

4. Get rid of the stripes on the nose and the barge boards. They add graphic clutter and look messy with the sponsor logo's. If not, simplify them as much as possible and make them wide. Please, no G string stripes.


Im glad they have stayed with the British Racing Green. Its just not f1 without. I have never really associated Lotus with the black and gold era so much.

I believe the green and yellow was always more lotus and surprised that Group Lotus didnt go that way to start with.


I don't think the Lotus racing green was ever British Racing Green, it was a green with more yellow in it than proper BRG.

BRM had the true British Racing Green & remained constant on all their cars.


Is anyone else wondering whether Mike and Tony were pulling a fast one about the black and gold colour scheme?

I wondered whether they put that one out there to put Group off the scent of using the green/yellow livery.

For whats its worth, I think the green and yellow is a fantastic colour scheme.

In reality, neither team has the real heritage of Colin Chapmans original one, however I'd put my support behind Team Lotus (or Team 1 Malaysia or whatever people choose to call them).

They came in and built a very respectable team from scratch, with good F1 people, two good drivers and they've made serious moves on the tech front for 2011 with redbull and renault.

It adds another fascinating aspect to 2011, whichever one of the lotus teams you support/follow.


True... also, if you look at it another way, only one of the teams actually hired two drivers... the other team has a pay driver. A few more points to Team Lotus for that difference!


Good call by Fernandes and, given Mike Gascoyne's tweets, almost inevitable.

They can even adapt some of the Black-Gold livery competition entries if they want to "keep faith" with fans. I thought this one could be adapted nicely for BRG+Yellow scheme:


Black => Green

Gold => Yellow

Make rear wing match front (lose stripe on rear wing which would compromise sponsorship), flair the yellow strip towards the rear of the car. Nice. 🙂


..."intricate chess match"... is great analogy. I think high stakes poker is just as appropriate! Who is bluffing?!

Dany Bahar is betting the house with all the announced motorsport activities (F1, Indy etc). If it fails to come together, he will be walking away from the table with no clothes and a reputation in tatters.

Tony is playing the odds wisely and is keeping emotions off the table. But are his pockets as deep as what Bahar has access to? I suspect they aren't.


I am surprised that both Renault and Genii Capital have come completely unscathed this far.

It's no secret Carlos Ghosn never was an F1 fan (I think Fernando Alonso felt this at the end of 06 when he sighed for McLaren). I find it surprising the car can be named a Renault despite selling the remaining 25% of Renault F1 to Group Lotus.

So we have Renault F1 (chassis) no longer owned by Renault cars and Team Lotus no longer owned by Lotus cars (albeit since the early 1990s).

You'll have to admit this is an artificial situation created by the legislator and lawyers alike; and this naming rights business is proving to be complete nonsense to the fans.


The longer this drags on the more Fernandez will lose credibility with the fans, claiming rights to a heritage that should be left alone in history.

He would earn more respect to rebrand his team, and build it up from scratch and create his own piece of history in F1.


Another great piece, James in what is becoming a truly fascinating off-season drama.

Great that you will be talking with Dany Bahar next week too in order to gain first-hand latest insight into his side of the story.

James, would you possibly be able to ask Dany on our behalf whether, with the F1 team now running in Black/Gold, whether the intention is now to have the KVRT Lotus-affiliated IndyCar team and especially the GP2 and GP3 Lotus ART teams running in similar Black/Gold paint-scheme too?

I saw photos of Estaban Guitierrez testing for the Lotus ART GP2 team some weeks ago and the car was decked out in classic Lotus green/yellow scheme, yet that was some weeks before ‘Lotus Renault GP’ was announced and so would really be interested to see now whether the junior Group Lotus motorsport teams will adopt the same scheme as the F1 team.

Many thanks James and loving the blog as always

Best regards



Hi James,

I received my copies of your book and from what I've read of it so far it's a great summary of the key events. An excellent read, and reminders of just how many things had happened in 2010.

I'm hoping for some long trips in the lead up to Christmas to get through the remainder.

Wishing you and your family a great Christmas and all the best for 2011.


P.s personal highlight of the year speaking to eddie Irvine. Thanks for the opportunity.


Your book arrived a couple of weeks ago James (sent to my other nom de guerre) for which Mille Grazie.

I shall keep it until Christmas/New Year has died down,relatives dispersed and F1 withdrawal symptoms are kicking in.

Assuming you also write a book again next year we are already seeing some juicy prospective stories which you will no doubt cover in depth.

Though you will be forgiven for not writing if you return to the UK BBC commentary box, lets face it everyone wants you back with Martin. (almost everyone)


What I'd like to see is Bahar lead Group Lotus down the wrong path entirely, and Fernandes swoop in to not only buy out Group Lotus' road-car division, but also end up with a stake in the Renault F1 team!

That would be poetic justice, in my eyes.

Personally, I see Group Lotus as an off-shoot of Team Lotus to raise funds for the racing effort, and they should recognize that their scope limits them to road-based cars. Scuderia Ferrari came first, and Ferrari road cars were later produced to fund the racing efforts. In both cases, the racing team is the main entity, and the road car division is a fund-raiser.

Group Lotus should stick to GT racing, using modified road cars. Formula cars and Le Mans should be off-limits to them, as it is the domain of Team Lotus.


And yet no 1Malaysia F1 fans have answered : Why did TF want the Lotus name in the first place? .


Just so everyone knows. On the TV graphics currently the rules will mean that Team Lotus would appear as Lotus Renault and will display with all the heritage/stats of the old Team Lotus/Lotus Racing(as in 2010). Lotus Renault GP are still Renault and as the chassis is Renault they will appear as just Renault. If the chassis becomes Lotus then there would be a conflict and someone would have to compromise. But my question is if the Renault team officially becomes a Lotus team then who has the history and stats. Danny Behr says they are trading on the history of the Toleman/Benetton/Renault heritage but currently all the stats trade the Renault team as part of the original Renault team from the 80's. All very confusing for the viewer and to be honest a little annoying for F1 purists. FOM and the FIA should basically say this is not possible. People will immediately make the assumption that Lotus Renault GP are the Lotus team with all the heritage, this is because not only are they carrying an original and iconic Team Lotus livery but are also using the official Lotus badge. All detrimental to the Lotus brand I fear.

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