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Invasion of the Black and Golds: Bahar says, “Four Lotus cars on grid suits me”
Invasion of the Black and Golds: Bahar says, “Four Lotus cars on grid suits me”
Posted By: James Allen  |  08 Dec 2010   |  6:21 pm GMT  |  210 comments

Tonight F1 fans are a little confused and a little concerned as they contemplate a 2011 season with four black and gold Lotus Renault cars on the track, two owned by the Enstone based Lotus Renault GP and two – in slightly different livery – owned by Norfolk based Team Lotus.

The Team Lotus entries have nothing to do with the Norfolk based Lotus Cars operation, which is a 25% shareholder in the Enstone based team.

The Team Lotus colour scheme

The two different Black and Gold liveries – both tributes to the iconic JPS Lotus colours of the 1970s – are at large on the internet at the moment.

Lotus Renault GP’s livery (below) was issued this morning by the team along with its press statement announcing the deal, while a reader has sent what appears to be a scheme for next year’s T128 Lotus with car numbers 20 and 21 (above).

Lotus Renault GP livery

Group Lotus boss Danny Bahar, who now controls 25% of the Enstone based team (livery above), went on BBC Radio Norfolk today to talk about his plans for the company. He brushed off the confusion, saying that it suits him to have four Lotus cars on the grid as it doubles his brand exposure, he’s getting free advertising from Tony Fernandes’ team – but I’m not sure we should believe him on that. This is an unworkable situation from a business point of view, which will cause difficulty for the sponsors of both teams and they will be pressing for a resolution.

“I have nothing against it,” said Bahar. “It’s not a problem for me, four are better than two. The controversy has been mainly pushed out by Media, it’s been dealt with by our shareholders together with 1 Malaysia Team.” (the Norfolk based team)

Although they haven’t commented on the name issue, there has been some Twitter activity from key Team Lotus personnel today on the colour scheme. Technical director Mike Gascoyne Tweeted that in an online poll of Lotus fans 77% wanted them to keep the green and yellow livery, just 15% fancy the black and gold, while 4% of Lotus fans want the Gold Leaf colours of Red and gold.

“Seems pretty conclusive” was Gascoyne’s verdict on the poll.

The two sides will face each other around a table tomorrow at the F1 commission meeting, which is attended by the team principals of all F1 teams, plus circuit owners, sponsors, tyre company, FIA and Bernie Ecclestone. No doubt there will be much talk about this issue. There will also be formal moves towards the 2013 engine formula with small capacity, turbo charged eco engines.

Bahar said that in terms of drivers to partner Robert Kubica, “Our preferred choice is Vitaly Petrov, but I hope that the team will be able to announce by the end of the year the final line up.”

If you are in Central London tomorrow December 9th, come down to the JA on F1 book signing at Motor Books, Cecil Court, London WC2, from 5-30pm until 7pm. As well as a chance to chat about this Lotus story, the Piquets and other stories from the F1 season, I’m delighted to say that Senna Movie writer and producer Manish Pandey will be there so you can ask him any questions you may have about the Senna movie. Copies of the JA on F1 2010 season review book will be available.

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Sorry that something went wrong, repeat again!

Tony’s free promotion for lotus cars is not making any sense, old team lotus has nothing to do with the current team… Tony’s only motive is to use the publicity & sympathy for promotions of his brands air asia & tune hotels… chapman was a racer, engineer & a fighter pilot. Tony is a business man wanting to make money.

i like tony’s team, but i’m not ready to buy into the team lotus illusion story


If Lotus Renault GP does not want to associate themselves with the history of Lotus, why did they to use the black & gold livery?

Doens’t make sense to me.


No Oliver, they do want to, indeed they have claimed so, but they do not have the right to do so. Their use of the Lotus brand specifically excludes F1, whilst the right which Tony has bought from David Hunt is for F1 only as Team Lotus.


I found this yesterday.

It states that Group Lotus has rights to name Lotus in 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.

In turn Team Lotus Ventures have the rights to name Team Lotus in advertising services included in Class 35, all relating to Formula One motor racing; but not including any such services relating to pre-recorded tapes.

So we can say that Team Lotus Ventures has the rights to compete in F1 with name Team Lotus and furthermore Group Lotus doesn’t have the rights to have a team Lotus. So seems that Lotus Renault GP’s name is illegal. “

It was the latter that was sold to Tony and is the basis of the now Team Lotus.


I should say that I copied the post from http//:saveteamlotus.com that got cropped from my post.

Of course it may mean nothing because:

1) The FIA go by French law and the IP registrations are in the UK. and

2)David Windsor tweeted yesterday that Tony has been told to change his team name.

I don’t think the FIA realise the depth and breadth of feeling that this subject has created in the UK fan base nor the furore that will engulf them if Group Lotus are allowed to keep their name. David Hunt will almost definately take action against them.

However as I have posted elsewhere, I think that GL will not be able to support F1 for long and Proton have little or no money to throw at it either.

Lawyers will be rubbing their hands and ordering new cars!


Thats how my Lowyer friend explained it to me too!

Tony has the rights to ‘Team Lotus’ and that brings with it the exclusive use of the brand Lotus when connected to all things F1.

Group Lotus owns the rights to ‘Lotus’ in all arenas except F1 because of the existence of ‘Team Lotus’. This means that Group Lotus have no right to use the name Lotus in F1 as ‘Team Lotus’ own that right exclusivly. i.e. Tony Fernandes can stop ‘Lotus Renault GP’ from having Lotus in their title in the world of F1. Thats the power that the rights to the name ‘Team Lotus’ give him, exclusivity!

anyone else agree, dissagree or clarify this point ? ? ?


my only question is why TF had the licence deal with Group Lotus and not David Hunt for this year, if Hunt is indeed the rightful owner of the Lotus F1 brand.


That’s a great find. I’m not at all surprised to see that Group Lotus don’t really have a leg to stand on after reading Peter Windsor’s interview with David Hunt (here: http://bit.ly/8XBrkp).

Anyone who looks deeply into the situation can see that the Lotus racing team was always kept as a separate entity to the Lotus Cars arm of the business. So for Bahar to declare that they’re one in the same is just nonsense (and proven by the fact that himself and Proton attempted to buy the racing rights from David Hunt several years ago).


I’m having lunch with him next Wednesday, I look forward to finding out more


Having had the Red Bull/Toro Rosso present and now two Lotus teams (although more separate than the RB/TR combination) just makes a mockery of Formula One. I despise the Toro Rosso/Red Bull issue and I will not like this either!


I’m reminded of the ending moments of a certain Monty Python film:

“I’m a Lotus and so’s my wife!”


If the subliminal JPS message of black and gold is allowed, Ferrari should be permitted to put the barcode back on their car in my view.


With all these similar cars (four Red Bull/Toro Rosso, four Lotus whatever), is it time to bring back large visible numbers for the cars so that we don’t have to squint to see the helmet colours to tell them apart?


Like most of our friends posting on this site, I think Tony and Mike have done a great job in the sensitive way they have effectively re-launched what they can now call “Team Lotus.”

By way of contrast, we need to remember that the original intention of the Malaysians ( Proton etc ) was to end up with a team named Lotus totally based in Malaysia.

That they would even consider doing that shows that they have no understanding of the role of the name “Lotus” in F1.

Presumably they intended to see Tony Fernandes built it up with the Lotus name under licence, take back the naming rights, buy the team and then transfer the factory and everything else to Malaysia.

With Tony having acquiring the rights to the “Team Lotus” name, and Proton etc buying into the Renault team, things may obviously have changed somewhat.

Clearly because Tony and Mike have done such a good job and are committed to maintaining their team’s Norfolk roots, British followers, (including me) and many other F1 fans around the world will much prefer to support them going forward.

So turning to a colour scheme for 2011 :

Some close friends of mine own Colin Chapman’s original Travco Motor Home, it’s been restored to it’s glorius JPS livery and looks great but, even so, I don’t think it’s sensible for there to be four black and gold cars on the grid.

The GLTL Red and Gold perfectly suited the ’49 but I don’t think that two tone scheme would fit in very well on a 2011-style car.

The simple lines of the 2010 Lotus were perfect for the green and yellow colour scheme and it was certainly the best looking car on the grid. It won’t be any kind of climb down if they give up their black and gold idea.

So, like most of us who want to see “Team Lotus” succeed, I think it has to be back to Green and Yellow.

As for the Travco, you could never see a team like Lotus-Proton-Renault wanting to have anything to do with it but Team Lotus respect the heritage and you could imagine them being interested.

That’s the kind of thing that makes “Team Lotus” so appealing to real F1 enthusiasts.

Just this once, I feel a little sorry for the French. They don’t have a driver in F1 and now they won’t even have a team to support.


You’ve got it wrong. Being a Brit living in KL I can tell you it was Tony Fernandes that stated to Malaysians that he will eventually base his factory at Sepang and make it a wholly Malaysian team under lotus name! Plus play the Malaysian national anthem on the podium.

Why he can’t just call the team Air Asia and do the same as above to make Malaysians proud! Because there’s too much risk and less money opportunity!



Maybe you can come up with a note on why Lotus (or BRMs) were Green and Ferraris are Red and Matras (or Prosts) were Blue, and Hondas White and Mercedes are Silver

Seems most fans are two young

I loved the BRG and yellow Lotuses this year, I would keep those, or maybe Tony Fernandez has to decide which color Malaysia should use, I am sure there is none assigned to it

Happy Holidays all fans

thanks for the site James, it is the only way to survive until March


I think garza was saying that this might make a good “off-season” article — to educate those who are younger about national racing colours.

Fans do get excited about livery…

It could also explain why McLaren was *orange*. 😉 (I grew up following Bruce & Denny in the CanAm series. Nostalgia!)


Quick wiki search for international auto racing colours says that Malaysia should be yellow with black numbers – rather like last years Renault lol.

Some of the national colour schemes sound horrendous! Certainly wouldn’t want to see a car in Jordan’s colours line up next to one in Egypt’s, I’d stop watching!


National racing colours in those days. Blue = France, Green =UK, red =Italy etc


I trekked into London James but apparently your signing was postponed because of the protests at Westminster. Will it be rescheduled before Christmas? Still managed to find a few books to purchase so not a wasted trip. Stu


Really sorry they called it off because of the road closures etc in central London. I’ll speak to them about a new date and let you know. What books did you buy?


Thanks for replying James. No problem, keep us posted.

I bought a book on servicing classic Mini’s (ahead of buying one to tinker with) and a July 1982 edition of MotorSport magazine. Your good self excluded, most modern race reports seem very dry in comparison to Jenks’ descriptions. What a story teller he was! And if the second coming of the turbos is anything like the first, we’re in for a real treat.

Keep up the good work and have a great Christmas.


Just to add to that – I also made my way there. Wasn’t an easy day to travel across London though, so I can understand why it was cancelled.

Would be great if it was rearranged, but if it isn’t I’d just like to thank you James for all the work that goes into this site. Far and away the best Formula One content on the web, bar none!


Count me in as another one for green and yellow.

I recall when Jaguar had that beautiful BRG (metallic?) car, that Martin Brundle was smitten. IIRC, he thought it the most gorgeous car in the paddock.

Team Lotus (I have got the right one, haven’t I?) could do something pretty special, pretty iconic, and pretty … pretty (!) with some more creative thinking about their current green + yellow.

If they put on a NEW fan-designed livery contest, I might just have to have a go!


Quick question – With Renault chassis to remain a Renault chassis, does anybody know what Lotus Racing chassis was named in 2010? i.e. Lotus Racing, 1 Malaysia etc.

Just seen Bahar comment that “We are Lotus, we are back” – yet he claims he isn’t trying to trade on previous Team Lotus success. Besides, how can Group be back where they never were? Nevermind Montezemolo’s career aspirations, this man should be a politician!


The commentators will have fun with these four cars next year; all the same color and with similar names!


I just like to say:

Loads Of Trouble, Usually Serious

Even when it’s just the name, let alone the cars!


Team Lotus wins hands down


I prefer the Green & Yellow livery anyway. Green and Yellow were the original Lotus colours.

I always thought the “Black” was a very dark shade of Green?


What a debacle that only F1 seems capable of.


Neither team is a true Lotus team, there I said it.

If Ferrari leaves F1 and then Toro Rosso buy Ferarri’s naming rights and paint the car red, it is not a Ferrari.


The soap dispenser and toilet roll holder in my office toilets are made by a company called Lotus…. wonder if they will change to black and gold instead of blue and white next March? 🙂

Christopher Snowdon

James, quick question, Bernie will be loving all this publicity, especially over the name and colour scheme of one of formula one’s most powerful and historical brands, and even more so that they want to resurrect one of the most powerful images in formula one history?

Bring back the red and white Mclaren’s & the blue/white and yellow William’s I say. Turbo engines are around the corner, we have a Senna amongst the ranks (should have had a Piquet), a Rosberg, new privateer teams, see where I’m going with this?


I don’t know why these people choose to run a car under a name from the past. yes I do; marketing.

Neither of these Lotuses (Loti?!) is a Lotus no matter what the Chapmans say.

A Triumph is not a Triumph either. Some dude bought a name for marketing puposes and slapped it on his bikes. I would call it cynical and greedy. Some part of the success of the business comes down to the efforts of others who worked heart and soul for the original company which has no link to the new company.

And the crowd buys it…

Hats off to Redbull and Maclaren and all those big and small who have the courage to go it from scratch.


er,go: could not agree more. i’ve said this somewhere before but Michael Jackson having owned the rights to Beatles songs didn’t make him a Beatle.

i get what people are saying and agree that Lotus Group are behaving dispicably, but let’s not forget that all they are fighting over is a badge. Neither of them has anything to do with CC or the original Team Lotus. where as i would gaze in awe at the old cars of yore, i have no strong feelings about either of these new teams and honestly don’t feel either of them have the right to the Lotus names REGARDLESS of how much they paid for them.

for me the worst thing about this is that Kubica is caught up in this. i think he’s a brilliant driver and it would be a shame for him to be involved with an unpopular team.

i also feel sorry for the staff at Lotus/Renault: after Piquetgate, Flav, loosing Alonso and now this they have had a pretty tough time of it in the last couple of year. it’s a real shame for a team who have proved they are entitled to be on the grid in whaever guise. Twice.


did Michael Jackson ever cover a Beatles song? That’d be a real laugh. You’d end up with something like the chipmonks or whatever the were called.

The blokes at Renault must hang their heads in shame going down pit lane after all the sad stories about the management of that excellent team. I feel sorry for them, but respect too because they keep plugging away and getting the job done.


surely the potential to have 4 black and gold cars is a moot point now that team lotus have to change their name. what’s the point of such a throwback to a now unrelated racing team of the past when you’re called 1 Malaysia racing or Tune or whatever.


Probably a stupid question, but does the black livery have an effect on cooling issues during very hot races?


It saddens me that so many people are missing the plain and simple point. Tony Fernandes has no interest in the Lotus brand name. This was/is just a money making opportunity.

However, unlike his old boss Richard Branson, he is not placing he’s confidence to promote his airline. What doesn’t any one question this?

It’s no surprise to me that the UK has lost most of the prestigious great names in sports car manufacturing. Lotus cars are still a British company (owned by a Malaysian company) who make great sports cars. Why accept that Ferrari are the only desirable sports car maker who are also a top f1 team?

Proton have done a great job at supporting the company since 1996 and here is a damn good opportunity to do just what Ferrari did in the 70’s and turn the company into a global force.

Passion drives success! Lotus are doing exactly the right thing and Tony should respect that. Please, to all those reading understand that the Lotus Racing License is under 1 Team Malaysia. His other motor sport teams are under tune group or Air Asia. He was also told several months before starting the team in 09 that Lotus did not want him to buy the lotus team as it would cause complications. He went ahead anyway. You can’t buy history.

Any Brit who criticizes Lotus should be ashamed. Reading these blogs, I reckon there’s more passion for Lotus outside of the UK than in it.


“Turn the Company into a global force” ?

Group Lotus? Oh please, I don’t think so!

Christopher Hobbs

JAMES do you have any news from today’s F1 commision meeting? and do you think this Lotus issue will aired?


Team Lotus say they will not be using the Black and Gold, and will instead probably stick with the Green and Yellow.

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