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“F1 season will start with two Lotus teams, ” says Asmat
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“F1 season will start with two Lotus teams, ” says Asmat
Posted By: James Allen  |  17 Jan 2011   |  6:02 pm GMT  |  119 comments

Following on from Friday’s activity in the Lotus saga – where the Renault team together with its sponsor and shareholder Group Lotus took a big presence at the Autosport Show and launched the F1 livery, while rival Team Lotus rebranded its factory – today there have been more developments.

Group Lotus CEO Danny Bahar has said this weekend that he does not believe that the dispute between the two will end up in court, but when I put that to Team Lotus CEO Riad Asmat this afternoon he said that it was now certain that the F1 season will start with two Lotus related teams.


“It is feasible for there to be two Lotus teams in F1 this season, ” he said. ” I see no harm in that and we’ll see how it develops as the season goes on. It looks like the court case will not be before the third quarter of the year anyway.

“I don’t know if ultimately there will only be one Lotus in F1. We are Team Lotus, we’re entered with the FIA as Team Lotus and we will race as Team Lotus.”

There are two court cases, which will be heard “Autumn at the earliest”; one of them about the use of the Lotus name, the other over the termination of the 5 year licence.

However Group Lotus are seeking summary judgement next week, 24th January, in a preliminary hearing. This is quiet common if one party feels that it’s case is overwhelming, it can apply for summary judgement and if the judge is persuaded that the case is totally one sided he can rule accordingly and avoid the expense of both sides preparing for a full court case and free up High Court time.

Asmat added that he has not had any communication with Group Lotus recently.

Prior to taking on his role at Tony Fernandes’ Lotus Racing operation Asmat worked at Proton HQ in Malaysia and clearly once the five year licence was signed between the two companies, he and Fernandes had in mind to build the Lotus brand through F1 and then get control of the car company.

“When we started the programme with Tony and Mike Gascoyne it was a five year plan and we’re going to stick with it,” he said. “Obviously it didn’t work out, but it doesn’t mean we cannot be an engineering powerhouse, they cannot stop us from doing work on road cars. I like the way Caterham works with Lola; we could work with another party. As for building our own car, I don’t think that’s feasible at the moment.”

Asmat said that the team believes its new F1 car, powered by a Renault engine and with a Red Bull gearbox and hydraulics, will give it an improvement relative to the midfield teams of between 1.5 and 2 seconds a lap. “We should be mixing it with Sauber and Toro Rosso, ” he said. ” At the Valencia test (Feb 1st) I hope we show what we are made of. We need to get points this year (for top ten finishes). My head is on the block with the shareholders. They own planes, so if I don’t deliver I’ll be flown back to Kuala Lumpur!”

Over the winter the operation at Hingham in Norfolk has added 20 new staff and they are still recruiting in some areas. On the commercial and sponsorship side they have taken on American John Cutler, who was head of business development at Team HTC Columbia, the pro cycling team of British rider Mark Cavendish.

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1

For the sake of motosport, Lotus Renault and Group Lotus:-

1) Let Fernandes alone and let him use of Lotus Brand for five years….

2) Lotus Renault, came out with a new name… Proton Renault would we be better.

2

“This is quiet common if one party feels that it’s case is overwhelming”.

You mean “quite” and, more worryingly, “its”.

3

I was reading a lot of discussion on another site about the black and gold “lotus renault GP” colour scheme and possible legal challenges in Canada (around imagery representing tobacco brands and likeness).

I’ve thought/wondered for a while that the team lotus competition might have been a bluff to call off group from the Green and Yellow colour scheme.

With your contacts, do you know whether theres any substance in that (i.e who started the idea first)? If it was, it was a great bluff.

For what its worth, I loved the JPS Lotus colour scheme as it was the first F1 car I ever saw (and sat in Mansells car in fact). But I have always preferred the Green and Yellow scheme.

4

“Genii currently owns 100 per cent of Lotus Renault GP. Eric Boullier has moved to clarify reports about the ownership structure of the Enstone based F1 team called Renault.” quoted from motorsport.nextgen-auto.com.

5

Exactly. Lotus cars are simply just a sponsor, a sponsor that parent company Proton have been told by their bank is already costing too much.

6

The simple answer is that neither team should run under the name Lotus. They are not Lotus, they have none of the tradition and experience that was Lotus and they never will be.

It is an insult to the name that such teams try and pretend to be something they are not.

7

I am surprised that so many people find this interesting.

8

just out of interest does anybody know if the FIA’s suspended 2year F1 ban (following the Sinapore Piquet incident) will affect any of this (if at all)ie can the team change ownership/name under the stipulations of the ban?

9

hahaha
two team lotus?
one team lotus was allready pathatic
what a joke!

10

as of today group lotus did not buy into renault , the renault team is 100% owned by genni capital today , they may sell minority shares to group lotus eventually

11

Frankly I think the Lotus thing is BRILLIANT.

Yes it’s confusing and awkward and a PR disaster but for adding another story and another bit of spice to the new season I’m all for it. Especially as the battle will go down to lower formulae like GP2 because both Fernandes and Group Lotus have put money into teams there too.

Who am I for? Both, in a way. In terms of “Lotus vs. Lotus” I’m for the Fernandes team. Having said that, given that I am still going to think of Lotus-Renault as Renault, for a while at least, and that I actually like Renault – great 2010 with excellent driver in Kubica and nibbling at the big 3 on various occasions with smaller budget – I can’t suddenly hate that outfit simply because Group Lotus got a bit uppity, split with Fernandes and stuck some money in.

Maybe over time my views will change but for now I think it’s a nice, typically-F1 sidestory.

12

To be honest Robert me too. I want kubica to do well again next season.

Doesn’t mean I have to like bahar though 😉

My wishing team lotus well is more to do with the way they have built the team up and I’ve always liked gazza and his no nonsense attitude.

13

Although I don’t think it’s brilliant 🙂 !

14

Never mind the wrangle over the use of the black and gold livery, have you seen the Pirelli test car?! Now THATS a good looking F1 car!!! No joke.

15

Its a Toyota.

16

Thanks for that…

17

It does look great, all dark and minimalist.

18

I’m curious now … Next weeks high court hearing is about a summary judgement to prevent Team Lotus from using the Lotus name, right? So that would mean that if the ruling goes in favour of Group Lotus, then I’m assuming that Team Lotus will not be able to race with that name.

However, if the judgement went in favour of Team Lotus and ultimately, that was the final decision, then does that mean that Group Lotus will never be able to rename the Renault team to a name that included the word ‘Lotus’ in the future?

19

seems like the livery issue is also still up in the air…

Black/Gold might be troublesome as it implies JPS sponsorship (tobacco). Ferrari really had to exterminate every trace of Marlboro on their livery.

So I cannot imagine that Black/gold as it is will stay.. especially as it refers to the famous JPS livery.

So then what will Group Lotus do? Green-Yellow is already taken by Team Lotus…

Is gonna be interesting few weeks.

20

Gaaah!!

How many times?

There are 2 lotus cars on the grid next year – those run in yellow and green, beloning to Lotus racing.

The black and gold cars are Renaults. Now, I do see what Bahar is trying to do, but noone ever watched Rossi storm to victory on his Yamaha, and cry “that Fiat is class, I’m buying one now”..

Why is it so hard for F1 fans to see the wood for the trees?

21

But Group Lotus have bought the Renault team. So why doesn’t that make it a Lotus?

22

They have not bought the team, although they have stated intentions to buy it. So far they are only sponsoring it.

23

I hope the TV commentators call Group Lotus Renault “Lotus Renault”, and Fernandes’ outfit “Team Lotus”.

I expect they’ll be so far apart on the grid it won’t really matter. “Team” will still be competing in the B-class.

It would be sadto deny Group Lotus their share of the marketing pie just because of a pedantic loyalty to ‘Team Lotus’, because Danny Bahar seems to have annoyed a few folk on the way.

Group Lotus are trying to rebuild a great British brand. Why so many of you people are against that?

24

Plans and achievement are a very different thing though ben.

I think the whole thing has descended into an ego battle.

The logical thing was for both sides to Join up.

The 5 car plan could be a great success, but I suspect it will not be. Who in their right mind would buy a lotus over a Porsche or Ferrari (or mercedes top end). I hope I’m wrong, but I think it is too much too soon. Or a mclaren mp4-12c.

25

Has there EVER been a year in F1 where the whole circus ran smoothly, with out some form of controversy LOL?

26

To be quite honest, I have totally lost interest in who is called what.

Neither one is lotus of old, but I continue to support Fernandes/Gazza as I like how they built the team. Next year will be pivotal in the long term future, in that they have rapidly expanded the tech side and brought in a lot of good people. Putting a renault/redbull back end on the car could be a great move.

I think they’ll be very close to Sauber next season.

On the flip side, while I dont like the way Danny Bahar has conducted himself, I will continue to support Kubica as I think he is excellent.

Here is to watching cars racing around a track again…testing isnt too far away.

27

That’s what I say, so what if there are 2 Lotus teams, Torro Rosso and Red Bull nenver bothered me…. right now my worry if the 1.6 litre engine rule….

29

Hi James!

Where can i find the video of Martin Brundle and yourself driving the new Silverstone from last year? Cant seem to find it on youtube..

Rich

30

“and clearly once the five year licence was signed between the two companies, he and Fernandes had in mind to build the Lotus brand through F1 and then get control of the car company.”

James, has Riad Asmat or Tony Fernandes actually told you that they were planning to get control of Lotus Cars, or is it just your own conjecture? I’m a bit sceptical about the idea, because I’ve never seen Fernandes suggesting anything like that in interviews.

31

Good point. I have absolutely no recollection of Fernades, previously making mention of his ultimate plan, that of taking over Lotus cars, while he was seeking support for his F1 venture. Can this really be? Over to you, James!

32

Also part of the reason why Group terminated the license to use the Lotus Racing name was the fact that TF tried to trade on the Lotus name by making an energy drink LR8 ( a pun on accelerate(8) and Lotus Racing (LR) ). The license was for use in racing only. Tf breached the conditions and so had the license terminated. I hope TF gets laughed out of court

33

Presumably the license was for racing only because Group Lotus aren’t in a position to offer a license for much more. I don’t see that prohibiting Tony Fernandes from using the name in other markets.

I certainly can’t see Group Lotus, the car manufacture, having any claim to the name Lotus when it is applied to energy drinks! I also don’t think my local businesses ‘Lotus Lounge’, ‘Lotus Chinese Restaurant’, ‘Lotus Flower Shop’ and ‘Lotus Folding Walls and Doors’, just to name a few, have much to worry about from Group Lotus…

34

yes james i think you are almost there to see this whole game from tony. If you look at 1malaysia alliance shareholder you can see why

he bring in Naza the Malaysian car maker into

this alliance. At first i see this as noble idea to bring back Lotus into F1. But looking into a big picture i can smell something fishy about tony alliance. the only reason why he started this whole lotus F1 is to buy over

group lotus. If you do some google you can see Naza planned to buy over Lotus last year. and yes they failed. So they using F1 as a ticket to get people attention. and now they owned

team lotus, its a good start for them. so

naza who produced “rebadge” car from kia to pougeot in malaysia was was asked to join

this alliance because tony didnt have backgroud

in road car manufacturing. Knowing that lotus

brand was undervalue he thought this is a good

idea to rebrand this car maker so he needs

people who know in and out about Lotus. Then

come Riad Asmat into the picture. He was a

personal assistant to current Proton CEO.

He dont run any racing team before except

asean imax1500 for proton.

Knowing TF who run things by himself can anyone

give me a reason why a “rebadge” car maker Naza who dont have a racing history or even a racing team in this alliance and a guy(riat)

who never run a big racing team now a CEO in F1 team.

In coming years dont be surprise if you see a

Team Lotus road car produce by naza and run by

Riad Asmat. Cheers

35

Just to confuse matters…

F1 Fanatic has this link up: The High court to hear legal battle over the naming rights next week!

http://www.thelawyer.com/snr-denton-and-macfarlanes-prepare-for-formula-1-branding-battle/1006659.article

36

Ah, first world problems – gotta love the stupidity in F1 sometimes.

I’m Spartacus!

37

The on track rivalry between these two Lotus teams should make for some excellent racing.

Bring It On.

38

Perhaps both entrants would be better served were they to enter cars in BRISCA F1 Stocks! They could hammer each other as hard as they like then!

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