F1 Winter Break
New twist in Lotus saga as Lopez reveals Group Lotus split
Posted By: James Allen  |  06 Apr 2012   |  12:57 pm GMT  |  158 comments

The use of the Lotus name in Formula 1 proved one of the most bitter and protracted sagas of recent times but a story that appeared to reach its resolution late last year has today taken a dramatic new turn with the revelation that the recently-rebranded Lotus F1 Team has cut all sponsorship ties with Group Lotus, little more than one season into a seven-year deal.

Genii Capital co-owner Gerard Lopez, whose Luxembourg-based investment company owns the Enstone-based former Renault team outright, has told Autosport that the title sponsorship agreement that he signed with Group Lotus in late 2010 has now been ended, along with the option that existed for the sportscar company to take an equity stake in the team, but never ultimately materialised.

“The sponsorship agreement and the obligations of Lotus have been terminated,” Lopez told Autosport. “There is no option from Group Lotus to buy into F1 now – that option was taken over by us. There was one, but we have taken it over now.”

After Group Lotus’s licencing agreement with Tony Fernandes’s then first-year F1 operation to use the Lotus Racing name broke down acrimoniously towards the end of 2010, the sportscar company and its ambitious CEO Dany Bahar opted to enter F1 in its own right in partnership with Lopez’s team, signing a title sponsorship deal until the end of 2017 with a view to taking on an ownership stake in future.

With Fernandes in parallel taking control of the historic Team Lotus name for 2011, it created the bizarre situation where two Lotus-branded, Renault-powered squads were on the grid – which prompted High Court proceedings. The subsequent verdict handed down retained the status quo before a settlement between the two parties at the end of last season led to Fernandes rebranding his team as Caterham and Lopez rolling out full Lotus branding for 2012.

But while’s today’s revelation means Group Lotus no longer holds a formal role at Enstone, Lopez has indicated he plans for his team to continue running under the Lotus name going forward and Genii is ready to fund any sponsorship shortfall. “We are happy to carry the Lotus name as we believe it is a good name for F1,” he explained. “We funded the team last year and the year before for whatever delta was missing. We would prefer to have sponsors up to the full amount – but if we have to fund it then we will fund it.”

Sir Jackie Stewart, who became a partner of Lopez’s Genii Business Exchange at the start of last year, has become increasingly active in the commerical side of the Lotus F1 Team and recently successfully brought in consumer goods firm Unilever, whose personal care Rexona and Clear brands appear on the E20 this year.

Lopez’s stated intention to carry on racing under the Lotus name wouldn’t represent the first time in recent years that a team has continued to carry the name of a manufacturer no longer actively involved in the team.

Sauber’s official team name remained as BMW Sauber throughout 2010 despite the German manufacturer having exited F1 the previous winter, while indeed Lopez’s team still ran with a Renault chassis last year despite the French carmaker by then only having been the engine supplier. In any case, applications to change chassis names are often a thorny subject in F1 given the names are linked to historical constructors’ championship finishing position payments.

The termination of the Group Lotus deal appears likely to be linked to the uncertainty surrounding the future of the sportscar maker, its struggling parent company Proton having recently been bought into by Malaysian conglomerate DRB-Hicom. Lopez was of course heavily linked to his own takeover of Lotus last year and asked if he would still be interested in buying the British-based company he said: “We don’t know yet, because we really do not know what the new owner wants to do with it.”

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This saga doesn't seem to want to lie down. Just when you'd think lotus gp is all sorted after the Fernandes episode, it seems to knock itself out of place again. But I can't help thinking this all might be a hardball tactic while Genii buys the Proton owned brand.


Whatever the 'tactics' are, if indeed that's what this is, they have all managed to trash and besmirch a once-great team's name and legacy. The whole load of them - Genii, Proton, the Chapman family, and yes, even Fernandez - will have caused poor Colin's to be going at 10,000 rpm in his grave by now. Sad. And stupid, so stupid.

The real Lotus F1 team died in the 90s leaving a great - really great legacy. These clowns, for some incomprehensible reason unable to set up their own team under its own name, dug up the corpse and fed off it. Chick the lot of them out of F1. Idiots like this shouldn't be allowed in karting, let alone the pinnacle.

By the way, the black and gold livery, to anyone over 30, means 'JPS fags' and nothing else. Not Lotus. Did they not even understand that? Are they that dim? (And anyway isn't advertising fags banned nowadays? Why do they get away with this advertising of the killer sticks, especially after all the fuss about Ferrari's Marlboro 'barcodes'? JPS must be laughing...)


Uncertain times. Why can't Lopez just buy or acquire by some means the Team Lotus name? If he did surely he could continue to call the team Lotus. Even if Group Lotus had a problem with that some marketing tie-up could be arranged. It makes sense for there to be some arrangement. Lotus is not Proton after all, it is a sportscar company and a profile in F1 could only help it. I reckon fans are getting bored and sick of this. Pulling and yanking at a great heritage.


'Team Lotus' is now owned by Fernandez, but my gut feel is that Lopez wouldn't buy it; it doesn't have any value in monetary returns (other than nostalgic) and it's not linked to Group Lotus (GL).

Behind the scenes, i'm guessing that Genii Capital has a lot of marketing benefits to reap from this. The eventual owner(s) of GL may, at some point in the future, decide to have greater control of the Lotus brand in F1, so, if Genii can keep Lotus F1's racing performance on an uptrend in the next few years, it may translate into more $$$.

Should Lopez buy GL? Yes, but probably not own it for the long term. Owning a 'niche' car company is a financial burden, except for successful manufacturers like VW, BMW, Mercedes, Prosche, etc. Just like the Mini brand, BMW turned it into a very profitable business, so i wouldn't be surprised if the vultures from car manufacturers have started circling DRB-Hicom to pry away the Lotus brand. Lopez is facing stiff deep-pocket competition if he's trying to acquire GL. Honestly though, having GL under a car manufacturer is the best option for GL's future.

How will Fernandez view all of this? I wouldn't be surprised if he's schmoozing DRB's top guns to buy over GL and use political agenda to keep it 'malaysian'. Business-wise, GL's infrastructure has what Fernandez needs to start building Caterham cars without major capital investment. For this reason alone snapping-up GL is topmost priority [at the right price].


. LOTUS stands for Lots Of Trouble Usually Serious.. Haha


FIAT - Fix it again Tony


And Ford stands for Fix Or Repair Daily.

(There used to be loads of these!)







A few more Ford ones:

first on race day


found on rubbish dump




Fix It Again Toni


And FIAT is "Fix It Again Toni"


General Motors (GM) = Get a mechanic

GMC = Got a mechanic coming

Hyundai = Hope you understand, nothing's drivable and inexpensive

Toyota = Too often Yanks overvalue this auto



FIAT = Fix It Again Tony...

PONTIAC was used as an acronym for something very racist indeed once upon a time...


I'll have to remember that.


love it 😉

Tom in adelaide

All this money thrown around for a name very few people even care about anymore....


Woah, woah, woah, let me get my head around this.

Lotus took over Lotus to become Lotus, but now Lotus will no longer sponsor Lotus anymore, but the team are still called Lotus?

Wow. Get your head around that.

So the team 'Lotus Renault' now is named after a non existent sponsor and a manufacturer that left in 2009.....


I like F1 racing,, not the FT mergers pages

I've never been interested in big business or finance, but now we have to study the shady goings on of people called Bahnandes and Fernahar... I'm only reading this because the Iceman is driving for these folks and so far, none of this looks set to change this.

Wish Renault had more say than just supplying the engine: now that is a 'noble' name, as noble as Mercedes or Ferrari


Don't be naive. F1 has ALWAYS been about business as much as it has wheel-to-wheel action. Williams wouldn't have gotten anywhere without Saudi cash following Walter Wolf's takeover, Tyrell was funded by a timber business, at one point the most interesting thing about Arrows was some clown "Prince" Malik's plans for a marketing empire and Jordan's cars were conveniently a patriotic shade of green to suit 7up. Business is everywhere in F1 - if you don't find it utterly fascinating then that's your prerogative, but having a moan about it is as illogical as it is counterproductive...


You're so mistaken it's laughable, but it's not my job to school you if you're not interested in reading up on the sport's history...

Read this instead.



> Tyrell was funded by a timber business

Yes, but it was Ken's own business.


Qatari, I think, not Saudi..


It's pretty normal for Teams to have their Engine supplier in thier name, to be fair...

Grayzee (Australia)

Hahaha......it still has renault engines, though..hence renault being in the title.


Renault left as a team owner but maintain a strong presence as a engine suplier with 4 teams running their engines with Renault badges on them.


Maybe they should have a word with Benetton? 🙂 Would kinda be nice to see the a Benetton Renault back on the grid 🙂


I wish they would just name it 'Team Enstone' and get it over with. The car this year is the E20, so why not??


Absolutely ludicrous, all it done is made lawyers some money.


Absolutely absurd. What was the point of the whole Lotus v. Lotus saga last year if the ultimate outcome is that Lotus Cars are back where they started - with no direct involvement in F1? Once again, only the lawyers profit. One assumes the next casualty will be the ridiculous Danny Behar and his madcap plans.

Here's hoping Lotus cars continue to make proper sports cars in his absense, and that for the sakes of Grosjean and Kimi, there isn't a shortfall in the F1 team's budget. Despite what Mr. Lopez says about his 'deltas', I have the feeling he'll be reluctant to put good money after bad.


I think the point was for lawyers to make a lot of money.


Am I the only one tired of this? Most people my age barely remember the Lotus brand and I have not seen how the marketing of the name has helped either team that was fighting so badly to keep the name in the sport. Build a great car, sign great drivers, win races, and stop hiding in the blanket of past glories (real or imagined) that came with Lotus.


Step 1) Agree to allow the name of your car company to be used by an F1 team.

Step 2) Sponsor a different F1 team.

Step 3) Sue the first F1 team because they are using your company's name.

Step 4) Win the lawsuit at considerable cost, get the first F1 team to change their name.

Step 5) Change the second team's name to that of your car company.

Step 6) Stop sponsoring the second team and sever ties with them.

Step 7) ?

Step 8) Profit!


Except they didn't win the case in step 4! The only winners, as usual, were the lawyers.




Presumably is there was oodles of profit the situation would be more stable.



very good comment but it true happen to tony team from lotus racing to team lotus after changing own brand Caterham last year..

this Renault to Lotus Renault GP then Lotus F1 Team after this what ??


Awesome point! Now try explaining it to a friend who's a casual viewer without feeling like an idiot and slightly embarassed for F1.


I think you should have put question marks after every line from 2 on.


If the smiley in number 8 is a mistake, it's a really fitting one!


Mwuha-ha-ha, it can’t get any less funny than that!

Now I got it! All this 2 year-old story was just the PR stunt by Lotus to get some attention and find a buyer… Because I can’t think of any other reason, why in a span of 2 years we have the emergence of 2 Lotus-branded teams, and now we have zero.


Ah yes, that's why having manufacturers in F1 is sometimes a bad thing...

Am I the only one thinking that Tony Fernandes is rolling on the floor laughing?


He's probably face-slapped himself to death by now. Dear me. It shows the power of nice haircuts and fancy suits that the powers that be believed Danny Behar over a demonstrably extremely successful guy like Fernandes.


A very lucky man like fernandes...... look at how he made his initial fortune.

Fernandes caused all this Lotus crap in the first place, with his lotus merchandise stunts that raised the ire of Group Lotus.

While the current situation is a vague weird one, i for one am glad the lotus name is not being further pounded into the dirt by Fernandes


Are you related to Danny Bahar?


I am very, VERY thankful that F1 has so few manufacturers left, yet is the way it is today. You only need to look at rallying to see how bad it could all have been...


"”We are happy to carry the Lotus name as we believe it is a good name for F1,” he explained."

This statement really doesn't make sense. There has to be a contract in place surely for the Lotus name to be used. Wasn't that what the whole legal debacle was about, last year?

Certainly I would have imagined that the title sponsorship deal was tied into the use of the Lotus name so without the sponsorship, the use would be terminated. The only other possibility is that there was actually a separate deal for the use of the name for which the terms of use - payment, in particular - have been fulfilled. Which would suggest that Genii have gone from receiving financial input from Lotus to giving it back.

However in the laborinthian world of Lotus ownership and exploitation, I really can't imagine it was as straight forward as that and someone, somewhere, is surely going to question Genii's assertion that, with no deal with Lotus, they are 'happy to carry the Lotus name'!


Fernandez has switched his team name to Caterham so the Team Lotus name, as long as it's owned by Fernandez, is dead & buried. Now, Genii has the sole rights to Lotus branding in F1, that is AWESOME $$$ leverage power as long as Lotus as a car brand still exists.

So, i think the 'happy to carry the Lotus name' comment, if read between the lines, really means "happy to own all F1 branding rights to Lotus and i'll make top $$$ from the highest bidder".


As James says, the team name is closely linked to the TV money they earn and I believe requires all the other teams to agree to a change in name. Considering they only just got the permission to change from Renault to Lotus a few months ago I don't think they would want to then go back and ask to change it to something else, particualrly since they dont have a name lined up.


I would think that the loss of a contract to use the legally owned name of a car manufacturer would trump something as obscure as F1 internal politics. If Lotus (Proton) were to sue Lotus (F1) to stop them using their name, I think they would win, unless Lotus F1 can somehow buy the Team Lotus name from whoever owns that at the moment (Tony Fernandes?)

Sounds like it's time for lawyers to make money again :-/


Why should the Lotus (Proton) sue Lotus (F1) to stop using their name?

Doesn't make any sense at all.

Proton badly needs high profile advertisement for their obscure cars. Now they will get it for free, because Genii won't abandon Lotus name as its too valuable in F1 specialist circles.

So Proton will be selling Lotus road cars benefiting from the publicity Lotus F1 team will generate, without paying one pence for it.

And of course, your average car buyer will never know there's no connection between one Lotus and another.

Cute arrangement, can't see Lopez liking it 🙂


More likely, it was a case of them being allowed to keep the Lotus name as part of the deal of being allowed out of their sponsorship contract early.


Wow, not sure how anyone else feels, but I'm confused. Clearly a major breakdown between Genii and Proton, but why continue with the Lotus name - is Genii not just giving free publicity to a brand it does not own nor gains any financial advantage from?

Hope this doesn't impact Lotus' ability to develop its car this season - with Raikkonen they are looking good for podiums and hopefully a race win.


Mid-season name changes are unheard of and, at least under the current Concorde Agreement, they'll lose prize money if they change the name without other teams' approval, which has been getting harder since Brawn...


So will they actually have the right to call themselves Lotus after this year? This really is a mess and would never have happened if Bahar hadn't been so pig headed (and TF being sure of the terms of his licence) in 2010. It is farcical.


I forget; are we talking about Toleman or Proton?

Tornillo Amarillo

More important, the step nose in the picture is really ugly.


I think we've moved on from that now


Yet again, an historic brand being used as a ping pong!


This story gets more ridiculous the longer it drags on. It's really becoming hard not to come to the conclusion that Proton must simply be run by a room full of spoilt children.

Really bizarre. I wonder how long Genii is going to go on covering that "delta"...


So, last year, there were two, but only really one, while this year there is one, but really none. What a sad, sorry, mixed up state of affairs.


This latest twist in the story of Lotus is further indication of the mess the car company is now in from trying to follow Dany Bahar's ludicrously ambitious plan to turn Lotus into another Ferrari.

It would have been far better had Tony Fernandez kept the Team Lotus name in F1 : The guys at Caterham are a lot closer to the ethos of Lotus than Lopez' group of money men will ever be.

I would bet good money that Lotus Cars will end up being bought at a knock down price by Tony Fernandez and will concentrate on producing low cost lightweight sports cars at reasonable prices.

Eventually the Caterham 7 will return to being called a Lotus 7 and we will have a factory-backed Team Lotus back in F1

What enthusiast would not welcome that ?


Couldn't agree more. TF and co are just quietly getting on with establishing a credible F1 Team and doing a reasonable job of it. Their ethos seems sound to me - IE they're in it for the love of racing and the engineering challenge - two principles that the original Team Lotus and Lotus Cars were built around. It's a shame that they couldn't hang on to the Team Lotus name but I got the impression that they were getting as fed up with the whole thing as the fans were. I for one think that a TF controlled Group Lotus running Team Lotus as a separate venture just as Colin Chapman always intended would have been a far more fitting return to F1 for the Lotus name than the current Proton/Bahar/Genii debacle.


I agree with the ethos being more aligned with what TOny is appearing to be doing but would be surprised if it panned out as you outline. It would be great but seems a little unlikely....

This Danny Bahaar guy must be a dipstick. How much will he have made from all this shenanagins but in the process severely messed with two F1 teams, and made a historical car manufacturer a laughing stock. His grandiose plans stunk of adventurism from the outset, why can't these clowns see that?

If he makes any approach to anyone in F1 again they should start running the opposite direction. In fact the FIA should ban him as being a danger to the sport like they did Briatore!! 🙂


Bahar got fired from Ferrari Cars for being too cavalier. This is par the course for him. He's just going to sadly drive Lotus Cars into the ground first.


I hope you are right. I love an underdog. Lotus returning to making great cars and an F1 team on the rises, who would not want that!!!


I like the cut of your jib sire


Spot on!


James is it true that Group Lotus wasn't putting any money into this sponsorship deal anyway? What real impact will this have on the teams finances for the season?


I put together a list of the current F1 teams' chassis name changes. There's been quite a lot. It's on https://plus.google.com/114840176110035511607/posts/iYEekeV2THj.

Only three haven't changed and one of them is arguable. Can you guess?


The one that arguably hasn't changed must be Sauber. What's really surprising, and sad in a way, is that the three newest teams have also changed chassis names in under 3 seasons.


I'd have to guess McLaren, Ferrari and Williams, all the others have gone through at least one name change (and that includes the three teams that havent even been around for a full three years yet).


What a farce.

I blame the Chapman family.


Group Lotus really need to sit down and have a word with themselves.

They shafted Caterham over the notion of having control of their image and they behave, to paraphrase Randy Quad in "Days of Thunder", like a bunch of monkeys sharing an intimate moment with a football.

Still, it appears that karma does work. Forza Carerham!!!


This is just bizarre.

Once again we have a Lotus F1 team with NO connections to the actual Lotus car company?

But Lotus-the-car-company still has a presence in Indycars with both engines and team cars, in the same paint scheme?

So, what the... ?


They are a mess in IndyCar too. Engine deliveries are late and they are mostly in the last half of the grid.

I wonder how long those cars will keep those colours too.


So the point of not letting Fernandez's team remain as Lotus was?

Been honest it was fairly obvious this was going to happen because Group Lotus has been losing money for a long time & many in the motor industry were surprised they suddenly invested in just about every form of Motorsport out there.


The 'Power of Advertising' I would guess, the old adage of 'Any advertising is good advertising' As a previous Lotus owner I am very sad how this is playing out.


I am so completely confused as to who this team is actually owned by / ran by, and I'm sure it's not the only one. It's bad for the spectators and probably the image of the team as well that there's no solid foundation in the team.

When Raikkonen appeared on Top Gear and asked Kimi if he even knew what the team was that he was driving for - I think that's how we all feel! The whole team name thing muddles me up.


So we are exactly where we started from, Lotus in F1 has nothing to do with the Lotus brand, but hoping to buy the car company (Was Fernandes, not Lopez) the only difference being that Caterham now has a owner willing to invest in their future (whilst group is a little uncertain)


Ha ha ha, Tony must me laughing his buns off today!

Not only that what of the Chapmans?

Of course Lotus is in trouble financially. The key US market is out of reach because the cars look silly and out of place here in US, are small and expensive and now with a Toyota rear wheel drive car coming they are sandwiched by lower cost option or much more worthy options for exclusivity. Plus all this IndyCar engine stuff, being late with the engines - you could see this train coming miles away. Nice for Lotus to get some free branding as I'm sure Tony won't agree to name change request by Genii, as well he should not without a nice monetary gift.


I wouldn't be surprised to see there is more to this behind the scenes. Like Lopez manoeuvring himself to buy Group Lotus from the new Malaysian owners. I can't see Group Lotus launching 5 new car brands now either!

Wonder what Tony Fernandez is thinking about all this?!


Ok this confuses the whole thing even more....

As far as I understand from that whole thing is... Fernandes and Proton / Genni fought over the name, the latter won, then decided to dump the name. lol...........

Or I could've misunderstood.

Anyhow, whichever party took it, and whatever the situation is now, there's never been a 'real' Lotus return.


It is really sad to see such an iconic name not only of F1, but of motorsports and motoring in general, to be dragged through such a muddied and painful process as this. Whilst it is great seeing the name Lotus-Renault (especially in JPS livery) back at the pointy end of the grid this year, the Tony Fernandez was a much more respectful custodian of the name Team Lotus and should have been able to keep the Team Lotus name, especially as I would imagine Lotus F1 will now probably have another name change for 2013.


Formula One appears to be none the wiser for this debacle, things seem to be as they were before the Lotus vs. Lotus battle began in 2010. If only outfits would stop worrying about official titles and more about success, the sport will be better off!


Incredible, first Bahar gets his company linked to two teams in 2011, and now it seems Group Lotus will get coverage in 2012 for next to nothing.

Am I right in assuming Lotus will still run with the branding on the car or will it be removed?

To remove Lotus from the team name requires the consent of the other teams doesn't it?

Bahar gives the impression he is a man not to do business with.

James, is any of this linked to Group Lotus supplying engines to Indy Car teams, or is this engine a rebadging of something else?


The IndyCar engine is a built by Engine Performance Development (Judd)who also build a whole bunch of engines for Prototypes.


John Judd's company in England, (Engine Developements Ltd) is building the Indy car engines for Lotus. But I'm confused about the details of who's paying for them, (if anybody maybe), and this might explain why Judd is not supplying as many as "Lotus" is supposed to. Maybe he hasn't been paid.



I think its a new Judd-designed and built engine done specifically for Lotu... ah,"Group Lotus".


It is written all over the the crystal ball. Most people in Malaysia expect DRB-Hicom to divest Group Lotus to stop bleeding.

The question is who would it be, the next owner?


But how much of a share did DRB-Hicom actually buy? Controlling interest, or something less?


Controlling stake of about 42.7% from the state own investment arm Khazanah.


What a silly end to a long running saga. My hope is that Kimi's chances aren't spoiled with this split. James, are there any manufacturers out there who would be interested in taking a stake in the Genii held "Lotus" team with Renault engines at the helm?

I certainly can't think of any at this time...


"...a silly end" ??


This isn't the end! El Predicto the Psychic Armadillo says theres more, much more to come.

An "investment company" such as Genii doesn't buy things for the glory or to just pump money into them.

They probably want Group Lotus, its the only reason I can see they'd go through all this.

I bet Tony F secretly still wants it too so he can merge Caterham into it and produce the Lotus Super 7 again, along with whatever other cars would suit the Asian market.


dear Dany Bahar,

"A man without ambition is dead. A man with ambition but no love is dead. A man with ambition and love for his blessings here on earth is ever so alive."

Pearl Bailey


What a carry on, if Lotus the car company were in a bad way or struggling to get back into the public sales volumes this whole saga has done prob non repairable damage what an embarrassment come humiliation!


Who cares? I mean, its got nothing to do with the legendary Lotus anyways. They may well paint it pink and call it team Mickey Mouse for all i care! Tired of this Lotus name issue!


What a mess.


James, will this have any affect on the development of the E20?


Hmmm, could be an absolutely crucial issue...


The loss of its sponsorship deal with Group Lotus will not mean another change of identity in F1. A team spokesperson told F1 Fanatic it could continue doing so beyond 2017.


Shame that so much time and effort is being expended on something that makes no difference to any team's success (or lack thereof). It's all just a case of the suits doing what they do best, I.E. pushing bullsh*t around like a bunch of dung-beetles.





On a happier note isn't Lever Bro's now a sponsor of... [insert random name]..?


Don't they make Magum ice-creams..?

Kimi driving a Magnum F1 next year:

That would be an happy ending to this ridiculous saga.


You forgot to mention hiring Kimi and becoming competitive at the front and THEN deciding not to sponsor the new found success in the newly named Lotus team.

After all who would want the name of their sports car company associated with success in the hands of a returning much loved star in F1?

I am just not stupid enough to understand this...


Is the historic name worth that much money? Call the team Genii, or put an eBay auction on to name the team next year.

Kris Grzegorczyk

Starting to find anything to do with Lopez a little difficult to believe in. There's a lot to admire about the approach he has taken to acquiring and running an F1 team but things never seem to be quite right there. The constant rumors in the first year about them being short of cash, now this... Starting to think any action taken by the team is all in the name of getting the next big publicity hit or sponsor.

It is a shame that the return of the Lotus brand - something that raised so much excitement and buzz in and outside the F1 community - has been so horribly handled. Given their commitment to F1 and other sports, it seems the brand would have been much better served by Fernandes and his team.

What will happen with the black and gold livery?

I truly hope whatever the team is called wont be able to claim their full share of revenues if they change their name.

Edouard Valentine

Hi James

Financially where does this leave the team? Is there any speculation that they will pull out at the end of the season?

PS - love the new monthly podcasts!


It would be really interesting to get an overview of all the players motives in this story, and what actually happened. I swear I read this story a couple of times today, and it makes my brain hurt.

It just sounds like some of the participants spent a whole lot of energy/time/money for nothing. Im sure thats not the case, as in racing there are always winners/losers.



What's the chances of this team establishing its own identity/brand ala McLaren - choosing to name the car E20 is a telltale sign that they covert that reputation that brought them multiple titles greatly.

At the end of the day, regardless of ownership, this is a serious team with very talented people that serve as a credit to Motorsport in this country.

What a chance a fresh rebrand or the return of an old racing name? Toleman? Brabham?


This Lotus thing is all too confusing, which is why I haven't been following the details very closely, but I'd be keen to know more details re Lotus's (whoever they are) involvement in Indycar and also their involvement with EDL (Judd) Indy engine developement. I know "Lotus" are strugling to supply enough engines for the Indy 500. Is Fernandes involved or is it all Bahar and I wonder what the future holds.



The once great name of F1 has now become something of a poisoned chalice it appears. Whether it is political, hard ball business tactics or bad luck it is a shame that this once iconic team name has been so sullied in the past two years.


I think ths was done to get more money from the Concord Agreement. Is there not a payment for historical value to the sport, which is why Ferrari get more money than other teams. By keeeping the name lotus, Lopez gets extra money each and every year from Bernie. Bahar gets free publicity for his cars. Both win.


Who cares.


Perfectly said. Also, may I borrow your response for the next time the conversation turns to Lewis Hamilton's personal life?


Problem starts when someone says he cannot drive the car fast enough because he does not have a "supporting girlfriend"...


Or ANYONE'S personal life? Cars on tracks is all!


Very interesting, although we're all fairly bored with Glotus saga. Who's the real Lotus? For me, it's Classic Team Lotus.

I don't know why Lopez & CO. didn't opt for a more generic term to name their chassis: Toleman? Even Genii! You can add anything you want to Genii - Genii Renault, Genii Cosworth, Genii Pure, etc., McDonalds Genii GP, Guaraná Genii F1 Team.

Guess we won't see Kimi mumbling about Lotus cars at the Geneva show any more.

Hafta say, Ghosn sold the team to the wrong bunch of people, unfortunately. They seemed like a decent bunch. Hopefully, I'll be proven wrong because a lot of great guys work at Enstone.

PS Pedro de la Rosa will be my driver of the day in China.


It doesnt look like this will have any major effect on the team, but I;'m concerned about Group Lotus involvment in the rest of motorsport backing ART in both GP2 and 3, a couple of sportscar teams, five IndyCar teams, GT's and I think they might even support a FRenault 3.5 team as well (not sure on the last one).

Thats a lot of teams, drivers and series that will get hurt if they suddenly pull out.


Speaking of "Lotus" look at this headline:

Newman/Haas drive for Alesi at Indy


So what does this mean for the team and in 2013?

Or is this some sort of set up for Group Lotus to buy out Genii Capital as they may not be able to fully fund the team going forwards?

Craig @ Manila

It's all getting a bit silly and one has to feel a bit sorry for the "average punter" who would (I would expect) be really struggling to understand WTH is going on.

Perhaps Renault could now buy back into the Team and re-name it Team Infiniti or Nissan F1. That would finish this crazy chain of events just-about perfectly.


Unfortunately, while that could be a good idea given Nissan's other motorsport programmes, the Infiniti tie-in with Red Bull Racing nixes it for the moment. Mind you, I suppose these things are always open to negotiation...


Turns out last year's Lotus vs. Lotus saga has been a complete waste of time, thanks to Dany Bahar. With hindsight, it would have probably been better off to let Tony Fernandes continue running his team under the Team Lotus banner. Despite their insistence, this proves that Group Lotus' entry was nothing more than another business/marketing tactic that was easily going to fold when things got tough. At least w/ Tony Fernandes and Team Louts you could really see they were very passionate about the "Lotus" name and heritage.


To be fair, Bahar had little control over this debacle. The new owners of Proton want to cut financial fat and make healthy returns... rumors circulating that Proton CEO may lose his job and probably Bahar too... these two guys are losing on a personal level so to lay the blame solely on them is a tad-bit harsh.


@James, can you be so kindly give us about this Power steering that this drivers go through. we mortal don't understand what is the different between our everyday power steering, with the F1's power steering. especially where Kimi's or Trulli's power steering does not fit there preference. what do they actually seeking or feel of the thing. from the latest interview @ formula1.com they are saying there is a different with high speed steering and stuff.

please give us mere mortal an inside about this power steering. thanks. always love your blog about inside scoop and stuff.


As a sidenote to the steering issues Kimi has been experiencing, there's an article over on Lotus's site where they explain part of his problem was due to the wheel being setup for a right-hander (while Kimi is a left hander):



I think they're having you on there Vin. Notice the date that was posted?


Such a muddle. As long as we're grave robbing famous teams, how about this:

It is known that Rubery-Owen has been involved with electric and/or hybrid vehicles in recent years. F1 rules going forward emphasize these approaches. So, let Rubery-Owen make use of that technology; buy this lot out of Enstone; paint the cars dark green; and relaunch BRM.

On the other hand, doesn't David Richards own Aston-Martin? Maybe the time and price are right for him, or will be, in the next couple of years. Let someone else foot the development bill, then swoop in and scoop up a turn-key operation.

Then again, maybe Max can get in there and bring back March.

I would love to see the return of BRM. And, now that I think about it, the last time they were a truly competitive team, they had Yardley (soap, cologne, skin care products) as their main sponsor. Not too different from Unilever, is it? (Question to those who know: Was Yardley bought by Unilever?)

Yes. Bring back BRM. They were the last British team to build the whole car, chassis, transmission and engine - and THE last team, other than Ferrari, to build a winning car and engine under one roof. Toyota doesn't count. I said "wining car."


According to wikipedia, Yardley is owned by the Jatanias family, and the rights in some markets belong to Wipro Consumer Care and Lighting. So not Unilever.


If you're talking about Ferrari, shouldn't that be 'Whining car'


This isn't going to help the Lotus brand one little bit.

What a farce!


James any news on the ART-Lotus Partnership?


I always thought Fernandez would come back with an ace, could one last twist be that he sells the Team Lotus naming rights to Genii (if indeed its his to sell, I'm sure we've not heard the last of David Hunt)?

But seriously this has been an exceptionally poor show from all sides and I hope BE or the FIA put measures in place to stop teams trading in the sports heritage from now on.


For Crying out loud...will my team get a damn break.

So sick of this... Come on Renault start designing some gem cars, get more profits buy off this rubbish... you sold the team to a bunch of hideous corporate backstabbing children.... Bring back Flavio, Symmonds and co and lets win this....

Will Enstone get a break? Call it Benetton, call it Enstone F1 anything this farce should be shut...

Kevin McCaughey

Group Lotus statement "Group Lotus and and Lotus F1 Team are brand partners, the F1 team uses the strength of the Lotus name to promote themselves, and in return Group Lotus benefits from F1 exposure and the ambassadorship of its drivers, and the deal is a non-cost one."

From: http://www.autocar.co.uk/News/NewsArticle/AllCars/262196/

So, maybe this is not as big a deal as we thought. The article has Group Lotus playing it down and saying business as usual.


Yes, because every F1 team gives away their prime space and team naming rights at for no financial benefit from sponsor just because there is such prestige in doing so. Especially an investment firm who is in F1 for no other reason then to burn its profits on the F1 mantle.


Correct, it *is* business as usual and this whole thing is a storm in a teacup. The team won't change its name and they will keep racing as Lotus.

I own and drive a Lotus and they are are a unique and beautiful car and I treasure every minute I am behind the wheel. I am intelligent enough to realise that the Lotus F1 team has no relevance to the road car I drive, and I wish all the hysterics would stop, it's quite irritating really.


Good point !

Come to think of it, Ferrari road cars and Ferrari F1 race cars are completely different, same goes to Mercedes... some technologies are common but you can't pick-up an F1 car part, put it into a road car (as it is) and drive away

Matthew Cheshire

What a shame Fernandes lost the rights to use the name. This mess would be even better illustrated with two teams using the name of a company not associated with F1.

If Tony Fernandes decided to market a soft drink called Lotus the saga would really be complete:)


He did, that was one of the reasons his license to use the name was terminated. That and trying to sell lotus jewelery ..... LOL

Stuart Harrison

Couldn't make this up. 🙂


This beggars belief.

The grand plan for Group Lotus always seemed too far fetched. Even McLaren who I believe do not have an issue with actually selling their product did not come up with the grand plan of Lotus.

Then there is the whole F1 debacle. Unless Genii are planning to buy Group Lotus, they should rebrand Enstone immediately or Genii F1.

Forget the Lotus name should be in F1. The fans know ehats what and why give free advertising to a car company that is not paying you. It makes no sense.

Enstone have produced a very good car and have great drivers. Move on from this, but free advertising - No.


That's what I'm laughing at; after all the fuss from Group Lotus they ended up back where they started, just licensing the name... to a better outfit for sure, and with a better Finnish driver, but was it worth all the fuss?

Rafael / Seville

Thank you very much for to explain us this matter in deep.

Otherwise it would be really difficult for us to understand what's going on.

Best regards from Spain.



Lotus is a brand name... companies rebrand all the time... remember Daewoo - now rebranded Chevrolet... the cars aren't real Chevrolets they just changed the Daewoo badge one day to fool us into thing they weren't cheap plastic cars! At this stage the Lotus brand name is so tarnished in F1 it's better to kill off the name to protect the heritage of the Lotus Colin Chapman created. The FIA should have never allowed the Lotus brand name back into F1 especially since it didn't have ties to the old Lotus (UK) brand.

Chauncy Gardner

I will refer to them as "TEF-KAL-BERT", Team formally known as Lotus Benetton Renault Toleman


Lotus admits it doesn't have engines for Indianapolis test. I bet you there will be drama for Indy and after the big race at best Lotus will probably pull out too.


No more money to burn on the motor racing money pit for Lotus. It's funny they made an engine for IndyCar while using Toyota engines in their best sellong car the Elise.


At least Caterham make both road and race cars; and are owned by the same bloke.


Imagine if they'd spent as much time and effort on their racing and development as they did worrying about what they're called...


If I was in Genii's position right now, I'd rip the Lotus logos off the car, file for a change of name to something like Toleman and be done with the whole sorry affair. Right now, the Lotus name seems to be a pox on everything it touches and as much as Lopez claims he's fine with acting as a mobile billboard for them I suspect he won't be once the bills start adding up. I'd probably also give the same advice to Judd in light of the IndyCar engine programme issues.


Change the name and you lost 47 millions from FOM


That would only be the case if the other teams refused to sanction the change of name - and much as some may feel tempted in order to give themselves a boost financially, it would come back to bite them should they then choose to rebrand so in all likelihood it would be passed without incident. That was the case for both Lotus and Caterham this year, after all, and both retained their prize money. There may be scope for arguing for a reduction in light of losing a "historic" name, but Toleman was the team's original name anyway and they've been operating continuously since 1981 in one guise or another so I would imagine they would qualify as historic by most standards regardless of the name.


Why am I not surprised about this with the involvement of Danny Bahar. They just need to wait for Proton and Lotus to go belly up and all will be up for grabs. I hope the F1 team will be able to continue using the Lotus name, and perhaps at least own one of them at some point in the future.


@James, Hi I notices a post made by @akbarfoto regarding Kimi's power sterring and I too am trying to find out why Mclaren n Ferrari's PS differs from the rest. Interestingly at Renult Alonso never had problems. Is this something the teams also develop? Would be happy to hear your theory.


Hard to understand and follow. Why don't the team rename itself "Toleman"?


What a mess! What happened to Bahar's, "There is only one Lotus"? They have muddled the Lotus brand more than ever! Does anyone know what's a real Lotus anymore?

historical: Group Lotus, Team Lotus

2010: Group Lotus, Lotus Racing

2011: Group Lotus, Lotus-Renault, Team Lotus

2012 part 1: Group Lotus, Lotus F1 Team (formerly Lotus-Renault)

2012 part 2: Group Lotus, Lotus F1 Team (not affiliated with Group Lotus)

Even Group Lotus, it was owned by Proton, now it's been sold to... who again?

How many companies can get their fingers in the Lotus name? We've been through 5 in the past 2 years! :D:D


More like:

Historical: Group Lotus (cars) & Team Lotus (F1)

(at some point David Hunt becomes custodian of Team Lotus name)

2010: Group Lotus licences Fernandez's team to use the Lotus name. The team is registered under the name Lotus Racing.

2011: Group Lotus terminates the licence deal with Fernandez's team and decides to enter into a major sponsorship deal with the Genii-owned, Enstone-based Renault F1 Team. The team becoming Lotus Renault GP.

Fernandez's team in the meantime aquires the Team Lotus name from David Hunt for the 2011 season.

2012: SETTLEMENT: Fernandez's team retires the Team Lotus name (Fernandez still owns the name if I am not mistaken, but has agreed not to use it) and changes team and chassis name to reflect his recent purchase of boutique kit-car company, Caterham.

In the meantime Group Lotus and Genii are successful in getting the Enstone-based team name and chassis re-branded to reflect the Lotus brand.

2012 II: Group Lotus reveals it is in no position to pay up on its sponsorship obligations, let alone move into an ownership stake of the team. So enters into a licence to use our name arangement with the Genii-owned, Enstone-based team that is smackingly similar to the one they orgininally had with Fernandez back in 2010!



A few days after this story broke I'm wondering how long Group Lotus/Genii have known this was going to happen. There's a feel of "if I can't have the toy, neither can you!" about it. I wouldn't be surprised if ego dictated the Team Lotus/Group Lotus case was pursued to it's conclusion with the aim of ensuring that if Group Lotus wasn't actively in F1, neither would any other Lotus be.

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