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Lotus v Lotus

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Andrew Benson | 13:20 UK time, Wednesday, 8 December 2010

I'll make this as simple as possible.

There will be two teams bearing the Lotus name in Formula 1 next year.

One, following Wednesday's announcement of Lotus Cars' decision to sponsor and eventually buy into what was the Renault team, will be called Lotus Renault. That team will be part-owned by Lotus Cars but their F1 cars will be called Renaults and will use Renault engines.

The other will be called Team Lotus. This one has nothing to do with Lotus Cars (any more - but we'll come back to that in a moment) but their F1 car will be called a Lotus. They will also use, er, Renault engines.

Both teams, it transpires, plan to run their cars in variations of a black and gold livery. This is an attempt to hark back to the historic John Player Special livery made famous by the original Team Lotus in the 1970s and 1980s through great drivers such as Emerson Fittipaldi, Mario Andretti, Ronnie Peterson, Nigel Mansell and Ayrton Senna, and era-defining cars like the Lotus 72 and 79.

It's a commentator's - and journalist's - nightmare and one can only begin to imagine the confusion it will create for those watching.

So what on earth is going on?

The story starts in 2009, when Malaysian businessman Tony Fernandes obtained a multi-year licence from Lotus Cars to use the Lotus name in F1, having persuaded the Malaysian-owned company that an involvement in grand prix racing would be a valuable promotional tool.

Lotus Racing were one of three new teams in F1 in 2010, the others being Virgin and Hispania. All three spent the year close to the back of the grid, but Lotus did establish themselves as convincingly the most competitive.

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In the course of the year, though, Group Lotus's approach to F1 changed, as part of a hugely ambitious refocusing of the company's future plans by chief executive officer Dany Bahar, who formerly worked in the commercial arms of Red Bull F1 and Ferrari.

Bahar, it transpires, was never keen on Lotus granting the licence to Fernandes, and it has become clear through 2010 why - he wanted to take the brand into F1 himself, but in a different way, through an involvement with an established team.

At the Paris Motor Show in October, Bahar announced plans for five new road-car models, expanding Lotus's range by nearly 200%, and has since said Lotus will enter IndyCar racing in the US and race at Le Mans. And now comes a major sponsorship deal with what used to be the Renault F1 team which will, at an undefined point in the future, morph into Lotus part-owning that team.

Fernandes, meanwhile, struck a deal in September to buy the rights to the Team Lotus name from David Hunt, brother of 1976 world champion James. Hunt had bought them when the original Team Lotus collapsed in 1994 after racing in F1 since 1958, during which time it had established itself as one of the sport's most iconic names.

Fernandes' success in buying the name - exclusively revealed by BBC Sport - marked the point at which what had until then been a private dispute between him and Lotus Cars - which is owned by the Malaysian company Proton - broke out into the open.

Following Fernandes's acquisition of the Team Lotus name, Group Lotus claimed that it owned all the rights to the Lotus name - a point of view robustly disputed by Hunt, who points out that Proton have several times tried to buy the Team Lotus name from him without ever being able to conclude a deal.

The dispute got so heated that former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahatir bin Mohamad stepped in to mediate, but he succeeded only in stopping the ping-pong of press releases. The dispute is now going to the High Court - and it is unlikely to be resolved until next year.

Lotus Cars CEO Dany Bahar and Hollywood actress Sharon Stone at the Paris Motor Show

Bahar (left) launches a new Lotus car with the help of actress Sharon Stone. Photo: Getty

But the disagreement over the ownership of Team Lotus is only one of two ongoing legal cases between Lotus Cars and Fernandes. In the other, Fernandes is suing Lotus Cars for breach of contract over its withdrawal of the licence to use the Lotus name in F1.

That, too, is not expected to be resolved until some time next year.

Both sides, then, have got themselves into a bit of a pickle.

Lotus Cars has struck a deal to promote its brand in F1 through a team that is knocking on the door of breaking into the top three - and which, in Robert Kubica, has one of the finest drivers on the grid.

But it is doing so with a car that is called a Renault - and there is no way out of that one.

Lotus and the team's majority shareholder, the private investment group Genii Capital, cannot change the constructor name assigned to their team because if they do so without the permission of all the other teams they will lose the millions the team earns through Renault's historic achievements in F1, which date back to their entry in 1977.

And guess which team would not agree?

Fernandes, meanwhile, faces the prospect of his team giving free publicity to a company with which he is in two separate legal disputes. And even if he changed the name of the team to something else, his cars would still be called Lotuses.

It is an unsatisfactory situation for all involved - the efforts of both parties will be diluted by a dispute that, for those watching, will create only confusion.

Fernandes is understood to be increasingly confident that he will win the court case over the Team Lotus name. Lotus Cars, for its part, appears not to be overly concerned about the existence of a second team diluting its brand. Their view is that only one of the teams is affiliated with Lotus, and the other one is providing free advertising for it.

In the meantime, questions hang in the air.

Is the end game for Fernandes to sell the Team Lotus brand to Lotus Cars if he succeeds in establishing that he owns it? Can Lotus - and its parent company Proton - sustain such an ambitious programme? And so on.

In the murk, only one thing seems clear - this is only the latest stage in a story that will rumble on for some time to come.

Comments

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  • Comment number 1.

    This could only happen in F1... I would feel Fernandez's team is more worthy of being called Lotus in that it has been set up with the ideal of returning the 'historic' Lotus name back into F1. Group Lotus, although it is kindve the same company as that affiliated with the Colin Chapman team, is effectively proton, whereas at least 'team lotus' is just lotus. Maybe we could call the proton loti Tolemans - the historic origins of the team, if history seems to be whats important, but maybe its just money, or some childish dispute between millionaires. arr iv confused myself, the end.

  • Comment number 2.

    Great article Andrew.
    I also feel Fernandez is more worthy of being called Lotus, the tema on a whole has done a fantastic job in it's maiden year and i feel they have not (so far) tarnished the name of Lotus.

  • Comment number 3.

    I think I know where the majority of fans opinions lie on this one. Tony Fernandes brought the Lotus name back to forumla 1 with the sole intention of competing, and making Team Lotus great once again. He has also recieved the support of the Chapman family, who, despite legal protests, are surely the true owners of the Team Lotus name.

    Proton however have seen Lotus competing this year and it seems they have been getting jealous. They want their Lotus team in F1, not with the sole intention of winning, but with the intention of only increasing sales.

  • Comment number 4.

    Wow, how complicated? Ridiculous really, this could have all been avoided if Proton had just bought the rights. it sounds to me like this Bahar fellow is the one digging his heels in as he feels it was in his plan already to get them back in F1 and he's thrown his toys out of the pram because Fernandes beat him to it. Can't see that Lotus cars have a leg to stand on really given they allowed Fernandes the rights to race with the name and thereby gaining from the free advertising. I'd be disappointed if all the other teams had voted for the name change given the morals involved here.

  • Comment number 5.

    It is great that they could be two Lotus teams but is it within the FIA rules to have two teams with the 'Lotus' brand. Lotus Racing/Team Lotus wanted to race first and did so they were the best of the new teams then you got Lotus-Renault the traditional team when Senna raced for three seasons. fernandes hasn't been anything wrong.

    Would be surprised if Liuzzi raced next year as he is cr*p and has had so many chances to make it in F1 give someone else a chance.

  • Comment number 6.

  • Comment number 7.

    Only in F1!!! Another sub plot for 2011 then, even though my money is on Benetton (:-p) at the mo. To the no trained eye it will be a little confusing esp if Team Lotus get in the midfield. Lotus cars seem to be on a massive mission to get their brand into all categories of motor sport and it comes as no surprise to me that they have gone for F1 as well. Lets just hope it doesn't end up with a massive argument between the 2 teams that lasts for most of the season and takes the headlines away from the on track action.

  • Comment number 8.

    Lets get something straight here. Group Lotus (Proton) are the only ones that have been putting cash into motor-sport over the years. They race their road cars on the track. Lotus 2-Eleven, Elsie and others. Tony Fernandes all he has done is buy a name, he cant even use the logo for Heaven's sake. And im sure none of them can run the black and gold livery looking like that, as its the JPS colours and Cig brands are banned.
    Its all turning into a huge joke. What on earth is wrong with Fernandes using his own name for a team. It all smacks of him getting a ready made fan base with no effort on his part.

  • Comment number 9.

    This is a total FARCE and the real losers of this are the fans.

    I know who my allegiances will lie with... the team that started from scratch from a workshop (in the old traditional British way) in Norfolk 12 months ago and who totally deserve their claim to the name Team Lotus. Not a green-eyed company trying to barge their way in by assimilating a team already near the front of the grid purely for marketing purposes.

    And I fully expect all true F1 fans to feel the same.

    This will get confusing and Bernie Ecclestone should have done something to bring an agreement between the two parties before it came to this.

    And incidentally, I think Team Lotus should stick with the green livery... if only just to make it easier for the watching public!

  • Comment number 10.

    When Lotus entered last year I wan overly happy as I did fear that they wouldn't respect the Team Lotus history. I was wrong! I think Fernandes and his team have done a great job. Yes he is Malaysian and wants to promote his country and take elements if the team there but he wants to grow there historical Norfolk base. Group Lotus do not give a poo about the history of Team Lotus other than an marketing campaign. Lotus cars is in the world because Colin Chapman needed to fund his racing just like Enzo Farrari did. It is a side show to the F1 team and I think most F1 fans know the Lotus cars and F1 are 2 seperate things and support them in that way.

  • Comment number 11.

    @AJGO7 "And I fully expect all true F1 fans to feel the same."

    How dare you speak for all true F1 fans.

  • Comment number 12.

    Combine?

  • Comment number 13.

    @ C-zar-Orac:

    I was just about to post a link to that website, but you beat me to it! :) For anyone wondering, it's a website detailing why Team Lotus are the ones who should have the rights to the name in F1, and that Group Lotus are just throwing their toys out of the pram because they didn't get there first.

    Honestly though, if this Dany Bahar guy has a shred of intelligence then he'd see that Team Lotus are giving Group Lotus FREE publicity. And what's better is that Tony Fernandes, Mike Gascoyne and the rest of the team are in F1 for the right reasons; their love for racing and the Team Lotus name, which gives off a positive vibe as opposed to one of a greedy marketing exercise. Also, Team Lotus could use the iconic Gold Leaf livery if they did not wish to use the JPS colours.

    I will be supporting Team Lotus next season :)

  • Comment number 14.

    The only people bothered are the commentators who will lose track of how many times a 'Lotus' has been lapped.

  • Comment number 15.

    Apart from the fact of who is worthy of being called Team lotus, there'll be a few big problems
    1) the drivers wont know which lotus is driven by whom, for all alonso could be doing is chasing jarno trulli who is a lap behind thinking its robert kubica.
    2) theres going to be all sorts of chaos in the pit lane, with lotus pulling in the wrong pit box or other pit crews releasing cars thinking that lotus has already pitted or vice versa (the force india - renault accident in the pit lane this year)

  • Comment number 16.

    All I can say is that I'm glad Murray Walker isn't commentating any more !
    Two black and gold cars and both called Lotus ?
    He'd never have coped !

  • Comment number 17.

    I don't think it will be so confusing, really. We've had a very similar situation for a few seasons now, in that both Red Bull and Toro Rosso have very similar liveries, and the names are the same, just in different languages.

    I'm sure, when it comes to the races, we'll soon work out which cars are Lotus Renault (somewhere near the front of the midfield) and which cars are Team Lotus (somewhere near the back of the midfiled).

    I'm just happy enough that they (Team Lotus) survived their first season and will be back next season!

  • Comment number 18.

    Booooooo! this is stupid! why are group lotus trying to hijack the image of their own brand? couldnt they have just bought the 2010 lotus team and avoid this stupid branding dispute. Also, the new lotus-renault team will not be able to use the black and gold livery because lotus racing got there first, and the fia will never allow such similar liverys.

  • Comment number 19.

    16. At 3:40pm on 08 Dec 2010, TheMightyGusset wrote:
    All I can say is that I'm glad Murray Walker isn't commentating any more !
    Two black and gold cars and both called Lotus ?
    He'd never have coped !

    What you think the J. Legard will cope?

  • Comment number 20.

    Already, Red Bull v Toro Rosso; now, Lotus v Lotus

    Anyway,

    It was my impression that the names on the entry list recently published by the FIA cannot now be changed without the agreement of all other teams (and sometimes not even then) - and I hardly think Tony Fernandes will agree to a change in Renault's name - as illustrated by the fact that this year we had the 'BMW Sauber Ferrari' Team, notwithstanding BMW's sale of its interest.


    Maybe team names should be set in stone and the only way to change is to set up a completely new team. In which case, applied retrospectively, congratulations to Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber for giving the Stewart Formula One team its first championship double.

  • Comment number 21.

    "Lotus and the team's majority shareholder, the private investment group Genii Capital, cannot change the constructor name assigned to their team because if they do so without the permission of all the other teams they will lose the millions the team earns through Renault's historic achievements in F1, which date back to their entry in 1977".

    Thanks for clearing most of this up Andrew but this bit has really gave me a headache!

    Isn't the current Renault team just the ashes of Benetton and Toleman before it?

    How can it claim any sort of money from the previous incarnation of the Renault team? Or is it all in the marketing of the brand name Renault?

    I may be just missing the point but I would be garteful if somebody could clear this up. Ta.

  • Comment number 22.

    Thank god Tony Fernandes hasn't yet invested in my local club Norwich City yet, as has been rumoired bacause of his connection to Lotus down the road (although this article seems to suggest this was tenuous although his F1 team is still based in Norfolk). That would really confuse things.

  • Comment number 23.

    Its a shame that it's come down to this, why didnt Proton Lotus use the money it's used to buy Renault Lotus to develop Fernandes Lotus into a frontrunner as now it'll always be thought of as Renault Lotus not Lotus Lotus and will never recieve the full credit that Fernandes Lotus deserves for resurrecting Lotus in the first place. Colin Chapman must be spinning in his grave. Lotus.

    Can you imagine how Johnathon Legard will cope with TWO teams called Lotus next year? Cant we call one of them Toro Lotus and pretend its not a Red Bull.... Sorry i mean Lotus?

  • Comment number 24.

    @Rich:

    Don't you mean Toleman?

  • Comment number 25.

    Whilst this is messy on the surface, it is the naming of the chassis that is key here. Unless Group Lotus gets the unanimous agreement of the other teams (including Team Lotus - unlikely!), the Enstone-based cars will still be Renault-Renaults, just with Lotus as a title sponsor, as Vodafone is for McLaren.

    The same applies to Tony Fernandes' team. They would need approval from the rest of the teams for their cars to be called anything other than Lotus in 2011. As they don't want to change names, this is not really an issue.

    Whilst the attempts to hijack the brand by Proton are petty in the extreme, at present, there will only be two Lotus-Renault cars in 2011, run by Team Lotus. Let Renault run the black and gold livery if they choose. Team Lotus should keep the green and yellow and stay true to the brand.

  • Comment number 26.

    I never really understood Fernandez in using the Lotus name, when he has absolutely no ties with the historic lotus whatsoever. He did a fine job establishing a new team, but it was a new team and not Lotus. The problem seamed to be that Hunt didn't want to sell the Team Lotus name to Proton. This can be only solved if Fernandez wins the court and sells the Lotus name back to Proton. The Lotus will be Lotus (er..+Renault), and Fernandez' team will be called Maserati or Brabus or whatever historic name he picks up..just call yourself Air Asia Racing and nobody will bother

  • Comment number 27.

    At 4:16pm on 08 Dec 2010, IconYu wrote:

    @Rich:

    Don't you mean Toleman?

    No I said Benetton for a laugh. but I do no they started off life as Toleman in 1981 at Imola with Derek Warwick and Brian Henton but both failed to quantify.

  • Comment number 28.

    Both teams are as bad as each other in this childish standoff, both want to use (and abuse) the Lotus name for PR purposes only.

    The best thing Fernandes could do is to give up claim to the Lotus name and go back to Litespeed. Not one fan or sponsor was convinced they were Lotus to begin with. Keep the green/gold livery, keep the fans they made last year through being the little team that could. Take this through the courts and they will lose all of those fans.

  • Comment number 29.

    I'm sure most fans will be able to tell the difference, the red end-plates on the Renault will be a big clue (unless Team copy them just to wind Proton up!)

    I'm really hoping that Team Lotus have a great season next year but I'm concerned that if they start to get too close to Lotus Renault their engine's performance may start to tail off or even a few failures may occur.

    Was switching from Cosworth a good idea when, as I understand it, the gearbox caused the majority of problems?

  • Comment number 30.

    Well, the commentators manage with two Red Bull teams. No reason why they can't manage with two Lotus teams as well.

  • Comment number 31.

    Maybe we are taking it a little too far... I doubt that the two teams will come up with the EXACT same livery, so it wont be all that difficult to distinguish the teams at all. After all, sponsorship on the cars will be different, shape of the cars will more than likely be different, because its being made by two separate companies.

    All that is going to be the same is 1) The Engine, and 2) the word Lotus

    I know its a different thing with Torro Rosso and Red Bull, but they aren't hard to differentiate.

  • Comment number 32.

    @BDN41 'Was switching from Cosworth a good idea when, as I understand it, the gearbox caused the majority of problems?'

    My understanding is that as part of a tie up with Red Bull, Team Lotus will use the same gearbox and rear end as Red Bull as well as the Renault engine.

  • Comment number 33.

    The definitive thing for me is that one team is based in it's traditional Norfolk home and is making single seater cars to race, the other is just sponsoring someone. Paying sponsorship money to another F1 team seems so alien to everything Colin Chapman was about in F1.

    Group Lotus have been acting oddly in motorsport all thanks to Bahar. Sponsoring a champcar entry this year. Sponsoring GP2 & GP3 entries next season. Not sure how much credit the road cars will get for other engineering companies efforts on racing. The big worry would be that he's throwing away so much money at a company that doesn't exactly run at a healthy profit. Hope no-one at Group Lotus loses their job in the future due to this ambitious approach of (half-heartidly) entering every racing formula they can in one go and running out of cash.

    Lotus Cars entering the Le Mans series would be great, and historically in line with the company approach.

    I grew up a Lotus fan and after so many years dreaming of a return it is a truly bizarre day when I'm not happy to read today's news of a new Lotus team name for 2011! As for the claims by Proton (Bahar) that they own the brand rights anyway, go read www.saveteamlotus.com as suggested above and find out exactly how solid David Hunt's case has been for 16 years.

    I'd prefer Team Lotus to stay with the British racing green as others have said. True classic paint scheme.

  • Comment number 34.

    Thank you Andrew for clearing up some issues. My question is, if you could answer: is not the real issue in F1 the team entry accepted by the FIA? As I understand it each team has to submit an entry request and any new team has to fulfill certain criteria, as in the new 3 last year. There was much confusion surrounding the Sauber BMW, Renault F1 and Toyota team names last year with Sauber and Genii having to retain the original entry name whereas the Serbian chap(?) wasn't allowed to just buy Toyota and rename it. However Brawn did just that the year before. There seems to be a lot of ambiguity in the rules and they seem to change to suit the FIA. Or why cant Proton just call the car a Proton Renault. Or Genii-Lotus Renault. After all Lotus have already been accepted by the FIA as the holder of he Lotus name.

  • Comment number 35.

    I sincerely hope that Tony Fernandes does win through and proves that the Team Lotus name is his to use having acquired the name from David Hunt. That being the case would that then preclude Lotus cars/Renault from using the John Player special livery? - It should! I suspect that Lotus cars may be taking on more than they can chew here, and perhaps they are on a sticky wicket in the high court, and may end up having to pay damages to Fernandes.

  • Comment number 36.

    Great article Andrew.

    Like many on here, I feel that Fernandes should be the one to keep the Lotus name. He really wants to make the team into what it was, and we've seen that he's taking this goal very seriously. Proton just want to make money from it. The Chapmans entrusted Fernandes with their team, enough said.

  • Comment number 37.

    I can see Formula 1 becoming very confusing to watch next season, with commentators not only having two different Lotus teams to seperate, but also teams with the same livery on their cars, it will be very easy to mix up each car.

    Fernandes should get to keep the lotus name, as he brought it back into F1 adn has worked hard to establish themselves back on the grid, and i'm sure 'Team Lotus' will be fighting further up the midfield this coming season.

  • Comment number 38.

    Team Lotus should keep the name. Clive Chapman (son of the late great Colin) has been behind the team this year, and the relentless work of Tony Fernandes and Mike Gascoyne to set up a team and build two cars in the space of about 6 months is exceptional. They have endeared themselves to the F1 paddock.

    Lotus Cars just seem to do this all out of jealously. If they were truly passionate about F1, they would have entered years ago. As it is, they're only getting involved when there's another Lotus on the block. 'Hijacking' the plan to have a black and gold livery also smacks of just trying to annoy the other team. Keep the Renault name. Keep the yellow and black colour scheme and sponsor them via Proton. Let Team Lotus keep their name.

  • Comment number 39.

    There shoudn't be any name confusion… it has been pointed out quite early in the article that the Lotus Renault team's cars will be known as Renaults.

    What I would do in Fernandez's shoes is revert to the original green and yellow Lotus livery used on their beautiful '60s racers rather than use black and gold which was less synonymous with the name Lotus, more so with the brand name written large across every available space on those mobile fag packets.

  • Comment number 40.

    Really puts the meaning behind LOTUS: Lots Of Trouble, Usually Serious!

  • Comment number 41.

    Am I the only one who believes potentially having a Lotus Renault GP team and a Team Lotus Renault team in F1 2011 might be an interesting rivalry? Lotus CEO Dany Bahar has mentioned in the press today "four Lotus brands out there is better than two. I have nothing against that."

    With Proton's lukewarm support for Lotus Racing (not Team Lotus) in 2010 it was always possible we would end up with two Lotus F1 teams.

  • Comment number 42.

    I think everyone associated with F1 will be able to tell the cars apart. As for the confusion for if it's Kubica or Trulli Alonso's passing, Petrov and Kubica has the same car for 2010 and were usually at opposite ends of the grid, and team radio's are there for a reason.

    It's the newer fans or the kids watching the CBBC commentary that I feel sorry for, Toro Rosso at least have a different name to Red Bull and as a casual fan you may not put two and two together. Surely the same name bar a few letters (Team/GP) will cause the FIA or Bernie to step in, the last thing we want is for a supporter of Renault or Lotus not to know who they want to win.

  • Comment number 43.

    This is probably one of the reasons why F1 tends to get less respect compared to other sports.. Should we be surprised? We already have two Red Bull teams on the grid and to be honest, you can't really separate the Mercedes and McLaren teams from afar. The only surprise is that Ferrari don't have another team! Funny how we wait 16 years for a new Lotus team to come up, and then two of them show up. The positive is that at least we will have 24 cars on the grid which is always good news and hopefully Tony Fernandes' team will be more competitive and be able to move up the grid - I guess in case he lost, he could always rename his team AirAsia GP?

  • Comment number 44.

    It's just like Manchester United and Manchester City or AC Milan and Inter Milan or the countless others and they seem to get along.

    Team Lotus all the way if it goes that far. They were there first and seem to be doing it right rather than piggy backing. I'm sure all previous Lotus fans (I am only 23 after all) would rather a real team than one where it's only half the name to be shared with a tainted brand.

  • Comment number 45.

    Now the BBC will have to get rid of Mr Ledgard - he will never cope with 2 teams called Lotus and both in black and gold - he's bad enough with Red Bull & Torro Rosso - I can feel my blood boiling already and there's still 90 days to go!!

  • Comment number 46.

    The Fernandes Lotus team to me are the true bearers of the Lotus "spirit", making cars in a shed in Norfolk. And as far as the FIA is concerned this is also the case - the records show that they are a continuation of the team that finished in 1994.

    Behar is on a bit of a sticky wicket here. I get the impression that F1 was going to be a cornerstone of the Lotus revival, and he only went there on that basis, to find that it was a complete disaster. The question is, how long will Proton continue to fund him?

    And as to earlier posters wondering what the Malaysian fascination with Lotus was about, the Lotus flower is the national flower of Malaysia, which makes it quite a coup for a Malaysian to own.

  • Comment number 47.

    Team Lotus should forget all about the black and gold JPS livery. They should revert to the the original Team Lotus colours of green with a yellow stripe. Jim Clark, probably (definitely in my opinion) their greatest ever driver raced in those colours at the time when Lotus were at their most dominant, 1963.

  • Comment number 48.

    We've all survived ok watching Red Bulls and Toro Rossos so I don't think there will be an issue watching Lotus vs Lotus - they wont be designed by the same people unlike the energy drink teams. The team formally known as Renault I think will do the Lotus name more justice - at least in the short term. As much as I like Fernandez and the Lotus Racing team, they still have a very long way before they are genuinely competitive. I think without harming the Lotus name Fernandez may relinquish (sell) his naming rights. In the end, as always in F1, money talks.

  • Comment number 49.

    simple
    group lotus stop throwing a tanty and sponsor team lotus, renault stays renault and everyones happy!

    unfortunately when money is involved it rarely is simple

  • Comment number 50.

    @Funkysideburns
    So Tony Fernandes has simply bought a fan base with no effort? How about the work it took to get a team through their first season in F1? Surely what you suggest is exactly what Bahar has done? He hasn't even designed and developed his own car, just paid to have the company name on the side of Renault's car!
    And as for Lotus putting cash into motorsport - really? I own and race a Lotus Elise and have seen no sponsorship from Lotus. Most of the Lotuses racing are run by enthusiasts, just like Fernandes, not someone who went to Lotus because he couldn't get top job at Ferrari. Spoilt brat.

  • Comment number 51.

    Just out of interest, what do the Italian commentators call Red Bull?

  • Comment number 52.

    If Proton had any sense they would see that to allow Tony Fernandes the freedom to use the Lotus name and then they themselves support the Renault team under the Proton brand would enhance their all round business. Tony Fernandes has the passion and enthusiasm for the sport to bring the Lotus name back to F1 and I feel really sorry that he has now to fight this battle with a company who are coming across as having a hissy-fit at not having the foresight to see the potential of the exposure Grand Prix racing gives. Proton are now just coming across as the spoiled bully who wants to get in on the act. I have every respect for Tony, Mike Gascoyne and the rest of the team for the stirling job they have done in 2010 and am really looking forward to the 2011 season when they have every chance of doing a 'Brawn'. I have no respect for Proton and their silly antics. I know Tony was already planning the black & gold livery for 2011 but, if Proton continue to pursue their line of action, I would suggest Team Lotus continue with the green and yellow or, alternatively, the red, gold and white of the late 60's and 70's cars - another great era for the team! Go for it Tony!

  • Comment number 53.

    "I think I know where the majority of fans opinions lie on this one. Tony Fernandes brought the Lotus name back to forumla 1 with the sole intention of competing, and making Team Lotus great once again. He has also recieved the support of the Chapman family, who, despite legal protests, are surely the true owners of the Team Lotus name.

    Proton however have seen Lotus competing this year and it seems they have been getting jealous. They want their Lotus team in F1, not with the sole intention of winning, but with the intention of only increasing sales. " - Sweenie02

    Yep, just about word for word thats how I feel, so you definitely speak for me. As far as I'm concerned, Fernandez got in there first, and his reasons are more honourable than the other lot. I dont care what Proton say, Fernandez's guys are the real Team Lotus.

    Think about it, as a modern team they encapsulate what the original Lotus was all about. They started from absolute nothing and won people's respect in their first year doing a very competent job as they went and probably learned lots that they can take into their 2nd year. All against the odds with a start from absolute nothing. If thats not the spirit of Lotus then I dont know what is.

  • Comment number 54.

    I don't think either of them deserve the name. Neither has any credible lineage back to the original Team Lotus. What was left of the 'original' Team was just a name which David Hunt bought and sold. People who get all misty eyed at the thought of a green & yellow or black and gold 'Lotus' racing today are deluding themselves. This has nothing to do with history whatsoever. It's about either selling Protons or attracting sponsorship for a team which made its debut in 2010.

    As has already been mentioned, if we get all sentimental about the Lotus name, we may as well refer to the Renaults as Tolemans, or the Mercs as Brawns, no wait, Hondas, no, hang on BAR's....nope, Tyrrells!!

  • Comment number 55.

    I suggest the answer is for both teams to copy Red Bull and Toro Rosso Teams. They can come to a similar arrangement using the same engines, with the Renault Team also providing other technology. This will help Team Lotus get out of the bottom 3 and improve the Lotus Cars brand name

  • Comment number 56.

    Anyone else find it odd that Proton is payng lots of money to a rival car manufacturer? Surely Proton would want to get sales in the European market rather than funding Renault. If they were really serious about this they would have announced plans to introduce a Proton F1 engine in 2013 and their own car. A Team Lotus powered by a Proton would have been a good compromise for Fernandes, Group Lotus & Proton, but when has F1 ever been sensible?

  • Comment number 57.

    To me the name isn’t really the big issue here

    If you look at the team names last year, as officially registered, Red Bull Racing-Renault, McLaren Mercedes, Ferrari, Mercedes GP, Renault, Williams-Cosworth Force India-Mercedes, BMW Sauber-Ferrari, STR Ferrari, Lotus-Cosworth HRT-Cosworth and last but not least Virgin-Cosworth

    So we have 2 Renaults, 3 Mercedes, 3 Ferrari and 4 Cosworth teams. Yes it would be nice to have 12 different manufacturers and teams but in reality we have just 4.

    To me the issue is being able to tell the two teams apart when they go flying past you at 150MPH.

    I think the big winner in this war of words is a certain cigarette manufacturer.

    Without doing anything people are referring to both teams as having John Player Special liveries. Even though cigarette advertising has been banned for a number of years.

    The FIA should insist that if the teams do not sort out their differences out of court, as punishment for being so childish both teams should not be allowed to use the black and gold. Maybe one team in day-glow pink with yellow polka dots, the other in day-glow yellow with pink polka dots.

  • Comment number 58.

    I can't help feeling that Group Lotus is overextending itself rather badly. The last time Lotus moved away from it's lightweight, uncompromising, sporting roots and started making more luxurious and refined cars it ended up being a disaster. With five new car models and new racing projects across the whole spectrum of open wheel racing, I think this is all going to end in tears.

  • Comment number 59.

    51. At 05:12am on 09 Dec 2010, injidup wrote:

    Just out of interest, what do the Italian commentators call Red Bull?
    -----------------

    "Red Bull". Just like they call Ferrari "Ferrari". It's a NAME, name's shouldn't change in translation.



    Anyway I think I'm beginning to see the bigger picture here, the timings and coincidences are too great, the entier thing is a stitch up from start to finish.

    Once the court action started clearly an agreement has been made between Fernandes and Proton with Renault involved as well.

    The coincidence of Fernandes suddenly being interested in Renault engines right as Proton are thinking of investing in RenaultF1, the whole controversy brought up by identical naming and livery suggestions. It's all a setup.

    Proton are not a big name in cars around the world, but I bet there are millions more people who now know the name and thay they are associated with Lotus than there were a month ago. None of them would without this episode.

    Mark my words this will be settled before the season starts. Lotus-Renault will run as one team in black and yellow. Team Lotus will run as another in Green and Gold, the court case will be settled with an undisclose resolution. Fernandes gets his engines/gearboxes and publicity, Proton get their front of the grid car and publicity, everyone wins.

  • Comment number 60.

    I am very very surprised that the FIA and FOM (and FOTA) would allow two teams to have similar names and similar colour schemes. Isn't the point of all these organisations to ensure the right driver in the right car in the right team gets the recognition for a victory?
    Won't somebody have to make a concrete decision about this before the start of the season? Also, aren't the actual team names owned by Bernie/CVC/FOM, so ultimately the names can be changed without the team's agreement?
    Otherwise this will open the gates for future teams to have Ferrari Red and Mercedes Silver cars, and then where would we be?

  • Comment number 61.

    Mike Gascoyne on his Twitter page has just announced that it's 77% in favour from the fans for the team to stay in green and yellow. Sounds good to me!

  • Comment number 62.

    The saddest part in all this is that Lotus Group have failed to recognize the efforts of everyone at the Norfolk Factory this year - if any of you are reading this, well done for showing the rest of the new teams the way home and well done for making such progress during the year, i for one wish you all the very best for next year and will be putting my full support behind the true TEAM LOTUS next year (even though Kubica is one of my favorite drivers!!).

  • Comment number 63.

    "57. At 11:20am on 09 Dec 2010, Neil Anderson wrote:

    So we have 2 Renaults, 3 Mercedes, 3 Ferrari and 4 Cosworth teams. Yes it would be nice to have 12 different manufacturers and teams but in reality we have just 4."

    Neil I think you need to do a bit more research there. Those names are just the names of the engines the teams use. We have 12 different car manufacturers as all cars are built in-house. They may use parts from other companies but the majority of each car is built/designed by the team running the car.

    Are you saying Adrian Newey actually works for Renault, because RBR use the Renault name in their name and therefore the RBR car manufacturer is in fact Renault?

    If you are, you need to go back and think about your statement there a bit more.

    Also everyone is making the connection between the Black/Gold livery and JPS because that is what it represents, it's one of the liveries based on sponsor colours that Team Lotus used in the past.

    Just because cigarette advertising has been banned doesn't mean you cannot refer to the companies who used to sponsor teams. Or are we suddenly to forget that Marlboro sponsored Ferrari, or Rothmans/Camel sponsored Williams, hmm?

    Anyone can look up historical photos of race cars and see the tobacco sponsors logos plastered all over them so there is no real reason not to refer to the black/gold livery as a JPS type of livery, because people can still find out about it, even if we refer to it as a Lotus Black/Gold livery of old. If I said to you go look up the great Senna in his Lotus, using google, one of the first pics you come across is a JPS liveried car (1986 #12 to be exact).

    Call a spade a spade.

    Personally I don't like this move by Proton at all, Proton are buying their way into F1, using a name that doesn't mean diddly squat in motorsport as a whole, and causing problems for a team trying to emulate the success that Colin Chapman had in F1. Tony Fernandez announced Lotus Racing were going to use the iconic JPS style livery, and now all of a sudden Proton have stolen that idea.

    The Team Lotus name means more than the Lotus Cars brand does in motorsport, especially in F1 and Proton are wrong to be bringing Lotus Cars into F1 in the way they have done, if they really wanted an F1 team for the purpose of racing they should have done what Tony Fernandez has done (and Colin Chapman before him), built a team from scratch that is separate from the factory in Hethel.

    No-one here should be under the illusion that this team is Lotus in any way shape or form, Lotus have not properly existed since Group Lotus was sold off to GM 2 years after Colin Chapmans death in 1982. This is nothing more than Proton using the Group Lotus/Lotus Cars name to make a few extra bucks on the back of a name they believe holds some sway with fans.

    Still I guess Lotus Cars has more credibility than the Proton brand ever will.

  • Comment number 64.

    ravenmorpheus2k: thanks for your comments. The names I refer to are those listed as registered team names on the Formula 1 website. The point I was making is that no matter what they are officially called people will shorten the team names to something they find easy to first remember and second In the same way that next season the teams would be listed Lotus - Renault and Team Lotus – Renault

    As I am sure you will know the best form of advertising is both the written and spoken word either through news paper or internet articles (written) and Television or Viral articles (spoken).

    Whether unintentional or intentionally referring to the cars as in the JPS livery, we are advertising a brand. And by publishing these comments that only forms to deliver the message more. We do not refer to the Ferrari’s from 5 years ago as the Marlboro Ferrari it is just Ferrari or even Scarlet Ferrari. But if you are referring to the a Black and Gold Lotus why is it a JPS Lotus. Because the sponsors of the day did a brilliant job and they are still getting free promotion years after the deal ended.

    I take on board what you say about people being able to look at previous pictures from historic races and see tobacco advertising. However, this is about next season and future races.

    Like is say I take on board your comments and reiterate that the name, to me personally (I will not try to answer for every F1 fan as others have), isn’t important as been able to tell the different cars and different drivers from one another.

    Personally I don’t follow one team but rather I will support a driver, usually British. For example in 2009 I followed the Brawn of Button and the McLaren of Hamilton. They made it easy for me in 2010 with Button moving to McLaren. Therefore being able to identify the driver due to helmet design (changing designs like Vettel did virtually every other race really annoys me) and identifying the team at high speed is always good.

    I totally agree with you on Lotus haveing more credibility than the Proton Brand. Proton just sounds too much like a pain-killer to me and not a racing team or even a car manufacturer...............

    But no matter what happens, lets all hope for a decent season next year and come the end of the first race we will wonder what all the fuss is about.

  • Comment number 65.

    I have to agree with ravenmorpheus2k, Tony Fernandes has (re)generated the interest in the Lotus name and has done so with the same enthusiasm and spirit of the team as the late Colin Chapman. If anyone deserves the support of the fans it has to be Tony's Team Lotus who have to be the true successor to the Lotus racing brand. Between him and the efforts of Mike Gascoyne they ARE the new Lotus. While I appreciate that there is little to relate it to the heritage of Chapman's Lotus, Tony and Mike's incarnation is more in keeping with the ambitions of Colin Chapman.

  • Comment number 66.

    Now if we could get two Colin Chapmans back into F1
    and two Jim Clarks
    and two Graham Hills
    and, of course, two Nigel Mansells

    that would be worth talking about.

  • Comment number 67.

    As an avid fan of all things Lotus (I am luck enough to own two Lotus Cras), I believe that 'Proton' are heading for a major fall and with it the 'Lotus Car' Brand, multi million new car development plans, Indy Car, LeMans, F1 etc........lets get real!
    Whilst on the other hand Tony Fernandes has taken on the Lotus (Colin Chapman) spirit and returned the Team Lotus to F1, he has been very loyal to the brand history and image and has received the blessing of the Chapman family, I think he will stick with the green and yellow, and I hope above all else he will blow the Renault-Proton-Lotus team out of the water.
    Good luck to TEAM LOTUS the genuine article.

  • Comment number 68.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 69.

    F1 car branding which is clearly emblematic of a tobacco brand COULD be challenged, at least in British courts.

    At which time, of course, Bernie would say "If I can't have it my way, then there will be no more British GP", and some of our craven (pun intended) politicians would ask "How high [do I have to jump], Mr Ecclestone, sir?"

  • Comment number 70.

    I for one will be calling one car Proton-Renault the other Team Lotus
    Who will join me

  • Comment number 71.

    There is another way to look at this. The legacy left by Lotus was so strong that it has spawned a racing team and a car manufacturer. Both want to prove their technology so let both of them use the name. I cant see the problem really. It will be another interesting rivalry in F1.

  • Comment number 72.

    All this just proves how Formula 1 risks being made a laughing stock by money interests pushing out sporting interests. The last thing F1 needs is another pair of teams difficult to distinguish (think RB/TR). And what's the black and gold thing about anyway? That was a cigarette brand (I smoked them), not a racing car. Mike Gascoyne's own poll is dead right - keep the green and yellow for the "real" Lotus and keep Renault as Renault. They are both classic names in F1 and deserve their separate identities.

  • Comment number 73.

    Interesting site worth taking a look if you're a supporter of Tony's efforts - www.saveteamlotus.com

  • Comment number 74.

    I really appreciate what Tony Fernandes has done, but he could of picked any manufactuer he liked, Maserati for example.
    I am a Norfolk boy through and through and a big fan of Lotus Cars. Proton saved Lotus Cars from going under, they have turned the company into making a profit and looking to be developing some very interesting new cars.

    If they choose to put there name on a F1 car then great, more advertising for Lotus Cars !!!!

    Yes Fernandes team have done well to survive for season, but personally seeing the Lotus name near the back of the pack each race doesn't exactly fill me full of joy.

    To say Proton have done nothing to help out Norfolk is completely untrue, Hethel works is still going strong just outside of Norwich, and they also continue to support Norwich City Football Club.

    Personally as much advertising for Lotus the better !!!

  • Comment number 75.

    Red Bull/Toro Rosso are totally separate from this. They make no secret that Toro is a feeder team to RB. This is two separate teams both competing for the same fans when on Team Lotus deserve them. I think Team should go green and yellow and let Renault go gold and black, they already are tainted and now trying to muscle in on another team. How would Sauber or Ferrari act if Renault tried to call themselves Sauber Renault or Ferrari Renault.

  • Comment number 76.

    My view is that Lotus Racing (Gascoyne's team) shouldn't be called Lotus. What links do they have to the original Team Lotus? OK so the current Group Lotus don't have that many links to the original Team Lotus either, but still more than Lotus Racing, which only has a name. It would be exactly the same as me starting up an F1 team called Ligier. Group Lotus have a valid reason to use Team Lotus as their name as it was a sister company of theirs essentially, yet Lotus Racing have no links in common with the original Team Lotus other than a name which they have just simply purchased to make themselves look good.

  • Comment number 77.

    A lot of rubbish spoken about it not being right that Proton just bought into Renault to gain entry for marketing purposes. It's no different than BMW buying Sauber or Mercedes buying Brawn.
    F1 is a business with a sporting element 20 times a year on a Sunday.
    Proton and its Lotus manufacturing operation are looking to expand the brand. Team Lotus is a completely seperate entity and is a vehicle for Tony Fernandes to market his companies - he has chosen Team Lotus for its F1 history as a Marketing tool - it was naive to think that the manufacturing company wouldn't see the benefit as well.
    So now we have this strange situation - I expect eventually the two entities will merge or Tony Fernandes will re-name and market his own businesses like Air Asia and Tune Group.
    I would keep the Green/Yellow of Team Lotus if I was Fernandes or maybe use the red/gold livery of the Gold Leaf days prior to the Black JPS.
    For me let the best team win - after all that's what its all about if you just spectate on a Sunday.

  • Comment number 78.

    Team Lotus and Lotus Cars were split LONG ago.

    The situation is not wholly dissimilar to the time when VW bought Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Ltd, only to discover that the rights to the use of "Rolls-Royce" (a trademark of the aero-engine manufacturer) as a marque dissolved once there was a change in ownership of the car company, leaving VW with only Bentley and Rolls-Royce plc free to 're-assign' the car marque to its pals at BMW.

    That time, the legal position was quite clear - Rolls-Royce plc owned the name (and had allowed Vickers plc to use it for its subsidiary car company) and retained a yea-or-nay say over the use of the name once the car company ceased to be a member of the Vickers group of companies.

    If anyone thinks that Lotus v Lotus will be easily settled, they should try reading the decades-long history of the Apple Corps Ltd v Apple Computer Inc (as then were) dispute - and they were two companies without a common history!

  • Comment number 79.

    77. At 12:29pm on 10 Dec 2010, Peter Fox wrote: "A lot of rubbish spoken about it not being right that Proton just bought into Renault to gain entry for marketing purposes. It's no different than BMW buying Sauber or Mercedes buying Brawn."

    Yup, that's pretty true. However, it's not Proton that's being promoted here - it's Lotus Cars. Furthermore, BMW bought into Sauber while it was already in F1. Mercedes bought Brawn while it was already in F1. And going back, Renault bought Benetton while it was already in F1. Save for an association with Lotus F1, Lotus Cars and Proton had no continuing connection to the series. So the parallels aren't much the same. The question is really about motivation.

    Back in October I was fortunate enough to get Autosport's 'Star Letter' prize one week (though the prize has been more of a millstone!), when the whole Renault-Lotus/Lotus-Renault thing began. It was edited, but my essential theme remained intact - that in PR terms Lotus Group (and by extension private equity firm Genii and car makers Proton) were looking to shoot themselves in the tyres if they were perceived to be leaning on Lotus F1. It looked (to me then) like Group Lotus (GL) were being 'dog in the manger' about the whole thing, having shown 0% interest in F1 until Hingham came along. And now GL via Lotus Cars was trying to muscle Lotus F1 out of the way, with reports of unspecified accusations of brand damage. I predicted that this would not go down well with fans, who don't much take to corporations bullying the little guy.

    Looking around here and elsewhere, this does seem to be the general mood. There is (of course) some hair-splitting about which is the 'real' Lotus (including Autosport itself, interestingly), but when it comes down to motivation, Fernandes and Gascoyne seem to still hold the moral high ground. That Hingham announced that they would run in black and gold next year as Team Lotus, only for Genii and GL to do the same, does beg questions about the kind of people are behind Renault - or rather, not-Renault...

    Whether there are two Loti in 2011 doesn't much bother me per se, as we had two McLarens in the past (admittedly both from the same stable), and as someone has already mentioned we have two Red Bulls from different stables, and that ignores the Rob Walkers of a bygone age running customer Brabhams, McLarens, Loti, Williams' and so on. What I am far more interested in is not having not-Renault going around putting sugar in Team Lotus' fuel tanks, figuratively speaking (maybe literally speaking too!), out of spite, and that Team Lotus are allowed to compete on as level a track surface that F1 can provide - so we're talking relative, here.

    How it looks to me at the moment is that not-Renault, having missed a trick for a contested throne, then tries to depose those who have made things happen, while claiming the other was in fact the usurper. Shades of Henry IV? Ask yourself - is that the kind of behaviour that's going to make you cheer on new Lotus-Renault, and buy their merchandise in 2011?

    I wonder what Colin Chapman and Ted Toleman would've thought about all this...

  • Comment number 80.

    I find it bizarre that this has been so twisted by the media. Lotus as a manufacturer of cars is entering the sport as well as Team Lotus, and that's great. If you actually read the comments from Renault Lotus, they're very happy to have two Lotus teams on the grid, although they aren't particularly keen on them having basically the same livery.

    "I am fine with having four motor cars out there [with Lotus on them]. That increases the visibility of the brand."

    They very reasonably have explained that whilst they would have liked to support Tony Fernandes, they simply couldn't afford to do so to an extent that would bring success, nor did they wish to wait the several seasons it would take even if done well - see how long it took Red Bull? Their £100 million per year at Renault Lotus will give them a car with a chance of challenging for race wins and championship titles.

    Their comments on the heritage aspect are also interesting, and show a very reasonable outlook. They don't want to trade on past glories, or on Colin Chapman's reputation, so they wouldn't call the team 'Team Lotus' even if they had the rights to the name.

    "On the subject of Team Lotus we have never, and we will never, be Team Lotus. We have never claimed to be Team Lotus. We never want to be Team Lotus. Because that was a successful, historical era of the company when Mr Chapman had it. But it is an era which we should leave it in the past. We are a newcomer, if you want."

    Very interesting Q&A on the Telegraph website about this, from which the above quotes were taken.

  • Comment number 81.

    #67

    To assuage your worries a bit, perhaps, I'd think you should look at all of that as (eventually) marketing/credibility-building for Proton, rather than Lotus, so there's much more justification than there would be if it was just for Lotus. I expect to see technology transfers from Lotus to Proton at some point, to try and turn Proton into a credible brand on a par with Hyundai, say.

  • Comment number 82.

    How are the twice mighty Renault falling....

    This year, allied with Lada; next year, Proton.

    FSO for 2012?

  • Comment number 83.

    So, Team Lotus intend to race in a car which is "green with a dash of yellow", whilst Lotus-Renault go down the cigarette-brand colouring route which could see the car being legally injuncted from racing in the EU for advertising a tobacco brand...

    Team Lotus abandon plans to race in black and gold

  • Comment number 84.

    What a mess...

    I offered Renault the opportunity to dilute their involvement with F1 further by offering a stake to my name, but they declined, as they wanted to keep their name in F1 by shoving as much advertising of their company without actually owning anything.
    Bernie has offered to brand his forehead with the Renault diamond logo for muchos dolares.
    Ferrari, Mercedes and McLaren combined are building the engines for Renault, yet must still have the Renault logo on them....Do Renault actually own or build anything anymore, or is this just the deftest of French global hoodwinking - shove a name on things and just call it your own, because the world will fall for it?...

    As for Lotus - 4 cars are better than none, and to see both green/yellow and black/gold liveries can only be a good thing in this crazy mixed-up topsy turvy sport. Maybe after watching Kubica in his new Lotus with a Renault name on it doing a few laps into the new season I might even start hankering for a ciggie...

  • Comment number 85.

    The Team Lotus vs Lotus Renault battle seems to have brought up a few interesting points on this forum regarding the state of commentary on the BBC TV coverage. I find myself agreeing with the points regarding J. Legard, is he going to be able to cope? How many times this season have we listened to Martin Brundle correcting his fellow commentator on his sometimes very schoolboy-like errors. If my ears didn't deceive me, he seemed to be getting increasingly brusque in his "help" as the season went on. Whilst patient early on I have found myself getting increasingly frustrated with Mr Legard too.

    Any thoughts anyone? Who would we rather listen to, if not Mr Legard?

  • Comment number 86.

    @85, foojamme asked:

    "Who would we rather listen to, if not Mr Legard?"

    As with virtually every sport, the absence of commentary makes it inestimably improved; after all it's called teleVISION for a reason - We The People can see for ourselves what is going on!

    (GOOD audio commentary - as that provided by Five Live - serves those unfortunately unable to see for themselves, but current BBCtv coverage adds nothing.)

  • Comment number 87.

    79. KIF: "as someone has already mentioned we have two Red Bulls from different stables, and that ignores the Rob Walkers of a bygone age running customer Brabhams, McLarens, Loti, Williams' and so on."
    Although I can see where you are coming from, the past era of running a 'customer' chassis with your own team name is slightly different to what is apparently happening with Red Bull/Torro Rosso and the Loti....
    OK, so we know STR is a feeder team to Red Bull proper (as are all the other Red Bull sponsored teams in other formulae), but now STR is supposedly 'officially' owned by someone else and run as a separate team, so how are they allowed to keep a 'Red Bull-esque' livery? Either they are still owned by Red Bull and illegal, or are a separate team with a separate identity, and should have found a new main sponsor by now, surely? Something like 'Martini & Red Bull Ferrari'........
    And the Lotus problem comes from the other angle. As pointed out elsewhere on the blog, as main sponsor, Proton are allowed to advertise 'Lotus Cars' as a brand on the 'non-Renaults', but Team Lotus have Renault engines, so officially we will have 'Lotus-Renault GP' and 'Team Lotus-Renault'. Which is not only difficult for any commentator, but just plain silly.
    Its not as if one of these teams is a 'customer' of the other, even though they will share engines. Somebody in FIA, FOM or FOTA is going to have to enforce a name change on one of them, otherwise it makes a complete nonsense of having 'official' team names at all, though at least they won't both have the same colours now.........

  • Comment number 88.

    As an after thought, do you think it possible that Proton will eventually buy all of the 'non-Renault' team and be able to use Toyota engines, just as in their road cars?
    That at least would make sense, as the team would then be 'Lotus-Toyota' or 'Lotus Cars', and a lot different from Team Lotus-Renault'.......

  • Comment number 89.

    I really respect Tony Fernandes' fighting spirit. He was coming into Formula One with passion and great expectation in this sport not just like Virgin Team and HRT. Since he enters into Formula One, he has giving everything to this sport and injecting everything he have into his Lotus Racing team. He deserve to keep Lotus name which he reinvented the Lotus name from storage room. I do not like big guy bullying small guy.
    I'm wishing all the best to Tony Fernandes's Team Lotus and I'll support Team Lotus and Sauber. I hope both teams will find some success in 2011 Championship.

  • Comment number 90.

    #88. Hi David, I don't think Toyota will re-enter into Formula One race. I think the new regulation is suit to HONDA Engine. I wish HONDA will come back as Engine supplier as Honda had done in the past. Williams should talk with Honda about new regulation Engine 1.6 Ltr Single Turbo with 650HP or 700HP. Toyota has relying on Yamaha for racing Engine development and Honda has it own very rich experience and successful in racing Engine development. Honda will be successful Engine supplier if Honda comes back as Engine supplier.

  • Comment number 91.

    87. At 10:35am on 13 Dec 2010, David wrote: "Although I can see where you are coming from, the past era of running a 'customer' chassis with your own team name is slightly different to what is apparently happening with Red Bull/Torro [sic] Rosso and the Loti..."

    Oh no, I totally agree David that the situation was different then, because a) there was no major sponsorship for much of that period (de Villota I think entered his car under a sponsor's name, but he was one of the last true customer entrants) and b) the rules on who can enter have changed significantly. The point I was making was that the concept of running potentially confusing team names is not a new one... as anyone who's tried to set-up their own records using past results will know!

    Watching, say, Moss at Monaco, from the commentary's reference to Lotus you'd think he was driving for Chapman, not Walker. Historically speaking, the problems facing Legard will be no different than those which faced Raymond Baxter and Murray (except Legard is more likely to witter on about how extraordinary it is while he should be calling the race, or shutting up for once). It's just that we've got used to all-manufacturer entrants - with the odd exception - over the last 30 years or so.

    Commentators, as a rule of thumb, don't name a team's title sponsor, so we don't tend to hear "Here comes Button in the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes"; at best you get the chassis and engine named together, but not the sponsor. Murray would name sponsors from time to time, referring to the John Player Lotus or Marlboro McLaren, but things were rather different then. BBC policy has no doubt stopped that as undue prominence or some such (and it's fags, too), but when Red Bull own the team, that's harder to regulate against, as BAR worked out.

    There is still no restriction as to who can sponsor whom. For years we had multiple Marlboro-backed cars (notably the McLarens & Alfas looking hard to tell apart sometimes), and drivers in non-Marlboro liveried cars still bore their logo on overalls, or a small chevron enclosing the driver's name on the airbox, as they were receiving personal sponsorship from Philip Morris. So theoretically Red Bull could sponsor Mercedes or Ferrari or Kubica or Hamilton or whoever - it's their money, and they can do what the like with it (within reason!).

    If Proton do rename the team using as "Lotus something" in 2012, then that might be more of a problem. I'm not sure that the FIA can tell teams what they can to be called, though, for a variety of legal reasons, providing the team name itself is not illegal.

    So, for myself I see that in 2011 the BBC team will be calling not-Renault "Renault" and Team Lotus as "Lotus" or "Lotus Renault", and not "the Lotus Cars Renault Renault" or "the Malaysia1 Team Lotus Renault". Brundle, being a Norfolk man might have a few torn loyalties, though!

    Personally, I think that Proton may indeed extend their presence at not-Renault; I'm not sure they'd go shopping at Toyota, given the Renault's success. Proton/GL's intentions probably depends on how not-Renault do next year, both financially and on the track. Midland showed that private equity companies are not necessarily the best owners, with Genii suddenly realising mid-season that F1 costs more than they'd bargained for, and having to go to Bernie for an advance on their pocket money. So Genii are probably open to an approach to buy all the time. A Proton buy-out may also depend on how the public react to how not-Renault have gone about entering F1 with Lotus Cars, because if Enstone loses the war for the hearts and minds of the fans, then Proton may be less inclined to do so, or may continue to buy into F1 but without the contentious 'Lotus' name. So far as I can tell, this 'war' for public sympathy is being won by Team Lotus following not-Renault's decision to hijack the idea of running in black and gold, obliging Hignham to revert to BRG and yellow. Proton HQ might start to question whether they would want to buy a team the public despise or simply don't trust.

    Sorry - this was a fuller answer than I intended!

  • Comment number 92.

    A quick addendum. While I was composing 91/, 89/ was posted up by fastlane66, which rather illustrates my closing observation.

  • Comment number 93.

    I see you have been watching F1 for longer than I have, as I had never realised that the McLarens and Alfas were in Marlboro livery at the same time, but I do know what you mean about Philip Morris sponsoring individual drivers (and also begs the question about the lack of imagination on Ferrari's part using the logo, but thats another thread...).
    Also, I do agree that as a sponsor, Red Bull can do whatever it likes with the cars (and again, the logo appears everywhere now, cars, boats, planes, etc) but its surprising they would allow a team they sponsor to appear so similar to the team they own, if only for publicity purposes, or are they happy with 'there goes Buemi, he drives a Red Bull.......' scenario?
    Yes, I can see the commentators sticking with 'Renault' and 'Lotus' in the race, but with both cars effectively having 'Lotus-Renault' on the sides, its going to be very complicated if they are battling!
    As I said in an earlier comment, I thought the 'official' team names (sponsors and all) were owned by Bernie/CVC/FOM, as F1 rights holder, and that would effectively stop confusing and duplicate names appearing (and why I thought STR is Torro Rosso and not Red Bull Junior), but if it really is a free-for-all, we have been really lucky up till now (under the current administration) that there haven't been any previous complications, although I can see it will happen to some extent if you have a mixture of Works and Customer teams (just look at Touring Cars or Rallying).
    My main point was really that the people who we assume are in charge and are there to keep everything straightforward and obvious for commentators and fans alike, either don't care or actually prefer it as complicated as possible........
    Oh, and I enjoy your long answers too!

  • Comment number 94.

    93. At 2:16pm on 13 Dec 2010, David wrote: "As I said in an earlier comment, I thought the 'official' team names (sponsors and all) were owned by Bernie/CVC/FOM, as F1 rights holder, and that would effectively stop confusing and duplicate names appearing (and why I thought STR is Torro Rosso and not Red Bull Junior)"

    Hi again, David. I was about to log-off. Thanks for you patience in reading my ramblings! Sadly, I've been following F1 for a loooong time!

    I believe (but am open to correction) that the hold Bernie has over team names is specifically related to the marketing of F1 (esp. video games) so that deals can be done collectively, but not over the entry name lodged with the FIA, which is a separate body even if the two are intimately linked. That would be the tail wagging the dog - but it wouldn't be the first time! It probably made sense for STR to be called Scuderia (originally to be called Squadra) Toro Rosso to a/ differentiate itself from RBR (as you noted), and b/ to highlight a continuity of its Italian roots as Minardi. Red Bull Junior had also been a name used in F3000 by Marko, which might be another reason not to have used it in F1.

    I'm sure that there may be behind the scenes influence, as Bernie is famous for it. But ultimately, the word is "influence". Of course it doesn't make sense for a corporation to have its brand confused, and BE will no doubt tell that to both sides, but in this case Lotus Cars get double bubble by leaving Hingham alone, so their public spin on recent events that they want to protect the brand doesn't entirely hold sump oil. Lotus was easily the best of the new teams, was extending the name elsewhere (including Indy), and getting geared up for a better 2011 with Red Bull and Renault proper before Group Lotus send in the heavy mob. TL had stuff in place, but GL chose to ignore that.

    As the letter writer in this week's Autosport put it (but not in these words), why have Proton/GL gone for not-Renault when it made more sense to pump up Team Lotus? True, while not-Renault at present are the better team, history shows that the past is not always a great predictor of the future in F1 (ask Frank Williams), and with the rule changes for 2011 anything can happen. Investing in Team Lotus would probably have been cheaper, too, and even by buying into not-Renault instead, having two Loti would make an ideal hedge for the brand if Enstone have a poor one. It also avoids alienating fans, and they get the 'plucky underdog' kudos that Jordan and Minardi used to enjoy. It seems to me that GL just want to sink Team Lotus' boat just to prove they can.

    Finally, as a departure, see if you can did up some colour picks of the 1980s Alfas before they got Benetton sponsorship, and you'll see what I mean about the Marlboro liveries. Side by side, you can see the difference from a McLaren (Alfas have more red), but under race conditions it wasn't as easy to tell the two apart. Hopefully you've been watching our host Mr. Benson's efforts on the Classic F1 Red Button service (unless you only have Freeview), where some of the older races have both the Marlboro Alfa Romeos and Marlboro McLarens featured. In Detroit ('82, off the top of my head) there was Giacomelli (AR) being chased by Lauda and Watson (both McL). Here you can see the differences fairly well, and the body shapes are different too. But as noted, in the pack it was a lot harder, and it's quite possible people watch these races thinking that because the cars look virtually identical, they are all part of the same team. Even today, in lower formulae like F3, you can have cars with the same paint job, but beyond sponsorship be completely unconnected.
    (From Kif's forthcoming book "1001 reasons why Motorsport so so much more interesting than Football". Introduction by Anthony Davidson.)

  • Comment number 95.

    I suppose that will be the big question for 2011, as to why Proton/GL decided to help not-Renault as opposed to TL.....
    However, thinking about it, although 'real' Renault has pulled out of F1 to be an engine supplier, its surprising it didn't convince its partners in Nissan and Lada to give some support to the racing team and maybe provide links to Japanese and Russian sponsors. There are plenty of Nissan-Renaults and Renault-Nissans on the roads and race tracks of the world, and soon there will be Lada-Renaults and Lada-Nissans too (as well as Dacias!), so once again we have seen a major global corporation (thinking of Toyota and Honda) miss a publicity trick right under its nose (I think both Toyota and Honda should have stayed as engine suppliers.....)
    The way that Proton/GL have barged into the sport does have echoes of Mercedes and Brawn too, and I wonder if they are prepared to pay for the fall that might come (as you say, just look at Frank Williams), whereas TL can only improve from where it is, but I think GL will be throwing its money around and gaining that 'influence', as you say.
    I will try to see those races with Alfas and McLarens, as I am a big Alfa fan too......

  • Comment number 96.

    95. At 5:13pm on 13 Dec 2010, David wrote: "its surprising it didn't convince its partners in Nissan and Lada to give some support to the racing team and maybe provide links to Japanese and Russian sponsors."

    Good point. Since Nissan is owned by real Renault, there may be some internal accounting that precluded the Japanese brand's involvement while the Regie were still in charge at Enstone. Of course the Regie had the better F1 pedigree anyway, but Nissan did have its share of success in Le Mans and touring cars before going broke, so it's not exactly a sporting matter. A lot of Nissan's larger road cars like the Primera got culled in recent years so as not to compete with Renault cars, leaving the small ones and the urban cruisers as its main sellers, so maybe it was also a question of market focus to which F1 isn't appropriate. But now the Regie is out except as an engine supplier, I guess it wouldn't make sense to let its Nissan subsidiary join in if the reason for the pull out was for the group as a whole to save money.

    Lada has some rallying history, and there is (or was) the domestic F.Lada series, but that's all I can think of, so again there might not be much synergy. Subaru tried F1, but it didn't really work, so it's not always a good idea to take the F1 route. Also, for 2011 Proton won't want too much competition in the bargain basement car market, for while Lotus Cars will be the focus in terms of F1 promotion, Proton can't ignore the effect on its other brands if Lada is getting promoted too.

    Petrov didn't bring that much sponsorship with him, either, compared to what was expected, so maybe Russia's interest in F1 isn't quite where one might think, and the country is still more interested in soccer. Marussia has bought into Virgin, but that came after Bernie said Russia would finally get a GP, and it gives them the title name, no doubt at a cheaper price than Genii would've asked for at not-Renault.

    Of course, a lot of this is just conjecture, since we're not privy to all the facts.

    David added: "The way that Proton/GL have barged into the sport does have echoes of Mercedes and Brawn too, and I wonder if they are prepared to pay for the fall that might come... whereas TL can only improve from where it is"

    I'm not sure that Mercedes "barged" into the sport in quite the same way as GL/Proton, and it might be said that compared to not-Renault Merc behaved with much more honour. Brawn GP (it transpired later) was on its uppers despite the Honda residuals, Mercedes provided engines after Honda fled (Bernie had a hand in that, I think), and when the partnership with McLaren dissolved Mercedes continued to support Woking's engine programme too, not knee them in the nodules. Mercedes might be considered a bit ruthless in ditching Sauber, who had brought them back to F1 in the first place, but Merc didn't later try to handicap another team once they had switched focus.

    Nevertheless, as you say Team Lotus can only really move up with their 2011 package... put it this way, I can't see Hingham going backwards, if allowed to get on with it, and not have to fend off GL's lawyers, who are queueing up on the A11 waiting to issue subpoenas. Whereas, with all the sabre-rattling, GL are kind of making a rod for their own back... if the team does go backwards with Kubica in the car, they are going to look pretty stupid. TL might still not be able to compete with not-Renault regularly in 2011, but the media will no doubt be looking at comparative performance, so (assuming 2010 performance is otherwise repeated) if not-Renault are fighting off Sauber and Williams, while Team Lotus are fighting STR and maybe Force India, by comparison TL will be seen as having been the more successful.

    As to whether not-Renault are prepared for such a fall, as you ponder, David, I have detected in the last couple of days a softening of GL's tone about having two Loti around, so maybe there is some comprehension there that they have made rather a botch of things. Perhaps they have noticed that while there are two Rolls Royces - one makes cars, the other makes 'plane engines - they don't feel the need to go around suing each other.

    The acid test for me is whether GL can resist the temptation to raise a court challenge of David Hunt's purchase of the Team Lotus brand, and its subsequent use at Pacific GP, when the original team closed.

    I hope they can, but fear they won't.

    Have fun with the archive footage.

  • Comment number 97.

    Great Feature Andrew
    As a F1 fan i was very pleased to see Lotus return to racing in 2010, as it now seems that that return was not quite what it seemed !
    Would you please explain to me why the team did not use the original lotus logo but replaced it with something different !
    I have also noticed that the other French lotus team are using the original logo ( large version ) on the nose cone of the car

  • Comment number 98.

    97. At 6:52pm on 13 Dec 2010, PAUL wrote:

    "Great Feature Andrew... Would you please explain to me why the team did not use the original lotus logo but replaced it with something different !"

    AB might be able to put more detail on here, but my own understanding is this:

    Both Team Lotus and Lotus Cars had the same logo as a result of their original creation and ownership under Colin Chapman (whose initials are the basis for the Lotus logo) as they were one and the same. When Team Lotus and Lotus Cars were divorced during Chapman's lifetime (he was still head of both after the split), the logos were left unchanged. When Team Lotus closed, the rights to the name and logo were bought by David Hunt, and for a year was used on the Keith Wiggins Pacific GP cars until Pacific also closed that season. Meantime, Lotus Cars is still making road cars.

    Fast forward to modern times, and Lotus Cars, after changing hands over the years, can still use the original logo because Proton got all the rights as part of the purchase. Later, Lotus F1 starts up in Hingham, but while it received the support of the Chapman family, it does not have the right to use the Team Lotus name (which still owned by Hunt), and therefore can't have the logo. So instead it gets permission from Lotus Cars to use the Lotus name, and creates its own logo.

    Fernandez et al were probably hoping for more backing from Malaysia (since both sides have the country in common), but instead Lotus Cars puts the squeeze on Lotus F1 about Hingham's continued use of the Lotus name - its motives for doing this are in question. Therefore, Hingham is then obliged to buy the dormant Team Lotus company from Hunt, with all the concomitant rights that go with it, in order to continue using the Lotus name; an expense it probably could do without.

    So, not-Renault can now use the logo because their sponsor Proton inherited it through Lotus Cars, and now Hingham can use it in 2011 because they will have inherited it through Team Lotus, and is entered with the FIA for the 2011 season under that name. Ergo, two genuine Loti, one logo. In fact the only 'fake' thing about it is the use of the Renault name, now the Regie has no part of the team other than providing engines.

    This issue is rather at the heart of the whole problem.

  • Comment number 99.

    Fernades and Team Lotus all the way!
    They encapsulate what TL was always about & have the Chapman family's blessing.

    Group Lotus are just jealous & throwing their toys out of the pram by starting a turf war - devisive to F1, GL, TL and Proton!

    As for identifying the teams, the change back to green will help for TL & name-wise it is simple. TL are a team/manufacturer by name therefore the car is a Lotus (powered by Reanault), which means Lotus Renault. GL have sponsored Renault, who have not changed name to anything else despite a withdrawl and no longer owning anything of Renault F1; their name cannot be changed without agreement of all the teams (TL would rightly object) and therefore they remain Renault. Despite a sponsorship deal to refer to them officially on signs, press releases etc, the teams are referred to in short-hand as the manufacturer - Renault! You don't hear of the Vodafone Mclarens or AT&T Williams on track - just Mclaren & Williams.

    This point might dissapoint the new majority shareholders of Virgin Racing - Marussia... No doubt that'll change in 2012!

  • Comment number 100.

    I think somehow Lotus shouldn't have been allowed to join forces with Renault and enter F1. I know they are the true Lotus Group but at the end of the day Tony Fernandez was in F1 first and has had the blessing of the Chapman family...although had Lotus Group been first they probably would've backed them also. I feel sorry for Team Lotus now as they're basically racing under a brand name that wants nothing to do with them...don't expect to see Heikki or Jarno in any Elises off track. It's all a bit of a mess really and I hate the way teams in F1 just change their owners/identities so will nilly! I know it's been going on for years as let's face it, what is now Mercedes was actually once Tyrell/BAR/Honda/Brawn and what is now Lotus Renault was once Toleman/Benetton/Renault(and Lada!?!) but it loses the integrity and identity of F1 when a company can just buy a team and stick some new graphics on and hey presto! The only original teams in F1 now that haven't changed hands are Williams, Ferrari and McLaren and hopefully they'll be around forever. I guess it's down to the economic climate that teams come in, realise the cost of the whole thing then sell it on again but it's rather annoying and yet more evidence to suggest F1 is definitely more about the commercial business side than the actual racing. I don't like the idea of these new V4 Turbo engines either! I'm all for money saving though...then maybe we can entice some new manufacturers...from scratch though of course! My dream would be to have the likes of Alfa Romeo, Bugatti, Lancia, Maserati and Porsche battling it out on track rather than teams like Red Bull. In the future I wouldn't be surprised to see the likes of Kellogs GP and the Pepsi F1 Team!

 

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