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My confusion over Lotus and F1


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OK, so this is where I'm confused:

1. Lotus has a successful history in F1 and is part of the heritage.

2. Lotus have a big money backer in Proton.

3. Lotus has the expertise to compete and succeed in F1.

4. A Proton/Lotus branded car would raise the profile of both marques.

5. I fookin want it!!!

So.....why?

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It's only in the last few years that Lotus has been profitable, mainly due to the new direction they have (thanks to MJK), but also partially due to the massive amount of money they were borrowing (dating back from years ago) meant any profit was eaten up and turned into a loss once the cost of the loans were taken into account.

Proton recently wrote off that money, that in itself is a lot of money pumped into the business.

For Proton to go and pump enough into Lotus to allow it to compete in F1 they'd have to simply write that money off as well (Lotus don't have the volume of car sales to make F1 success driven increases in road cars fund the F1 cost).

Then factor in the need to sort out road car production and sales, which has to be self sustaining before they have enough stability to venture into anything else.

I'd say F1 is one of their last targets, it would be prestigious, but also so costly it could pull the company down in a very short space of time.

Andy

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Proton's been a good "sugar daddy" for Lotus, not exactly been the healthiest of late having entertained buy-ins by both VW and GM in the past year. They're slowly doing better with expansion to India and China like everyone else. I'm not sure how keen they are to get involved in high end motor racing having squandered quite a bit sponsoring a MotoGP team in past years. (Especially as Proton is owned 59 percent by the Malaysian government making Lotus tied in not only Proton's health but that of Malaysia as well as governmental influence on the company :wub:) Lotus may have had a better chance to get their name out there with their cooperative agreement with Spyker, but how to get high profile billing when it's someone else's car, engine, and sponsorship even if you do do some development work. Besides, Spyker sold out to Force India so that door's closed. Still, perhaps some consultancy with some also ran teams could raise team cred (Force India-Lotus?) and get Lotus' name out there again. Force India's certainly flushed with big beverage and dotcom cash. I'd just like to see a Lotus challenging again at Le Mans, maybe there's hope for a forced induction Evora in the GT classes...:baby:

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Funny to think that Malaysian taxpayers have been proping up Lotus. The UK Government wouldn't dream of helping Lotus, let all any other UK car manufacturer. If it got into trouble they'd prefer to let it go bust (like they did with Rover).

If you ask me, I'd way prefer to have my taxes spent on helping our car industry, over some stupid Olympic games that will last 2 weeks.

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The way I see it there are only what Lotus would return to F1.

1. We snap up a team the way out ... whether it's some sort of planned exit, or financially troubled. We then use what remnants there are from the team as a platform, and just hope that some of our boffins can make a difference as we throw ourselves to the lions.

2. We get involved little, by little. Lotus Engineering would design or 'aid' a design, maintaining some sort of proprietary rights to the designs ... and simply hold off until we have enough design parts to build an F1 car ... then throw ourselves to the lions.

Personally I would much rather see Lotus out winning GT car racing ... maybe time for a Lotus-[mundane brand] cross-over again and get our name out into saloon cars and rally again.

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Firstly, Group Lotus and Lotus Racing were always seperate companies and were never linked as companies. Group Lotus didn't get any profits from Lotus F1 and visa versa. The link was the name (which was used for promotional literature) and some sponsorship from Group Lotus in using the name and that the Chairman of both companies was the same person, one ACBC. Once he found some people he trusted, in MJK, Fred Bushell and Roger Putnam, he handed the reins of Group Lotus over, alot, to concentrate more on his loves, F1 and Boats.

So to reiterate. Lotus Cars never ever raced in F1.

There are plans to race the Evora in GT racing. I hope and there is a rumour that if they can find the right partner, there may even be some ALMs racing on the cards in the future. But these are only plans to begin with.

Personally I think a 2-11 race series would be great competition if it supports something like BTCC or F3.

Lastly, many comments are correct. Though MJK has spoken to several people and was seen at the last F1 Manufacturers conference, F1 direct involvement is just too much money for a company struggling to find funding for it's next 2 road car projects. Recovery of Evora funds may be 5-10 years at least, maybe with a 15 year life cycle to ferment those profit levels.

Look at Spyker, they didn't last long now did they? and they had alot of backing.

But, lets not forget the huge strides the company has made in the last 3 years, the future still looks bright!

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I would say that F1 is the last thing that Lotus needs right now. In the 60's and 70's when you could use brains to overcome a lack of money Lotus did well but now, with an engine freeze, using the same transmission for several races, talk of limited use of wind tunnels and CFD and generally tightening up the rules to try to prevent any "revolutionary" ideas coming in thos days are gone. Now you need several hundred million dollars a year and to use it wisely to be in the top half of the field let alone win.

Something with a closer link to the cars they are selling such as GT racing would be better particularly if it emphasized the car's reliability to try to shake off the Lots of Trouble, Usually Serious stigma.

S4 Elan, Elan +2S, Federal-spec, World Championship Edition S2 Esprit #42, S1 Elise, Excel SE

 

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"No, No, No" to it all.

Lotus needs to use the adaptability to the VVA chassis to fit a pushrod, carbureted V8 in the FRONT and an Evora shell on it and go NASCAR! ("rubbin's racin'!)

THAT'd be revolutionary.:wub:

Right.

:D

:baby:

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oh yes that would be great seeing a lotus mixed in with an organization that got its start bootlegging liquor

now i have no problem watching ford chevy and dodge destroy each other i mean where else are you going to see an 18 car pile up and not be in the thing, but if you put a lotus in there just how long do you expect it to last with a fiberglass body against steel it would be reduced to pure go kart status with in 20 laps

i think somebody needs to visit you tonight :baby:

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I was wondering about links with Toyota and the racing to be honest.

It may be that with Toyota supplying the engines for Lotus if they go with the cap on the budgets for the teams and also allowing smaller teams to use existing chassis then an even closer link with toyota might eventually become a possibilty. First though you would have to get the name from Mr Hunt and a shed load of sponsorship money!!

It is something that would be nice to see along with some of the classic names like brabham and cooper being back but of course it may only live on in history.

Cheers

Alan Croft

2000 V8 GT

87 Turbo Esprit HC

2000 Elise Sport 160

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Hi,

I like a lot on here would love to see Team Lotus back in F1, but it's just not going to happen, perhaps if the likes of the Google owners, or Philip Green, Microsoft owners who have serious spare money were to invest then it's possible, but you have to love the sport to inject that sort of cash, and most of these people are business people so would treat it like that, not a passion like Chapman.

And it's right what Tony said Lotus cars and Team Lotus were always separate businesses. The problem with F1 and a lot of motor sports is it's so bloody expensive to get in and be successful, and it's only teams with serious cash that keep at the top. As mentioned earlier it's a pity this government didn't support F1 teams like Italy supports Ferrari, this is the problem, the people with the finger on the button don't seem to have any national pride and would rather see everything go to the wall.

They can find 50 billion to support a bank, which lets face it should have been looking after it's own house more carefully, but they can't save our once great car industry, and are more than willing to see it all killed off with excessive taxes, business rates and legislation. We build and design nearly every F1 car, Indy cars but who owns them all, foreign companies, we just have to grateful that they do still have faith in our workers.

Owen

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Hate to be a pedant but all the Indy cars are designed and built in Italy by Dallara. But I agree with your sentiment. It's a British trait to knock someone or something that's successful aaand to support mediocrity.

S4 Elan, Elan +2S, Federal-spec, World Championship Edition S2 Esprit #42, S1 Elise, Excel SE

 

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Lotus in MotoGP then......c'mon, throw me a frikkin bone!!!!

I'm a Lotus fan, I want to see Lotus compete at the top level so I can support them.

Anyone mentions Lotus Tiddlywinks and the toys are coming out of the pram.......good style.

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Not tiddlywinks, but there are lots of Lotus jigsaws about.

Buddsy bought one. Cost a few thousand pounds to buy one though.

More seriously, I know what you mean, but there's unlikely to be a Lotus racing team in the upper echelons of the sport due to massive costs, you'll have to settle for people racing Elise or 2elevens as their private cars.

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I'm not kidding.....If I hear one more person comment about Lotus' being built by farmers in a shed in Norfolk, I'll be doing a stint in the nick with Big Ron for murder.

Land speed record, landing a man on Mars, Hoverboards.........I don't give a monkeys, can we not do something which will make the world sit up and realise we're at the cutting edge?

Client of mine introduced me to his boss last week, told him I had a Lotus........"oh yes....Lots of Trouble U"..........."finish that sentence and I'll strangle you with your neck tie" I said.......half joking, half serious.

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......As mentioned earlier it's a pity this government didn't support F1 teams like Italy supports Ferrari, this is the problem,

I think it's the opposite....it's the Ferrari that support Italy....

The real fact is that Ferrari sell their cars at twice the real valour....just for the name, and it's the same for the sponsors.

Make little calculation about the numbers of cars selled in the world and you have the final response for the financial chance to run in the F1 Championship for Maranello, and remember the FIAT also...

Cheers

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Come on mate, having lived in Italy and worked in the Italian Motor Industry it's well known that the Govt constantly drip feeds FIAT money and this inevitably funds so many new cars etc. Yes Ferrari are profitable but their cash flow must be horrendous due to the Billions of Euro's pumped into development. It doesn't seem like a year goes by without another new model.

It's well known in the industry that Fiat would have gone bust 20 years ago without support. They just make huge losses, as do many of their subsidiary companies, Iveco being the prime example.

It's also recognised that Italy is one of the most expensive places to Build cars in the world due to it's arcane employment laws. WHen MJK was President at Lambo he had 200 men surplus to requirements. So tried downsizing until he was told that he couldn't lay them off...even if it pushed the company into recievership.

So they came into work, clocked on and promptly sat at a table playing cars all day. 200 of them!!

MJK's response? Get them to paint, wash and generally do anything around the factory to spruce it up.....except they would rather sit around all day, so the Union called a strike until he stopped making them work.....and he still couldn't sack them after 2 years. His answer to this was to threaten them with pay cuts to reduce overheads unless they worked. Eventually (and after alot of death threats) they agreed and the company started to prosper again.

Long story but even after that the old man had a permanent armed bodyguard and he did full security checks under the cars and in the engine compartments every day! Just for trying to save the company and keep it Italian....unfortunately it's now German and the last Italian Director has been moved on all of it's board is German. Shame.

Possibly save your life. Check out this website.
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http://www.autoblog.com/2008/07/03/monteze...funded-by-fiat/

Hi Kimbers,

the Fiat it another story....and sadly the Lambo also.

The topic was on the F1 Lotus team and my answer was in this sense strictly related to the Ferrari F1 team.

The Ferrari never get 1 Cent from Governament because they never need it.

Just to be clear, the Fiat case it's totally out of question in any sense.

Ciao

Edited by ghe67
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The badge on the front of Kimi and Massa's car says Fiat. I'm fairly sure Ferrari don't put it there for a little Italian humour.

Someone once told me that even the Vatican owns one or two shares in Fiat. They're on a Mission from God.

Back on topic.....in all seriousnes, what could Lotus offer the world of F1 these days? Are there any engineers left that have relevant up to date experience of a modern day F1 car? Is there a design or even manufacturing facility left that would offer competitive products? What about a wind tunnel?

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To be successful today a F1 team needs more aerodynamasits and wind tunnels than Boeing I can't see the relevance to the auto industry or me the road user. Any way I have no desire to see the name Lotus tooling around with Turo Roso, Force India. I'd rather just keep the memory.

Roger

Life is like a sewer, what you get out of it, depends on what you put into it. (Tom Leahrer)

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I'm also not enthusiastic about Lotus creating a new F1 team. Towards the end, Team Lotus was a shadow of itself, and the shadow has dissipated into history. About the only connection a new effort would have to the original team would be the name.

BTW, I STILL don't forgive Eddie Irvine for his shunt at Monza...

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I read a while ago that Ferrari make a fortune from sales of Ferrari merchandising, way more than they make from car sales and it more than pays for the F1 team. Lotus are in no way able to use the same way of generating cash. I would think (I'm too lazy to check) that Ferrari sell more cars per year than do Lotus with a higher margin per unit.

S4 Elan, Elan +2S, Federal-spec, World Championship Edition S2 Esprit #42, S1 Elise, Excel SE

 

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Lotus did design and build the world famous all carbon bycycle used by Chris Boardman to set the world time trial record (Which still stands I believe). Since money is an issue in setting up a F1 team, perhaps they could enter a team in the Tour de France? :beer:

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That bike (Type 108) is in the reception at Lotus, it's very cool :beer:

88 Esprit NA, 89 Esprit Turbo SE, Evora, Evora S, Evora IPS, Evora S IPS, Evora S IPS SR, Evora 400, Elise S1, Elise S1 111s, Evora GT410 Sport

Evora NA

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