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Team Lotus, next year, BBC Sport has learned.


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Lotus revive original team name for 2011 season


Lotus are yet to pick up a point in this year's championship

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The Lotus Formula 1 outfit will take on their historic name, Team Lotus, next year, BBC Sport has learned.

Team principal Tony Fernandes has bought the naming and heritage rights to Team Lotus and will enter and race the cars under that name in 2011.

Team Lotus were a leading force in F1 in the 1960s and 1970s and are one of the most successful teams in history.

They fell out of F1 in 1994 with financial problems but Lotus re-entered F1 this year under Malaysian ownership.

Fernandes has been keen to stress the links between his new team and the historic Lotus, which was founded by Colin Chapman and won a series of six drivers' titles and seven constructors' championships through the 1960s and '70s.

The rights to the Team Lotus name were bought by businessman David Hunt - brother of 1976 F1 world champion James Hunt - following the outfit's collapse in 1994.

Fernandes, 46, has now bought the rights from Hunt and will enter his team, backed by a consortium of Malaysian businessmen, under that name next year.

"The whole ownership structures of Lotus are very complicated, but we've unravelled them," Fernandes told BBC Sport.

"We want to own our own future and not license it from someone else. The future of Lotus Racing and Team Lotus is very secure and it is now in our hands."

The cars will sport the famous Team Lotus badge, bearing Chapman's initials, ACBC (for Anthony Colin Bruce Chapman).

The heritage rights include ownership of all the historic Lotus F1 cars. These are currently licensed to Chapman's son Colin, who has been supportive of Lotus's new iteration.

There are no direct links between the Lotus F1 team and the Lotus Cars company, which is owned by Malaysian company Proton.

About Time


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"Fernandes, 46, has now bought the rights from Hunt and will enter his team, backed by a consortium of Malaysian businessmen, under that name next year."

"There are no direct links between the Lotus F1 team and the Lotus Cars company, which is owned by Malaysian company Proton."

And, of course, these guys are completely ignorant of each other's existence. Right?:whistle:

Anyone see a trend here?

Being second is to be the first of the ones who lose.

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  • 2 weeks later...


It's not all fun and games it seems...

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

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At some point in the future Proton will have to get Dany Bahar and Tony Fernandes and a bunch of overpaid lawyers in the same meeting room to solve this thing! Make sure there's mo backdoor so that they are stuck in it until the comes to acceptable terms for all parties involved.

Lotus Cars needs the link to be clear and direct Team Lotus should oblige if the conditions are right! Fernandes was open to it last year and he should still be open to it today! It would be rational for Group Lotus to enter in the capital of 'Team Lotus Racing'! I'm led to think that at the moment Bahar would rather not spend the money on it but it just has to be! Group Lotus should ask Proton to organize it! A Renault type deal in which Group Lotus wouldn't need to funnel too much money to the team appears like a great solution!

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So the new Team Lotus, have what in common with Lotus cars..?

That is a moot question until it happens, no one will know until then...

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

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This is what reporter Joe Saward has to say about the situation on his blog.

"We are hearing that the Lotus-ART announcement last night is not merely about GP2 and GP3 and seems to be a precursor to a battle over the rights to use the Lotus name in Formula 1. From what we are hearing, Group Lotus, which is owned by the Malaysian government-controlled Proton car company, has embarked on three legal actions to stop Tony Fernandes from using the Lotus name next year. The Group applied for various trademarks relating to Lotus Racing earlier this year. The group is also believed to have withdrawn permission to allow Fernandes to use the Lotus name and is claiming that David Hunt, the owner of Team Lotus Ventures Ltd, had no right to sell the rights and logos to the Team Lotus name. The apparent aim of all this is to grab the Lotus name and to enter F1 with a Lotus-branded team, run by ART.

"The bad news is that all of this is not on very solid legal ground. The Lotus company dates back to 1952 when Colin Chapman established the first Lotus company, called Lotus Engineering. Team Lotus, which ran cars in competition, became a separate entity two years later, while Lotus Engineering developed into Group Lotus in 1958, when the company began to build production road cars.

"After Colin Chapman’s death in 1982 the Lotus companies were re-organized and Group Lotus was re-financed with capital from British Car Auctions, Toyota and various other parties. In January 1986 General Motors bought out most of the Group shareholders and, by the end of the year, had acquired a 91% stake in the road car business. This firm would later be sold on to Italian businessman Romano Artioli before Perusahaan Otomobil Nasional Bhd (Proton) bought control in 1996.

"While all this was going on Team Lotus was a separate entity, controlled by the Chapman Family. In 1975 the racing operations were transferred to a firm called Team Lotus International Ltd and a trademark application was made in 1988 for a “Team Lotus”, including the celebrated CABC logo. At the end of 1990 two former Lotus employees, Peter Wright and Peter Collins, took control of the F1 team, with a company called Team Lotus Limited, with the rights to the name and logo being assigned to this new organisation. Four years later this latter operation went into administration and a firm called Paintglossy Limited (later renamed Team Lotus Ventures Limited) bought the rights to the name and logo from the administrator. The “Team Lotus” trademark process was completed in January 1995, specifically in relation to Formula 1 racing.

"Group Lotus challenged this decision in the courts in 1998 – after the Proton takeover – and lost. Thus Group Lotus has no real legal claim on Team Lotus, based on the decisions made up to now. There is no reason to suppose that a new legal action will be any more successful than previous ones. It seems that Tony Fernandes has now acquired the rights and logos from Team Lotus Ventures Ltd and so, in theory, has the right to call his organisation Team Lotus. The Chapman Family seems to be in agreement with this situation – which is a point of some importance.

"Fernandes is very well-connected in Malaysia. For the last nine years he has run Air Asia, which was established in 1993 by the Malaysian government’s DRB-Hicom. This fell quickly into debt and in 2001 the then Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad sold it to Fernandes for one ringgit. He then pulled off an amazing revival.

"Proton is a loss-making state-owned automobile company. Its ownership of Lotus has made little difference. The Proton board decided in September 2009 to hire Dany Bahar as the firm’s new chief executive. He was employed at Ferrari at the time and brought in a number of Ferrari people as he set about revamping the firm, trying to turn it into a Malaysian version of Ferrari (albeit based in England). All of this probably explains why there have been conflicting reports in recent days regarding the Lotus engine supply next year. Team Lotus is believed to have a deal with Renault, but Group Lotus and ART seem to be keen to use the old Toyota F1 base and equipment. The price tag on this is about $30 million a year and the deal is for two years. Toyota provides Lotus with road car engines and so Bahar is obviously trying to stitch together the various elements of the deal to Ferrari-fy Lotus. There is currently no F1 entry for Lotus ART, which will require further investment.

"The bottom line of all this is that there is probably going to be a power struggle in Malaysia to see whether Proton’s masters support Bahar or Fernandes. It is a case of my politician is stronger than your politician. Bahar is guy with ideas, but Fernandes has had solid and impressive results in the past and he seems to hold most of the cards with regard to the Team Lotus name. He also has an F1 entry, which is more than can be said for Bahar (at least as far as we know)."

I think his headline, "An F1 developing in Malaysia" sums it up well.

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Singapore, 24th September 2010

Lotus Racing has today confirmed that the team will be known as Team Lotus from 2011. The migration from Lotus Racing to Team Lotus will take place over the coming months and the renamed team will be the direct successor to the iconic previous incarnation of Team Lotus when they take to the track in the 2011 FIA Formula One™ World Championship and beyond. Tony Fernandes and Kamarudin Meranun’s Tune Group has acquired Team Lotus Ventures Ltd, the company led by David Hunt since Team Lotus was last on track, and through that agreement now has full ownership of the historic rights and goodwill of the Team Lotus brand and heritage.

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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

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"We have enjoyed a successful first year as Lotus Racing, and our thanks go to Proton, Group Lotus and all our partners for the parts they have played in our year as Lotus Racing."

Did I miss something here? Pages and pages of reports of a battle royal between Group Lotus (Oh Dany boy......") and Lotus Racing Team Lotus, yet Tony implies that there was cooperation all along. Is he just being diplomatic, or was there (is there?) a greater connection (past? present? now dead in the water?) between the two than we had been led to believe? If so, how has this whole affair gone so sour? Would it not be infinitely more productive for all concerned to patch things up and mount a mutual effort for 2011. With their combined forces acting in cooperative concert there would be a synergy of exponential magnitude.

Being second is to be the first of the ones who lose.

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There is an interesting Q&A on which seems to hint to some of what might have gone on. Ferandes notes that Group Lotus had licensed the name to the F1 team, but now that he has purchased the Team Lotus brand then they don't need that license anymore.

We know that Group Lotus are happy to enter into partnerships with established race teams to get the brand into racing. These relationships seem to be a mixture of financial sponsorship and 'in-kind'. It strikes me that the F1 team asked too high a price for sponsorship and given the purchase of the brand name probably felt that they had the upper hand.

Trade names are for a certain class of activity and I guess where the complications will arise are where the names are used outside of their tight definitions. What probably was envisaged when the naming rights effectively were constructed will be very different now and it is in the fringes where complications will arise. I can only imagine that the folks going to be making the most out of this are the lawyers.

I've tried to think of a similar situation but haven't found one. The closest that I can think of is the purchase of the Rolls-Royce name by BMW when VW purchased Bentley. It will be a personal decision whether you think buying a brand name which hasn't been used for years buys the heritage.

As for Group Lotus not being involved in F1, for me it won't matter on my purchasing decisions in the future. I tend to have more sympathy with Porsche's approach to motorsport sponsorship where there seems to be a closer link between a Porsche Cup car and a GT3 RS than a Ferrari F1 car and a big, bloated luxury car with overcomplicated electronics.

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And the fighting begins time to call the lawyers!


I'm afraid nobody is going to like this!

the 'Question' is what did trigger such a change in the relation between 1Malaysia Racing ltd and Lotus Group!?

I know the Force India affair had an impact but they were only third party in this lawsuit! And I personaly don'tthink it did anything to damage the Lotus brand! I know that Proton knew that they did not have the rights on the 'Team Lotus' branding which has always been a several entity and was not part of the deal they made with Artioli for the sale of group.

Lotus New management is keen to get into F1 fine work together now they are damaging the brand! Whatever you do must be kept behind closed doors!

Edited by NedaSay
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Interestingly they commented on Renault and the fact that the F1 team is wholly owned by and equity management company and nothing to do with the car company anymore, except for the publicity they get.

Sounds like a similar situation to Lotus ? :detective:

Dave - 2000 Sport 350
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Hasn't this whole 'Lotus Racing' thing been an issue from day one?. Just call it Team F1 Malaysia or something similar has always been heard. The use of Lotus IMO was purely in name only, just like the Indy car series currently is and that is about to change with factory involvement soon. We all got excited here because we were all so pleased to see Lotus back on an F1 track but was it really ever Lotus? Yes Clive Chapman says he supported Lotus Racing and was willing to show his support publicly but I'm sure that support didn't come free and those racing cars at Lotus Racing's launch didn't come free either.

"Last year, Tony Fernandes and 1 Malaysia Racing Team recognised this by taking a licence from Group Lotus to use the "Lotus" brand for the "Lotus Racing" team in the current Formula 1 season."

This I think is the key statement. The deal between TF and Group Lotus was nothing more than a upside down glorified sponsorship deal. Meaning TF paid Group Lotus to use the name Lotus, which didn't even include the Lotus badge and so the cars display some funky nondescript graphic. The name play is evident. Just look at how big the letters are in 'Lotus' verses the letters in 'Racing'. It's all about the Lotus brand association and nothing about the engineering behind the F1 car. I don't think one Lotus employee had an input on the current F1 car.

For me 'Lotus F1' will only be 'Lotus F1' when the team has direct and undisputed factory involvement.

I support the factory on this one and would love to see a real factory backed Lotus F1 team.

Edited by GavinT
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See I've totally changed my stance.

Back in the day I considered Fernandes to have taken the name just for glory sake, it's clear - totally crystal clear this isnt the case and he has huge passion for the brand and the herratige (as shown at the Snetterton meet)

He's also had the guts (unlike group lotus) to put his beans on the chopping board and get judged by the toughest measure of the land - the fans.

As far as I am concerned his actions speak volumes GL could barely dream of.

Everytime I hear group Lotus nowadays my impression drops a little.

As Tony rightly says

"Dany wants Group Lotus to be Ferrari, but it isn't. I didn't build it that way – it is the way that Colin Chapman did it. There are two pools of goodwill – there is Team Lotus and Group Lotus. Team Lotus did not build cars, and none of our press statements claim that we built Esprits or built a Lotus Elan. And, Group Lotus doesn't have any racing heritage because it didn't race. Full stop. That is very clear."

Sorry but Group Lotus should eff off and concentrate on making Ferraris. Seems to me the boys at the top of group lotus have had a sniff of the success TF has made of Lotus Racing being setup in a short time and getting the best of the new boys results, and they simply want a cut of the action. If this wasnt the case I doublt GL would give a tupny toss, nor would they have commited their cash to it.

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This time I 'll stand by New Team Lotus!

Tony Fernandes spend his own money to acquire the rights to use legally the 'Team Lotus' Branding!

He has support from Hethel and Clive Chapman Classic Team Lotus!

Group Lotus/Proton Berhad had an agreeement with 1Malaysia Racing that ends at season's end!

1Malaysia racing Ltd is set to become Team Lotus probably 'Ltd'.

As Tony Fernandes said during his press conference he's (Tune Group) now the sole owner of the

Team Lotus which is a distinct Brand from Lotus Cars! due to Clive Chapman decision back in the day!

I'm not a lawyer but good luck to Group Lotus with that one! They were never really able/willing to get the brand back!

while every body knew the name was i the hands of David Hunt!

Group Lotus is going to spend 70 M pounds on refurbishement at Hethel in the next three years according to french magasine Sport Auto!

I suggest they stick to their business plan! If not this litigation may end up sending Lotus back to square one!

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Received this today :huh:



Kuala Lumpur, 27 September 2010 – There is and always has been only one Lotus, the Lotus started by Colin Chapman. From the beginning Lotus made road cars and raced racing cars. Until 1994, Group Lotus, the road car manufacturer and Team Lotus, which operated the Formula 1 team, were in common ownership with common directors. In 1994, Team Lotus failed and Lotus has not raced since. Since 1994, David Hunt has claimed to have acquired assets of Team Lotus, including its name, from the liquidator. He has never raced as Lotus. Mr. Hunt’s attempt to acquire the name Team Lotus was ineffective. Group Lotus is the owner of all rights in the "Lotus" automotive brand including those relating to Formula 1.

Last year, Tony Fernandes and 1 Malaysia Racing Team recognised this by taking a licence from Group Lotus to use the "Lotus" brand for the "Lotus Racing" team in the current Formula 1 season. With PROTON’s agreement, Group Lotus has now terminated its licence to 1 Malaysia Racing Team to use the "Lotus Racing" brand in the 2011 and future Formula 1 seasons as a result of the flagrant and persistent breaches of the licence by 1 Malaysia Racing Team, which were damaging to the "Lotus" brand.

Following that termination, neither 1 Malaysia Racing Team, nor any other company associated with Mr. Fernandes such as Tune Group Sdn Bhd or Team Lotus Ventures Limited, has the authority of Group Lotus to use any "Lotus" brand in the 2011 Formula 1 season. This includes the use of the brand "Team Lotus".

Group Lotus understands that Mr. Fernandes intends to rebrand the current "Lotus Racing" Formula 1 team to "Team Lotus" for the 2011 Formula 1 season. Mr. Fernandes indicates that Tune Group has acquired the rights to the name "Team Lotus" from a business formerly owned by David Hunt called Team Lotus Ventures Limited. Group Lotus believes these rights to have no proper legal foundation, a fact of which Mr. Fernandes was well aware when his company purchased them.

PROTON will support Group Lotus in taking all necessary steps to protect its rights in the "Lotus" name, including resisting any attempts by Mr. Fernandes or his companies, or any other unauthorised person, to use the "Lotus" name in the 2011 Formula 1 season.

Dato’ Sri Mohd. Nadzmi Mohd. Salleh, Chairman of PROTON Holdings Berhad and Group Lotus commented, "We believe the Lotus brand to be one of the most valuable brands in Formula 1 today. We are the owners of this brand, and will take all necessary steps to protect it. Tony Fernandes has no rights to use the Lotus brand in the 2011 Formula 1 season, and we will strongly resist any attempts by him to use our brand without our permission and will withdraw our sponsorship of the Lotus Racing team."

“To put it simply, Group Lotus is everything Lotus. The fact that 1 Malaysia Racing Team entered into an agreement with Group Lotus to use the brand means that both Mr. Fernandes and 1 Malaysia Racing Team recognises and acknowledges Group Lotus’ rights,” he added.


PROTON, established in 1983, is Malaysia's largest manufacturer of automobiles, and the only full-fledged OEM car manufacturer in South-East Asia. With operations in key markets from UK to the Middle East, and across South-East Asia and Australasia, especially in countries like China and Iran, PROTON produces cars to suit a range of consumer demands and preferences.

Its offerings include versatile and reliable four-door family vehicles, two-door hatchbacks for the young-at-heart, luxurious and stylish executive sedans, spacious and affordable multi-purpose vehicles, as well as the world-renowned sports cars from Lotus. Most importantly, PROTON models are now developed with Lotus Engineering, offering customers superior ride and handling experience in every drive.

PROTON’s inception as a key driver of national development has seen the brand accelerate its learning curve through technology transfer with strategic partnerships and technical collaborations. By listening to the needs of customers, PROTON cars are now steadily on track to achieve the mission for the future, with PROTON set to become a marque which builds cars with passion and soul; cars that are a delight to drive - and a pleasure to own.

About Lotus

Group Lotus is a wholly-owned subsidiary of PROTON Holdings Berhad. The main operating subsidiary of Group Lotus plc is Lotus Cars Limited, which has two operating divisions - Lotus Engineering and Lotus Cars. Lotus Engineering is an internationally recognised automotive engineering consultancy based in Norfolk, UK. Global facilities include those in Michigan (USA), Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), China and offices in Germany.

Lotus Engineering provides comprehensive and versatile consultancy services to many of the world's OEMs and Tier 1 suppliers, offering a full engineering service from initial concept and project design through development and integration of the complete vehicle to meet all worldwide markets and customers to full production. This includes third party 'niche vehicle' engineering and manufacture worldwide.

Lotus Cars builds world class, prestige, high performance sports cars for sale in 37 countries. These include the iconic Lotus Elise, and the Exige and Europa. Lotus’ latest model, the Lotus Evora, goes on sale from Spring 2009. Lotus is a global high-tech company, expanding rapidly and committed to driving forward technology for both Lotus Cars and its Engineering clients, spearheading research into such areas as hybrids, electric cars and renewable fuels.

=== END ==

For further information, please contact Group Communications Division:

Izad Raya at hp: 012-233 0719 / tel: 03-8026 9690 / [email protected]

Donna Hamid at hp: 019-395 0518 / tel: 03-8026 9673 / [email protected]

Yani Fadzil at hp: 012-212 8977 / tel: 03-8026 9683 / [email protected]

Yana Abdul Rahman at hp: 012-211 2451 / tel: 03-8026 9670 / [email protected]

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In a few years time we could have 2 Team Lotus cars, as well as 2 Lotus F1 cars on the grid, both hating each other.

Just a tad confusing for the fans me thinks!

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So, if Group Lotus owns the Team Lotus trademark, why haven't they used it and why, if what Tony Fernandez says is correct, why did Group Lotus try to buy the Team Lotus name from David Hunt not so long ago?

What a bloody mess.

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


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