The 2 F1 teams had their initial hearing in court yesterday with the outcoming being that a date for a full trial has been set for late March. Both companies have now issued press releases:

Group Lotus and Proton are delighted with the outcome of yesterday’s hearing in which the Judge ordered a full trial of this matter to be heard as soon as possible given the proximity of the start of the new 2011 Formula 1™ season in a few weeks. The trial has been fixed at the English High Court for 21 March 2011.
Group Lotus and Proton have been made aware of the press release issued by 1Malaysia Racing Team (1MRT), it is completely incorrect and a misrepresentation of the Judge’s decision suggesting that Group Lotus’ application was “thrown out”. No decision was made on Group Lotus’ application. The Judge proposed that the better procedural route was to order a speedy trial of all the issues in dispute in the case. 1MRT initially resisted the Judge’s approach to resolve all matters quickly and before the start of the 2011 Formula 1™ season but the order was subsequently made and the first available date was 21 March.
Group Lotus and Proton have always held the view that this matter should be resolved as soon as possible in the interests of Formula 1™ and the fans. We therefore welcome this decision and look forward to the full trial. We are confident that at the trial Group Lotus will succeed in preventing 1MRT, Mr Fernandes and his companies, from using the Lotus name in Formula 1™ once and for all.

Team Lotus is delighted that we were successful at the Summary Judgment Application hearing today and that the Judge threw out Group Lotus’ application even before hearing the arguments of the barristers on either side.

Although this decision was never in doubt, it means that we start the 2011 season under the Team Lotus name. Whilst we expected that the Judge would refuse this application, it is good to have the decision in black and white.

The Judge also felt that it was in everyone’s best interests to bring the hearing date for the full trial forward and that is now fixed for 21st March rather than us having to wait until Autumn 2011 or even later. We remain confident that we will succeed at the full trial and we can now focus on the challenges ahead in the 2011 FIA Formula One™ World Championship.

Meanwhile Eric Bouillier and the team at LRGP in Enstone are getting on with business as usual:

An eventful day all round yesterday, but perhaps the most significant moment was the very first fire-up of the R31 as a busy car build at Enstone nears completion before the trucks leave for Valencia on Saturday.

As the F1 launch season gets into full swing, here’s recap of plans for the unveiling of the team’s new challenger in Valencia, Spain on Monday 31st of January.

The first glimpse of the R31 will take place at the Circuit de la Comunitat Valenciana Ricardo Tormo. The covers will be pulled off the car in the pit lane at 12:30 local time, slightly later than originally scheduled to avoid an overlap with the Sauber F1 Team launch. This will be followed by a photo call with the drivers and key team personnel. Then, at 13:00, it’s time for the interviews.

Official testing begins the following day when Vitaly becomes the first man to get behind the wheel of the R31. Robert will take over driving duties for the remaining couple of days.

Here is the provisional driver line-up for the winter tests:

1 Feb                Vitaly
2-3 Feb             Robert

10-11 Feb         Vitaly
12-13 Feb         Robert

18-19 Feb         Vitaly
20-21 Feb         Robert

3-4 Mar             Robert
5-6 Mar             Vitaly

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