Team Lotus name to be revived in 2011

Posted on

| Written by

Heikki Kovalainen, Lotus, Spa-Francorchamps, 2010

Lotus will be re-named Team Lotus as of 2011, reverting back to the original name of the team when it was run by Colin Chapman.

Team principal Tony Fernandes bought the rights to the name from David Hunt, brother of 1976 F1 champion James Hunt, who has owned them since the original team collapsed at the end of 1994.

Fernandes said:

My thanks go to David for looking after the Team Lotus brand so well over the period of his stewardship, and keeping the integrity of Team Lotus together.

We are very excited about now taking over the brand and after our first year in Formula One, we believe we are ready to do justice to the legacy we have inherited. These are heady days for Team Lotus, and it will be a very exciting process for the team we have in place to help us achieve our goals, on and off track.

It was always important to us that Lotus Racing and Team Lotus could be brought together to unite the past and the present, and now we have done so. 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.

But now we move on to a new chapter, and as Team Lotus we will be an even more potent force, both on and off track. Everyone associated with the team is looking forward to the challenges that lie ahead ?ǣ even more so now we will be bringing back one of the most loved, revered and respected names in motor racing history. A new dream starts today ?ǣ Team Lotus is back.
Tony Fernandes

The use of the name Lotus has become a matter of debate in recent days after Group Lotus, who manufacture Lotus road cars, announced a deal to back the GP2 team ART in 2011.

Fernandes, meanwhile, will have his own GP2 outfit carrying the name of his Air Asia company.

Lotus are expected to announce a deal to use Renault engines in 2011, 25 years after Team Lotus last used Renault engines.

Lotus naming rights row

Browse all articles on the Lotus naming rights row

Image ?? Lotus F1

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

41 comments on “Team Lotus name to be revived in 2011”

  1. Good luck Tony, make team lotus proud!!!

  2. I bet you had to get up early for this one, Keith …

    Anyway, I’m curious: what’s your take on the Lotus ART/Team Air Asia storm brewing in GP2? What consequences do you think will come about if Lotus Cars win their legal fight to stop Fernandes using the Lotus name?

    1. It’s half past eight here…

      Afraid I’ve not got any information for you on what may or may not be happened between the two and as it may be a legal thing you’ll appreciate I’d prefer to err on the side of caution. It’s seems like something that could be resolved easily, so it could all amount to nothing.

      1. Let’s hope it amounts to nothing.

  3. I don’t really understand. What connection does Lotus the sportscar company have with the 2011 team? I thought they would need Lotus engines for the team to be called Lotus.

    Same thing with BMW Sauber. Why the hell is the BMW there?

    1. Not much directly, only the fact that Proton is somewhat supportive of Lotus Racing/Team Lotus and at the same time owns the Lotus Car company. And the Malaysian government is fully behind Fernandez and owns Proton.

      BMW is there because of last year quitting late and trying to secure the TV money for Sauber. And they probably funded the team for this year.

    2. Team Lotus operates independently of Lotus Cars. It is a separate body, assembled purely for Formula 1 racing. The company has been inactive since 1995, when Team Lotus withdrew from the championship, but David Hunt has owned the rights ever since. He has now sold them to Tony Fernandes. A team does not need engines from a company in order to use that name – the original Team Lotus never actually used engines built by Lotus. They were usually powered by Cosworth, tough they experimented with Lamborghini and Honda and used Renault power in the Age of Senna.

      As for the BMW in BMW Sauber, the name was retained for reasons related to the Concorde Agreement. By retaining the name, Sauber were given their full prize money from the 2009 season. The BMW in the 2010 team does not actually mean “Bavaria Motor Works”; it’s just “BMW” with no meaning.

      1. Ah, exactly the answer I was looking for. Thanks!

      2. In Fernandez has interesting comments about Lotus Group chairman Dany Bahar. Seems the two of them don’t get along as best pals, who knows maybe part of Proton senior management or government owners feel the same about this as Tony does.

        I think what he says about Lotus Cars never being a racing company like Ferrari and especially about the company having other things to concentrate on than getting into racing might be key here.

      3. I assume a team can call itself anything it likes subject to intellectual property rights and the regulation that the team name must include include the chassis.

    3. Correction. It seem that you don’t really understand the rule of to name the F1 team. As example, the official name of lotus team was Lotus Racing Cosworth and Red bull Racing was Red Bull Racing Renault. The engine name was at the behind of the team name. BMW in Sauber team name was because Peter Sauber need the prize money from the old BMW Sauber Team. He cannot change his team name because that will lose him the prize money. Another fact is there is no Lotus engine exist.

      1. Actually, Sauber has announced that the team will simply be known as “Sauber” (full name “Sauber F1 Racing Team”) from 2011. The BMW-Concorde Agreement thing was just for this year.

        1. sorry, my mistake thank you.

  4. Let’s say tema Lotus are on the podium next year .. which anthem will be played ??

    1. The Malaysian. The team name has changed, but not its nationality. The 2011 version of Team Lotus is not the same as the Team Lotus of old. It is a reimagining, a reboot of the team. Kind of like what James Bond did between Die Another Day and Casino Royale.

      1. But James Bond himself never was Malaysian in these films. He always was British, no?

    2. Malaysia anthem since it was registered with Malaysian license.

    3. Semi-God Save The Queen and Semi-Negaraku… NOT

      1. My opinion is that if they want to take advantage of this legend British brand they MUST make it in a level a bit more british.
        *This team ccreat the British Racing Green color
        *It was the first legend of british motorsport in F1
        *Many people refer to Team Lotus as the british Ferrari
        You cannot take all that and go to Malaysia, it’s just don’t fit

        1. But Tony must want to show his Malaysian heritage as well and considered that the funding was from Malaysia.

          1. Well the teams founder was British, the teams present base is in England, the teams history is British and the car is kind of a British Racing Green.

            I’m voting for God Save the Queen (or King depending on how long it takes Lotus to win a race.) ;)

        2. Team Lotus colours were originally yellow and green (as per the logo) but they have been associated with a range of different colour schemes over the years, including…

          Gold Leaf red and white
          John Player Special black

        3. It is nonsense to suggest that Lotus created British Racing Green. There are plenty of pre-war cars in that colour. They weren’t even the first British team to win the constructors’ title in that colour – that would be Vanwall.

  5. Nice one from Fernandez thanking David Hunt to watch the integrity of the brand.

    And the conformation in it of Proton’s support show there probably is some kind of struggle going on in the background between Fernandez/Team Lotus and the Lotus Car people about the directions taken in developing the Lotus brand in racing in the next years.

    Anyway, i think they actually did do enough to earn the usage of the Team Lotus name next year. Lets hope they will be coming with some nice innovative ideas about the car next year and have a good shot at fighing in the midfield at times.

  6. I cannot see why lotus cars would have a problem with team lotus surely it would only inharce car sales.

  7. This is business, if Team Lotus does well next year ( better than this one ), the carmaker will benefit because he has free publicity and most easily will sell his cars.

    1. Actually, Lotus Cars deny Fernandes’ claim to the Lotus name and are intending to launch legal action.

      1. Big mess than….

    2. Maybe they will, but notheless, the management of Lotus Cars is not convinced, as PM explains in his comment.

  8. Unless, the carmaker is one thing, David hunt another and Fernandes another.

  9. I’ve read a huge amount of comments in the past year, along the lines of Lotus isn’t the real Lotus and what not….. But this strikes me as odd when I see the Lotus before us today having a lot more to do with Chapmins Lotus than the new age Mercedes having anything to do with the old silver arrows….

  10. shirly the Team Lotus trademark (for advertising in F1) is owned by Team Lotus Ventures from 1988 and set to renew in 2015

    ie to get the name Team Lotus put on the car.

    One would assume the trademark for other avenues, for sale items, website names, advertising in other areas are covered in separate agreements. (type in Team lotus)

    1. shirly the Team Lotus trademark (for advertising in F1) is owned by Team Lotus Ventures from 1988 and set to renew in 2015

      David Hunt owned Team Lotus Ventures. That’s why he was able to sell to Fernandes.

  11. I can see a battle royal brewing up here. Dany Behar is causing huge change at Group Lotus, in dealerships, parts supplies and the way the cars are made. He is trying very hard to turn them into another Ferrari, where most people by the cars because of the name and associations rather than because of what the actual car is like. Lotus was always the other way round, people buy the cars despite the name which still is often referred to as Lots Of Trouble Usually Serious.

    Because of that I personally think Behar will fail, but to succeed he needs a racing heritage to market on and Fernandes seems to be kicking that out from under him. No wonder Behar is looking to the courts.

    I’m very interested in Fernandes quote that Group Lotus has never raced cars. I had never thought about it before, but I think it’s correct. When the ‘works’ road cars and junior formula were raced in Chapman’s time it was under the ‘Lotus Components’ name, which I think is still owned by the Chapman Family. It was certainly not a company ever listed in the Group Lotus report and accounts. When the Esprit’s were raced in the States a few years ago it was under a dealer team banner, and Elise’s etc have only been raced by private entries as far as I’m aware.

    My money is on Fernandes….

    1. Actually thinking further and back to the old Group Lotus Reports and accounts, Group Lotus used to pay a nominal amount each year to Team Lotus for the good will generated by their racing activities….. you don’t do that other than to a totally independent company

  12. Fernandes may have bought the Lotus name but I for one think that’s meaningless and hollow. The car needs a minimum lotus engine to even think about sniffing and or wearing the Lotus name…

    1. No Lotus F1 car has ever used a Lotus engine!

      1. agreed…lotus never develop a F1 engine. even the lotus road car was using at Toyota engine.

    2. If there is such a thing as a “Lotus Engine” (there isn’t) it would be the Cosworth DFV, so in that sense they’ve already got the right engine supplier.

  13. I can find any necessary for this, I hope he have a good reason.

    1. Given the legal action from Lotus Cars, my guess would be “because the carmaker doesn’t want them to use the Lotus name any more so they’re acquiring the rights from somewhere else”

Comments are closed.