Lotus to back ART’s GP2 and GP3 teams

Lotus Motorsport and ART Grand Prix have announced a collaboration which will see ART’s GP2, GP2 Asia and GP3 cars named Lotus ART from next year.

This raises some questions as it was revealed earlier today that Lotus Racing team principal Tony Fernandes is entering a new team in GP2 next year to be called Team Air Asia.

Fernandes owns the rights to use the ‘Lotus’ name in F1 and has been seeking the rights to the original Team Lotus name for his F1 operation.

Lotus Motorsport’s director of operations Miodrag Kotur said:

The move into GP2 and GP3 solidifies Lotus Motorsport?s commitment to promoting driver development and supporting the search for the world champions of the future. Lotus won?t simply be partner in name only, ART Grand Prix will also benefit from Lotus? considerable engineering and technical support and experience.
Miodrag Kotur

Nico Rosberg, Lewis Hamilton and Nico H???lkenberg all won GP2 championships with ART.

Hamilton won the F3 Euroseries with the team (then called ASM) in 2005, as did Paul di Resta, Romain Grosjean and H???lkenberg. Sauber’s 2011 test driver Esteban Gutierrez won the inaugural GP3 championship for the team this year.

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38 comments on Lotus to back ART’s GP2 and GP3 teams

  1. mika's_toolbox said on 22nd September 2010, 0:01

    This is a very strange move all round, given what we’ve heard about ART’s F1 aims and Fernandes already entering a GP2 team.

    • US_Peter (@us_peter) said on 22nd September 2010, 0:03

      Yeah, very strange. Wonder if there will be a connection down the road between ART and Lotus F1.

      • Or maybe it can even be seen of some sort of confirmation, that Proton/Lotus Automotive is not fully in support of Fernandez and is looking for ways to get him to move over after he builds up the F1 team.

        A very strange move indeed.

  2. Well thats rather confusing, given the news about the the Air Asia team…

  3. Steezy said on 22nd September 2010, 0:19

    Wait. So there’s gonna be Air Asia and Lotus ART in GP2?

    I suppose if we can have two Red Bull teams in Formula 1…

  4. picky2010 said on 22nd September 2010, 0:28

    if you seen the fourum on the bbc he said about bringing up and coming engineers mechanics ect aswell as driver’s fernades is just sowing his seeds for a nice crop in the future

  5. Ned Flanders (@ned-flanders) said on 22nd September 2010, 0:31

    That is very weird… I assumed Team Air Asia was just Lotus in disguise- but now ART seem even more Lotusey still

    The question is, which team will Fairuz Fauzy drive for next season. Because I assume that will be the true Lotus junior team

    • And tomorrow Pinky, THE WORLD!!!

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 22nd September 2010, 2:12

      The question is, which team will Fairuz Fauzy drive for next season. Because I assume that will be the true Lotus junior team

      I’d say he’d end up in Team Air Asia. Lotus might be backing ART, but ART is at the top of the GP2 pecking order. They can take any driver they want. Fauzy might have testing experience in Formula 1, but he’s been pretty slow. ART wouldn’t want him around because he’s something of a liability. There are better choices around – Bianchi, Bird, van der Garde, Vietoris, etc.

  6. So is Lotus Motorsport then Lotus Cars, not 1MalaysiaF1? Or some other entity, Proton perhaps? Who are they? And since when is Miodrag Kotur not working for Ferrari anymore? So many questions… :(

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 22nd September 2010, 2:15

      Lotus Racing is a reimagining of Team Lotus, kind of like the way they remade Hawaii Five-0. It is run by the Malaysians because Proton, a Malaysian manufacturer, owns Lotus Cars. It is not called 1MalaysiaF1 because 1Malaysia is simply a sponsor. They are a government-owned tourist campaign, but they don’t own Lotus Racing.

      • Yeh I get that ;) The team actually is called 1MalaysiaF1, Lotus Racing is merely a licenced name. But that wasn’t my point, I only used that name to distinguish between all those entities.

        After some research, it would seem like Lotus Motorsport is Lotus Cars indeed. That explains why the construction sounds exactly like the one they have for their relationship with KV Racing Technology. Not sure why they now use Lotus Motorsport instead of Lotus Cars for that tho.

    • Journeyer said on 22nd September 2010, 7:20

      Isn’t Miodrag Kotur the guy who used to hang out the pitboard on the pitwall to Schumi and Rubens? He probably went to Lotus along with that Canadian guy whose name I forget.

      As for Lotus ART and Team Air Asia… that just confuses me.

  7. Chippie (@chippie) said on 22nd September 2010, 0:43

    Actually, it’s a common business technique. Called ‘horizontal acquisition/merger’. The technique involves owning and operating two or more competing firms which you encourage to compete against one another. By doing this you ensure that your business’ are immune from criticism that they are not operating in a competitive market. It also is theoretically meant to boost efficiency and performance of both/all businesses as they try to prove that they are the better to invest in. Rupert Murdoch is the greatest known practitioner. If he ran one single news brand then half the world would listen/read this one brand of news. However, by owning The Sun, The News of the World, the Times and Sky News, he diversifies his portfolio and encourages these four independent businesses to compete for his time and investment.

    If you want to look at another classic example of this business technique: look at Red Bull and Toro Rosso, Red Bull have a team which gives promising drivers the experience and Toro Rosso have the investment and old Red Bull chassis that they needed to stay afloat for five years.

    Will this work for Fernandes? Only time will tell.

    • US_Peter (@us_peter) said on 22nd September 2010, 3:14

      But the difference is these two GP2 teams aren’t owned by the same person or group of people, and it doesn’t even sound like there’s any reason to believe there will be any affiliation.

  8. picky2010 said on 22nd September 2010, 0:48

    it will work for sure not instantly but with time theyl be back and colins hat will once again be thown in the air as green and yellow flashes by that chequerd flag

  9. wasiF1 (@wasif1) said on 22nd September 2010, 2:08

    So he is not building a new team,just supporting them so that they can feed him good drivers. Nice idea hope it works well.

  10. Lustigson said on 22nd September 2010, 7:24

    It will be interesting to find out whether Dato Fernandes is involved in this endeavour, too, or if just Team Air Asia is his, while Lotus Motorsport — I’ve never heard of that entity before — has its own GP2 effort with ART.

    • Nice to see Colin Chapman is still causing confusion years after his death!

      Colin had loads of companies under the Lotus moniker all owned wholly or partly owned by him, but kept legally very separate (although in his day personnel moved pretty freely between them). Team Lotus the F1 outfit he kept very separate and very personal because that was his dream, the other companies were primarily to provide Colin with money to go racing with Team Lotus.

      On his death all the spaghetti had to be unravelled, Group Lotus the sports car company as a public company went it’s own sweet way. Team Lotus in which Group Lotus had deliberately never had any share was sold, eventually ending up with David Hunt (James’s brother) and now apparently sold to Tony Fernandes. Most of the other Lotus brand names which at the time of Chapman’s death were dormant, such as Lotus Racing (which ceased to be used in the early 70’s) stayed in the ownership of the Chapman Family, which is how Tony Fernandes got permission to use it.

      But that left Group Lotus with no racing brand name when they wanted to go racing as the Chapman Family had them all. Presumably they didn’t want to pay the Chapman Family to use one and so ended up using Lotus Motorsport as it was about the only racing type name that Colin had never registered.

      Which is the true Lotus ??? take your pick….. perhaps the one that used to make spreadsheet software or shoes or …. ;-)

      • As parent company, proton should stop Group Lotus from any motorsport involvement. Any motorsport involvement should be run by Team Lotus. That should solve the confusing situation.

        • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 22nd September 2010, 13:06

          Except that Team Lotus/Lotus Racing isn’t actually affiliated with Proton.

          • Woah!! said on 23rd September 2010, 0:23

            Group Lotus should know that all the Lotus F1 fame and history was not theirs. They should stop all this nonsense immediately and just leave Team Lotus alone. How Chapman deal with this situation during his day huh??

        • Proton has nothing to do with Lotus Racing, or Team Lotus, in exactly the same way as they have nothing to do with Lotus 123 or Lotus Shoes. So if they want to race their road cars or anything else for that matter they need a name to do it under, hence Lotus Motorsport.

          • But Proton sponsor Lotus Racing, therefore being involved. As someone has already said, Autosport did more on this, saying that ART would carry a ‘Lous influenced’ livery. I count now that 7 cars could have Lotus Racing livery (1 in British F3 (litespeed), 2 in FR3.5 (Junior Lotus Racing), 2 in GP2 (Team Air Asia) and the F1 team.) Group Lotus will have 6 cars, 1 IndyCar(providing Sato is the only Lotus driver), GP2 and GP3(3 cars per team). Now im wondering if the F3 team for ART will be effected. AAHHH CONFUSING.

            Imagine how confusing it would have been if ART did enter F1 this year, ahhhhh, Lotus Motorsport-ART-(Renault?-they are french-ART, not Lotus) and Team Lotus-Renault

      • picky2010 said on 23rd September 2010, 1:33

        colins wife gave tony the hat hoping for it to one day be used to celebrete a victory for te lotus name you’l n keith????

  11. spawinte said on 22nd September 2010, 9:12

    “ART Grand Prix will also benefit from Lotus’ considerable engineering and technical support and experience”

    Thats funny considering Lotus are only slightly faster than GP2 cars this season.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 22nd September 2010, 9:37

      The ‘GP2′ jibe about the new teams was never very accurate to start with and it’s even more wide of the mark now. Trulli was three seconds off the fastest car in Q1 in Monza and five seconds quicker than the fastest GP2 car in their qualifying session.

    • spawinte said on 22nd September 2010, 15:17

      And now that we know its Lotus Cars and not Lotus F1 providing the tech support my journey to oblivion is complete. The GP2 thing comes from memory of comments on this site about the pace of the new teams at season start.

  12. Dipak T said on 22nd September 2010, 10:56

    I’m confused. Is this Lotus Racing or Lotus Cars? And, come to that, are they linked,? Is the future Indycar project part of the car company or the F1 team? Lotus right now is a complete and utter ********

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 22nd September 2010, 11:39

      An article just put on Autosport makes things clearer: Lotus Cars will sponsor ART; Lotus Racing will run the GP2 team known as Team Air Asia. There is no crossover.

  13. Robert McKay said on 22nd September 2010, 11:35

    It’s good that Lotus are keeping their motorsport activities nice, simple and transparent for us. I mean, this is not confusimg at all.

  14. Journeyer (@journeyer) said on 22nd September 2010, 17:08

    Joe has explained everything pretty well. Simply put – it’s a mess.

    http://joesaward.wordpress.com/2010/09/22/a-mess-developing-in-malaysia/

  15. I’m utterly confused by all this. Joe Saward has a good article that casts more light on whole story but I find that with more data and backstory I got even more confused. Thankfully Tony Fernandez didn’t name his GP2 team Lotus but Air Asia or it would get totally confusing.

    http://joesaward.wordpress.com/2010/09/22/a-mess-developing-in-malaysia/

    Also, corporate colors of Air Asia are red and white so next season in GP2 we could see Air Asia (whose owner has a right to Team Lotus name and logo) in ”ART” red and white and ART-Lotus in Lotus livery.

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