Renault will also become Lotus-Renault in 2011

2011 F1 season

2011 Lotus-Renault livery

2011 Lotus-Renault livery

There could be two teams named Lotus-Renault on the F1 grid in 2011 as Renault announce a sponsorship deal with Lotus Cars.

According to the Daily Telegraph, Renault have agreed a $100m title sponsorship deal with Lotus Cars which will see the team renamed Lotus Renault GP from next year.

The deal will see Renault sell the remainder of its shares to Genii Capital, which bought 75% of them last year.

They will clash head-on with Lotus Racing, who brought the famous name back to F1 at the beginning of this year and recently signed a deal to use Renault engines in 2011.

Making matters even more confusing, both teams are planning to use black-and-gold colour schemes next year, evoking memories of the company’s iconic John Player Special Livery.

Lotus Racing recently concluded a competition for fans to design their black-and-gold 2011 livery. In a clear reference to that, here’s how Lotus-Renault described their livery design for next year:

This livery, which has been on the drawing board for over two months in order to reinterpret its iconic graphic signature to suit modern media requirements, is sure to strike a powerful chord with the sport?s enthusiasts around the world.

Lotus Racing team principal Tony Fernandes had previously announced the team would revive the historic Team Lotus name in 2011. But he faces opposition from Lotus Cars and the dispute will go before the High Court in the new year.

Lotus Cars have already announced a sponsorship deal with GP2 team ART, who will be known as Lotus ART in 2011. Fernandes’ airline Air Asia will have a GP2 team of its own called Team Air Asia.

Full statement from Renault:

Genii Capital and Group Lotus plc today announced the creation of Lotus Renault GP, the successor to the Renault F1 Team that will contest the 2011 FIA Formula One World Championship. This exciting announcement is made in the context of a strategic alliance between the two companies that will provide Group Lotus with significant technological and commercial opportunities for its range of road cars.

Following the return of the Lotus name to Formula 1 in 2010, under licence from Group Lotus, this historic announcement marks the complete return of the Lotus manufacturer to the sport, with the full backing of its parent company Proton. Group Lotus plc will become a major equity partner of Genii Capital in Lotus Renault GP, and the two parties have concluded a title sponsorship agreement that will run until the end of the 2017 season. With the continued support of Renault as a supplier of engines and technological and engineering expertise, Lotus Renault GP enjoys a strong, stable platform for future success.

Gerard Lopez, Chairman of Renault F1 Team, commented: ??We are delighted that we can now go public with the news that we will be racing as Lotus Renault GP in 2011. It is extremely exciting to begin a new era for the team in partnership with Group Lotus, and we will continue to enjoy a strong relationship with Renault over the coming seasons. It is a tribute to the excellent work this year by the team in Enstone that we have been able to attract both major sponsorship and new investment for a very bright future.??

Group Lotus CEO Dany Bahar said: ??I can think of no better platform for automotive brand communications than motorsport and F1 is the very pinnacle of open-wheel racing. We?re well aware that there has been a lot of controversy around the usage of our brand in F1 and I?m delighted to be able to formally clarify our position once and for all: we are Lotus and we are back.??

The new partnership has been enabled by Renault selling its remaining shares in the team to Genii Capital. Group Lotus plc will subsequently become a major equity partner in Lotus Renault GP, which it will co-own with Genii Capital.

Renault will continue its strong support of the team with which it won the 2005 and 2006 world championships, as a supplier of engines and technological and engineering expertise. Reflecting this technological support, Lotus Renault GP will continue to compete with the Renault chassis name and Renault will enjoy pre-eminent brand exposure on the livery.

For 2011, the Lotus Renault GP cars will race in a new interpretation of the iconic black and gold colours that were last used when Lotus and Renault joined forces in the 1980s. This livery, which has been on the drawing board for over two months in order to reinterpret its iconic graphic signature to suit modern media requirements, is sure to strike a powerful chord with the sport?s enthusiasts around the world.

The team scored a strong fifth-place finish in the 2010 constructors? championship, which included three podium finishes for Robert Kubica. Next season, Lotus Renault GP is aiming to take another step forward which will see it competing regularly with the most prestigious names in Formula 1.

Gerard Lopez, founding partner of Genii Capital, endorsed the deal, saying:

For Group Lotus, access to Formula 1 opens up new marketing opportunities and a major platform for business exchanges and development. In this regard, Genii Capital possesses shareholdings in, and direct access to, cutting edge companies in the automotive industry. Our tie-up with Group Lotus and Proton, which will enable its future road car ranges to take advantage of significant new technologies, is a natural step.
Gerard Lopez

Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn added:

This multi-partner alliance will bring a new dynamic to the team and enable it to compete with the sport?s best from next season.
Carlos Ghosn

Update: Fernandes believes the news strengthens his hand in his efforts to win the rights to use the Lotus name. He said on Twitter:

Dany Bahar has done us a favour. Never felt better about our future and Team Lotus. Looks like [they're] trying to hijack our black and gold idea.
Tony Fernandes

Lotus naming rights row

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185 comments on Renault will also become Lotus-Renault in 2011

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  1. Superted666 said on 8th December 2010, 9:00

    What

    a

    Joke

    • This is beyond a joke now.

      Originally it was a quirky situation, but this is just a wang-measuring contest now with Bahar determined to steamroll Fernandes whatever it takes.

      I support true-Lotus, the team who best encapsulate Team Lotus, the team who have captured the imagination of fans, the team who showed real pluck and spirit – the team who were there in 2010.

      • Ronman (@ronman) said on 8th December 2010, 10:23

        This is both entertaining and irritating. It’s like a huge train wreck in very slow motion… Fernandes is the genuine heart behind the Lotus Revival. the others are just trying to milk the brand name by strapping it to a Renault Chassis and Engine. it will always be a Renault, whereas Fernandes’ team lotus has been built around the name from the get go…i fully support him in that sense

        • Petron@s said on 8th December 2010, 11:13

          Why everyone say for 2011:

          Team Lotus Renault
          1Malaysia Renault F1 Team
          [ There were only engine deal ]

          Lotus Renault GP:
          Technological & business partners
          [ just like Marusia Virgin Racing ]

          Don’t recall there were in 2010:

          Lotus Racing Cosworth
          1Malaysia Cosworth F1 Team

          Regards ;))

    • ogamii (@ogamii) said on 8th December 2010, 10:33

      To quote Bulldog from Fraiser “This stinks!! This is total BS!!”

      The best solution would have been for Lotus Cars to get behind Tony’s team, pony up the cash and run as “Team Lotus”.

      Tony’s done a great job but I do feel this latest twist stretches his already tenuous link to the Lotus name.

    • Fer no.65 (@fer-no65) said on 8th December 2010, 11:24

      couldn’t agree more.

      Pathetic in every single way.

      • matt90 said on 8th December 2010, 11:46

        At least it now makes sense why Lotus (cars) were getting in a huff about Lotus (current F1 team) using the team lotus name. Although why Lotus (cars) gave their blessing to Lotus (F1 team) to use the lotus name this time last year when Lotus (cars) were planning to get involved themselves a year later makes no sense.

        This is probably the most nonsensical comment I’ve ever written.

        • matt90 said on 8th December 2010, 11:52

          On aseperate note, although it’s kind of nice to see the return of black and gold, I quite liked Renault’s classic yellow. It’s a shame it only survived a single year.

        • Bahar didn’t have full grip of the Proton reins this time last year.

          The change of direction is Bahar.

    • US_Peter (@us_peter) said on 8th December 2010, 18:26

      Total joke, very pathetic. The most annoying bit of that press release is the statement that “this historic announcement marks the complete return of the Lotus manufacturer to the sport.” THEY NEVER WERE IN THE SPORT!!

  2. tomforpresident said on 8th December 2010, 9:02

    Guess this may explain why group lotus wanted the lotus racing/ team lotus name off the grid next year.

    Bet they love the work fernandes did and publicity gained from him.

    • damonsmedley (@damonsmedley) said on 8th December 2010, 11:38

      Yeah. This is stupid. Lotus did all the hard work and now this crowd wants a bit of the action. How awful. And now Renault is gone! We only just got them back and in the iconic ‘wasp’ styled livery. :(

      • Burnout said on 8th December 2010, 16:51

        It’s a real shame. Watching Kubica stick it to the big three, like a big yellow bee you just can’t shake off was good fun. If Virgin and HRT don’t change their liveries for next season we’re going to have an overload of black on the grid.

        On a separate note, although the JPS colours are possibly the most iconic of all Lotus liveries, I’d have liked Tony Fernandes to stick to the current green and gold, or change to the Gold Leaf colours. White and red gel well (barring the Ferrari F10)

      • US_Peter (@us_peter) said on 8th December 2010, 18:28

        We only just got them back and in the iconic ‘wasp’ styled livery.

        True. I’ll miss that livery next year.

  3. Eggry (@eggry) said on 8th December 2010, 9:06

    If there’s two Lotus-Renault next year, it will be easy to get WCC with 4 black-golden car lol

    • Burnout said on 8th December 2010, 16:52

      +1

      On the serious, why aren’t the FIA doing anything about this situation? It makes the whole F1 fraternity look bad.

      • US_Peter (@us_peter) said on 8th December 2010, 18:30

        Well Team Lotus is already on the official FIA entry list. Lotus-Renault is not, so they’ll be the second team trying to gain entry under the name. That should be in Team’s favor.

  4. Himmat said on 8th December 2010, 9:07

    OMG!!! This is disaster in F1 like never known before. Team Lotus-Renault and Lotus-Renault.

  5. Just shows how much of a joke the “Lotus” team for 2010 actually was. No real relation to the legends of the past and an embarrassment to F1.

    Good riddance, let’s hope they get a new name for next year.

    • You’re joking, surely? Tony is the guy who got booted off by Bahar despite having the support of the Chapmans. Pending the decision of the High Court, he is the rightful owner of the Team Lotus name. Group Lotus was never created to race in F1, that was Team Lotus’ job.

      Simply put, why did Bahar spend on Renault sponsorship when he could’ve just bolstered Tony’s team and gotten them both more publicity? Unless Bahar was being selfish and wanted all the fame for himself…

      • Adrian said on 8th December 2010, 9:57

        Moreover, as I understand it, the deal which gives Tony Fernandes the rights to race under the Team Lotus name, also give him the rights to use the iconic Lotus badge in F1, whether that is the soul rights or not I don’t know.

        I understand that this matter has been through the High Courts before and Team Lotus won, so I can see why Tony is confident – the courts may not look to kindly on Group Lotus jumping the gun on their decision.

        I know which team I’ll be supporting next season…and it’s the one that had green and yellow cars this year!!

        • BasCB (@bascb) said on 8th December 2010, 17:51

          Maybe Fernandez will take over the whole of Proton after it bankrupts from the legal claims.

          After all, the Lotus Group has already been proven not to be in its right when reffering to the Team Lotus heritage in the past, by court order.
          Just imagine the damages claimed for this move, the livery (which as nothing whatever to do with Lotus cars, only with the Team Lotus ex sponsors!), the press statements, autoshow presentations, Proton headquarters presentation etc.

      • Ronman (@ronman) said on 8th December 2010, 10:34

        Toucher Journeyer… Bahar is irate from Fernandes… there is a personal thing between the two.

    • Jarred Walmsley said on 8th December 2010, 9:18

      And yet the team with no links to the F1 team is better?

      • Steve said on 8th December 2010, 11:01

        Honestly what good is a link? I’ve never looked “Team Lotus” as the real thing because all they have is “blessing”. Nothing else in that team is from the golden days.

        The faster one with a larger budget will be the real one.

        The slower one with the smaller budget will lose.

        • LewisC said on 8th December 2010, 12:02

          Actually, there is a distinct csae for saying the slower one with the lower budget is the real Lotus ;)

        • Jarred Walmsley said on 9th December 2010, 19:59

          Well a link is better than no link, also Team Lotus have a much better leader than Group Lotus and I would rather have lunch with Fernandes then Bahar, as otherwise I would have to spend the whole time not wanting to punch the man in his nose for ruining Lotus. (Thats Bahar I want to punch not Fernandes, just to clarify)

    • This is a sad day for Formula 1… on reading this news my heart sank.

      Colin Chapman will be turning in his grave.

      • Ned Flanders said on 8th December 2010, 12:01

        Agreed- what a (censored) shambles.

        Danny Bahar, in the unlikely event you are reading this, I hereby vow never to buy a Lotus, no matter how rich I get or cheap they become.

        • dyslexicbunny said on 8th December 2010, 14:53

          Well what’s worse is that I liked Kubica and Petrov and where Renault was going. Now I pretty much won’t pull for them simply out of spite until they move teams. Tony won’t beat them next season but in time, I hope it to be a regular occurrence.

        • US_Peter (@us_peter) said on 8th December 2010, 18:32

          Danny Bahar, in the unlikely event you are reading this, I hereby vow never to buy a Lotus, no matter how rich I get or cheap they become.

          Ditto.

  6. Will the team now be officially British? Makes no difference really, but seems odd to see hold a French F1 license but run with the Union Flag on the side of the car…

    • Tango said on 8th December 2010, 9:28

      No worse than being malaysian and having a GB flag

      • True. Perhaps they should only be allowed to run under the flag they’re licensed in. Seems a lot of heritage grabbing goes on.

        So officially we now have a Malaysian Team Lotus and a French Lotus. Both of whom claim to be the rightful heir to the Team Lotus history.

        You couldn’t make this stuff up!

        • Toby Bushby said on 8th December 2010, 10:50

          Actually, there’s really two Malaysian Lotus’. Funny, because neither of them are the original Lotus. One owns the cars, one (may) own the racing team, but that’s like saying Mercedes is Tyrrell. No, it’s not.

          Still, Fernandes was there first. He should have the name….and keep the yellow and green livery – the true racing colours of Lotus! :D

          Don’t worry about what Fernandes says about the “hijack” of the black and gold colours – Lotus-Renault will just argue that gold is yellow and black/yellow is the colour scheme of Renault. ;)

      • BasCB (@bascb) said on 8th December 2010, 17:53

        But more strange is actually having Malaysians running a british based Team, referring to stolen british racing heritage running with a French licence.

  7. Fatboomer (@fatboomer) said on 8th December 2010, 9:13

    What if Tony wins in court? Can Renault still chage their name to Proton-Renault?

  8. graigchq said on 8th December 2010, 9:17

    this simply doesn’t make a hell of a lot of sense, and is a real shame for those of us who have followed fernandes’ team this last year with great hope of a stronger running in 2011.

    sad fact is, that the rebranded Renault car will not only have the Lotus-Renault name, but will likely be faster, and with Robert Kubica behind the wheel, is bound to be much more competitive across the year than the new Lotus from Gascoyne. Shame

    • They may have the speed, but they won’t have my support.

    • Adrian said on 8th December 2010, 10:00

      Bold assumption. Remember this is the same team that built a dog of a car in 2007 and 2009…

    • Toby Bushby said on 8th December 2010, 10:53

      Good point, graigchq. That leads me to think that if Keith runs this poll again directly before the end of the 2011 season, the results may be substantially different from what I suspect they are now.

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 8th December 2010, 17:58

      Not too sure about that. Remember, they share the same engine and will have the Red Bull technology backend.
      Combine that with Gascoyne as a pretty clever engineer of his own, and the biggest downside for the team might be the drivers.
      That said, I rate Heikki pretty high and Jarno would love to clinch the odd pole.

      Robert Kubica on the other hand might be worried about Bahar actually upsetting the teams dealings (to much ego to let them do their thing) and Renault offering the same engineering support to Team Lotus and possibly more to WCC team Red Bull next year.

  9. ed24f1 (@ed24f1) said on 8th December 2010, 9:20

    Very disappointing that Group Lotus and Team Lotus couldn’t link up.

    The blame has to go to Bahar I suppose.

  10. Christian Biddon said on 8th December 2010, 9:20

    “Following the return of the Lotus name to Formula 1 in 2010, under licence from Group Lotus, this historic announcement marks the complete return of the Lotus manufacturer to the sport….”

    Group Lotus has never raced in F1 so how can they return?

    Chumps! Leeching off all the work that Fernandes has done over the past year.

    • Agreed. It’s a statement loaded with legalese.

    • Bahar: “the complete return of the Lotus manufacturer to the sport”

      The Lotus manufacturer were NEVER part of the sport.

      They’re trying to sneakily grab public support through blatant lies.

      • LewisC said on 8th December 2010, 12:05

        I’m delighted to be able to formally clarify our position once and for all: we are sort of Lotus and we are back whether you like it or not.”

  11. So will there be 2 Lotus-Renault teams? Or will Renault become Lotus-Renault and Lotus not taking part? Damn this is confusing!

  12. Is it just me or does this have the feel of a petty squabble when a child says “you can borrow my toy” then gets jealous and snatches it back?

    First the 2010 team can use the name then they can’t. Then the 2010 team will run black and gold which apparently the owner of Lotus cars loved that livery and now they’re saying “no, it’s ours”. The name may have been on loan to Lotus but it was still given to them and now Lotus just looks quite petty although they arguably, ahve every right.

    I’m quite sad on a really superficial level too. I loved having a yellow car on the grid.

    In other news, Ferrari are changing their name to Mclaren Ferrari as they’re bored of their red paint scheme. Sorry, couldn’t resist a terribly bad joke :P

    • Tango said on 8th December 2010, 9:33

      Yes, I really liked the Renault livery and I was very happy that the original lotus look would come back (i liked the green version though), but tice?

      And I am never going to be able to explain the problem in a simple way to my fellow non-F1 followers.

    • ajokay said on 8th December 2010, 9:45

      If you want a yellow livery, you could always phone up Proton-Renault GP and ask them nicely if they would consider using an updated Camel livery from the late 80′s.

  13. iceshiel said on 8th December 2010, 9:31

    This is a joke. And an embarrassment to F1 and the Lotus brand.

  14. Chalky said on 8th December 2010, 9:36

    I can’t bear to think how Legard is going to cope with this…..

  15. ajokay said on 8th December 2010, 9:38

    Well, I shall be supporting the real Lotus team… the ones at the back.

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