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

Browse all articles on the Lotus naming rights row

Image ?? Renault/LAT

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

  1. HounslowBusGarage said on 8th December 2010, 13:03

    I am uttely confused and very disappointed.
    How is it that two sets of apparently rational people can be squabbling over the name of once-great-but-later-failing team?
    How is it that F1 manages to knee itself in the groin with such astonishing regularity?

    • Just one word: Money

      • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 8th December 2010, 13:10

        Worse – it’s ego. Dany Bahar seems to be very upset that the Lotus name has been accepted back into Formula 1 and that he is not the man responsible for it happening.

        • He should stick to marketing Ferrari’s, which has to be one of the easiest marketing jobs ever.

          • Flibster said on 8th December 2010, 13:39

            He should stick to marketing Ferrari’s, which has to be one of the easiest marketing jobs ever.

            Say, do you have lots of money and no taste?
            Yes? Then here’s the Ferrari for you…

            :D

            The only time that Group Lotus were involved with F1 is then they sponsored Team Lotus on the 107C iirc.

            Given some of the things that I’ve heard about Dany Bahar from current and former Lotus employees, I’ll stick with Fernandes thanks.

          • US_Peter (@us_peter) said on 8th December 2010, 20:14

            Say, do you have lots of money and no taste?
            Yes? Then here’s the Ferrari for you…

            Ahahahahaha! So true.

  2. AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 8th December 2010, 13:38

    Pretty bad behaviour from Group Lotus. Tony Fernandes had the good graces to consult the Chapman family and they give him their wishes. The whole team did an outstanding job this year and I hope they can give Group Lotus a battering in the courts.

  3. AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 8th December 2010, 13:40

    Plus that car looks terrible. The Total sponsorship is doing the livery no favours!

    Yuck.

  4. CovertGiblets said on 8th December 2010, 13:55

    It’s all a big game.

    I don’t believe the FIA will allow the undoubted similarity in colour schemes to get as far as the grid. The Existing “Lotus Team” have already announced their intension to use the JPS colours for 2011. They are even going so far as to hold a competition. I can only hope that common sense will prevail.

    Having said all thet, we are talking about the FIA .

    One last thing… If that paint job has been on the drawing board for two months then good god lad… fire the designer!!

  5. Maciek said on 8th December 2010, 14:00

    One positive thing that’s getting lost in all this (sorry if someone mentioned already) is that, Renault took their lumps after crash-gate, reassessed their involvement and then, unlike Toyota, Honda and BMW, scaled back gradually, assuring a transition that would have been smooth without the present Lotus fiasco. That’s a commendable level of responsibility and commitment to the sport.

    • However, unlike Toyota, Honda and BMW, they will still be supplying motive power to teams on the grid, so they still have to be responsible and commited to F1.

      • Maciek said on 8th December 2010, 16:10

        Yeah, that’s what I mean, though. Instead of just blindly pulling the plug and flushing their investments and the sport’s image down the tube, they’re still there, and if they do completely pull out eventually, it won’t have been a sudden bail out that does no one any good. If nothing else, it’s better and more responsible business practices than those other guys.

  6. As has been mentioned in previous articles on this subject, where are Lotus cars getting their money as they seem to want to race in several different motor series when bigger manufactures are scaling back their involvement and Lotus Cars themselves are not supposed to be making money either?

    I guess with Team Lotus using Renault engines next year this will mean that Lotus Cars have the leverage to win the naming battle.

    • As has been mentioned in previous articles on this subject, where are Lotus cars getting their money…

      ANSWER: Malaysian Taxpayers

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 8th December 2010, 18:13

      I would rather say, that Renault will be supplying their main team, the world championship team RBR as well as their sold off F1 team and Team Lotus with equal equipment.
      Sure Renault will possibly want some presence in Proton and use it’s capacities to build their cars. And they might have options on taking over the complete thing in the future. But Goshn would only do that, if they start to actually stop losing money bigtime.

  7. Xanathos said on 8th December 2010, 14:10

    Great!
    At least the off-season is going to be interesting now, it started out pretty boring ;)

  8. I’m waiting for the inevitable ‘Honda claims rights to Mercedes team’ news, breaking any day now.

  9. alexf1man said on 8th December 2010, 15:03

    This is absolutely pathetic even though we knew it was coming; I don’t see why Renault are allowed to use the Black & Gold livery (hopefully there will be a ban on similar liveries between two or more different teams).

  10. “we are Lotus and we are back.”

    No, You are the Proton owned group Lotus headed by an ex Ferrari emplyee.

    Lotus returned last year. Under Fernandes.

  11. pity.. I really liked the jordanesque color scheme. And I really can’t seem to understand the use of gold & black scheme of JPS without the sponsor.

  12. alexf1man said on 8th December 2010, 15:15

    Its fine with Red Bull’s two teams because one is Red Bull in Italian (as they bought an Italian team and didn’t want this problem to occur) and they both have distinct liveries from each other, whereas the Lotus and Renault teams (as known in 2010) will have nearly identical liveries and team names.

    This will devalue both Lotus and Renault from the JPS days beyond belief; also it will encourage people to smoke JPS :( :S

    • Burnout said on 8th December 2010, 17:25

      Only if the Ferrari barcode/white box/red patch on the engine cover encouraged people to smoke Marlboros :D

      On the serious, it really does devalue some of the greatest cars of the ’70s and ’80s. For that reason alone, neither team should use the JPS colours.

  13. okay this is stupid, and damn right petty if im honest..

  14. Why Lotus have separate entities in that matter? After all they have the same effect: to merchandise the Lotus brand.

    But if I’m not mistaken, it should be Proton-Renault and 1Malaysia Team Lotus-Renault…or so :S

  15. I am not really getting it, it’s so confusing,why do they need to share the same name? Why can’t they do what Red Bull did. Name the British Team as Lotus & the Malaysian one as Lotus in Malaysia as they did with Torro Rosso.

    • They are completely separate companies. Torro Rosso and Red Bull are both owned by Red Bull.

      Group Lotus looks after road cars, Team Lotus raced in F1 until 1994 when it went out of business. Group Lotus (owned by Proton) has never raced in F1.

  16. So if Renault no longer has anything to do with the old Renault team (Now Lotus Group) are they going to have to pay Renault for thier engines, just like Team Lotus will?

    Is there any chance that Renault could pull out of one engine deal with one of the Lotus teams thus solving some of the problem?

    Team Lotus didnt have my backing this time last year, but they have done an amazing job of building fan loyalty this year that I was converted mid season and will continue to support Fernandes team in the future.

    • This is definately not over, but as much as I hate to say it, I think in the long run Fernandes will lose out which is a real shame.

      If I was him, I would start looking at another classic name from the past (Brabham perhaps?) and keep hold of the rights to the Team Lotus name, never use it and never sell them to Group Lotus however much money is offered.

      • Neither Renault nor Lotus Racing will want to lose Constructors championship winnings by changing their names and neither of them can do so without a unanimous vote from the other teams.

        Lotus racing have already voted against Renault changing its name to Lotus-Renault. So that’s a none-starter to begin with.

        • You will have already noted that Lotus Racing are currently now called Team Lotus in the FIAs 2011 team entry list.

      • BasCB (@bascb) said on 8th December 2010, 18:16

        Brabham would be very interesting. That would clearly show who Bernie is backing.

        On the other hand, Bernie bidded together with Genii owner Lopez to buy Saab, so they know eachother pretty well.

  17. Fixy (@fixy) said on 8th December 2010, 16:25

    This is going beyond anything. This is really ridiculous, I hope Lotus Cars don’t end up making such a shame of themselves.

  18. 2010 was the first time I started liking and cheering for Renault. I wanted to Kubica to be on the podium and I loved the yellow n black livery.
    I hate Lotus-Renault now(not the tony lotus-renault).
    2011 will be confusing for me. I m not sure if i shoul cheer 4 Kubica or should abuses at that team. :(
    hope the other 4 teams take the focus off these 2 teams.
    IMHO, Tony deserves credit for bringing lotus to where it is right now, wat lotus is doing is jus cheap.

    • alexf1man said on 9th December 2010, 9:15

      +1 Why didn’t Lotus Cars back the Lotus Racing team? Absolute IDIOTS!

      • I think its jus an ego issue.
        However, The Renault-Lotus of kubica will surely be ahead in the race.
        It ll be sad to see that Tony puts all the effort but these guys come in with a lot of cash, do nothin n stil be ahead. :(

  19. Lustigson said on 8th December 2010, 18:41

    Renault will NOT become Lotus-Renault next season — they will remain Renault. McLaren aren’t know as Vodafone-McLaren, are they, or Ferrari as Ferrari-Marlboro? The only two Lotus-Renaults on the grid will be Tny Fernandes’ cars… assuming he hasn’t sold out to Group Lotus.

    • Lustigson said on 8th December 2010, 18:43

      I meant to say that there is a significant difference in the name of the cars — Red Bull-Renault, McLaren-Mercedes, Renault, Lotus-Renault — and the entrant name — Red Bull Racing, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes, Lotus Renault GP and Team Lotus respectively.

  20. S.J.M said on 8th December 2010, 20:47

    interesting that the Lotus badge on the front is a “Lotus” badge, and not the ‘Proton/Lotus – “we own it”‘ claimed “Team Lotus” badge.

    Still a mockery. Keep the damn yellow & Black.

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