Who are the real ‘Lotus’ in F1? (Poll)

Debates and pollsPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Two different teams are locked in a dispute over who has the right to use the Lotus name.

Both intend to use cars in classic black-and-gold John Player Special Lotus colours in 2011.

Who do you think are the real Lotus? Cast your vote and have your say below.

Jarno Trulli, Lotus, Valencia, 2010
Jarno Trulli, Lotus, Valencia, 2010

Lotus Racing

The team entered into F1 by Tony Fernandes in 2010. Fernandes bought the licence to use the name ‘Lotus’ from Proton, owners of Group Lotus, in 2009.

Lotus Racing has always considered itself a continuation of the classic Team Lotus and marked its 500th Grand Prix start at Valencia this year.

Fernandes acquired the rights to use the name Team Lotus from David Hunt in September. Hunt has owned them since the original team collapsed at the end of 1994.

2011 Lotus-Renault livery
2011 Lotus-Renault livery

Lotus Cars

The company which builds Lotus road cars was historically separate from the racing team.

They have now agreed a title sponsorship deal with Renault and have become an equity partner in their F1 team.

They plan to call the team Lotus Renault GP.

Over to you

Which team do you consider the rightful user of the name ‘Lotus’? Cast your vote and have you say below.

Who are the real 'Lotus' in F1?

  • Lotus Racing (65%)
  • Lotus Cars (17%)
  • Neither (18%)

Total Voters: 4,059

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175 comments on “Who are the real ‘Lotus’ in F1? (Poll)”

  1. Lotus are all about the chassis design and weight balance.
    Did anyone from Lotus have anything to do with the chassis design?

    I wish both teams all the luck in the world.
    But sticking a name on a car does not make it a Lotus IMHO.

    The one thing they did get right with the car design this year was legendary Lotus reliability! or lack thereof. I’ll give them that. ;)

    1. I agree, of course it’s neither.

      It’s like Eddie Jordan banging on about Jordan DNA in Force India when they showed a turn of speed.
      It’s like Jackie Stewart claiming Red Bull are really his team, as Jaguar jump on the bandwagon. It’s like Toleman or Minardi etc.
      Except this team wasn’t even born out of another one making it even less of a connection apart from judicious badge engineering. There’s no Lotus here…

      1. Yes, we didn’t hear any proud boasting from Eddie when his former team bombed under the names Midland and Spyker.

        1. Lotus are the only real Lotus. This has all been blown out of proportion and could ruin a season full of potential for Fernades’s team.

      2. I agree with psyrng. Lotus racing(tony’s team) is a team that started from scratch, and has employees that left various other teams and joined in. It has nothing in common with the classic lotus team, other than the licenses acquired from James Hunt.

        Lotus Renault have never really owned the racing team anyways, but since they are the owners of the road car brand they can cal it Lotus Renault or Lotus Whatever. Neither teams are the real thing.. and just because Tony got there first by buying licenses and celebrating their 500th GP doesn’t make him the original one either.

        Its a battle of the fakes.. I really do not care who wins. As long as there aren’t four identical looking cars on the grid next year with almost identical names, it should be ok.

        1. Saying that Tony’s team has nothing to do with the classic Lotus because he started from scratch, is ridiculous. Even if the real Team Lotus never closed, at 2010 it could be very possible that they wouldn’t have even one of the employees they had in 1994 and not even be in the same factory. So in the end the only real similarity with their founder will have been just the name like Fernade’s team.
          So what makes a team be what it is?
          It’s the spirit of course and the legal rights of the team.
          Unlike Lotus Renault-Renault Fernade’s has both.

          1. Oh knock it off. That’s such nonsense. Of course when a team stays in existence and it evolves, that’s something completely different from a malaysian team slapping a Lotus badge on their cars. Don’t insult our intelligence by claiming that it’s sort of similar.

        2. You may have just solved it Todfod! Maybe their should be 4 JPS black and gold Lotus-Renaults on the grid next year. The confusion will incur the wrath of everyone and inevitably cause one of the teams to back down. Though Fernandes isn’t truly the old Team Lotus resurrected, he sure has more claim to it that that bully Danny Bahar, who only seems keen to cash in on Renault’s good form and turn Lotus into some kind of Aston Martin, Ferrari wannabe. That is not what Lotus is.

          I hope all the proud Lotus owners from around the world step up to save this historic company from destroying itself. Kick Bahar to the kerb, kick the Malaysians to the kerb, keep building the light weight sports cars and actually tie in with the great team they already have racing in F1, the one run by Tony Fernandes.

          1. This has triggered quite an interesting debate.

            Just what is it that makes us believe in a team when they carry a name.

            McLaren is certainly an evolution of Bruce McLaren’s efforts (but an outsider may be hard pressed to pin point anything apart from the name).

            As it stands there’s only Ferrari, Sauber & Williams that have a clear and definite traceable lineage that stands from the name alone.

    2. Bartosz Grabski
      8th December 2010, 14:22

      Of course neither.

      And I don’t see any problem with the current situation as many here below. With regards to Lotus history I can’t see Tony Fernandes team as any kind of heir of ‘the real, one and only, and so on’ Lotus just because he bought the name (and not a working team) sooner than someone else. It’s the same with Genii – they just bought the name from a company which ‘accidentally’ also has Lotus in its name.

      So for me it’s perfectly OK that there will be one Team Lotus Renault F1 (or Lotus Racing Renault F1) and Group Lotus Renault F1 (or Lotus Cars Renault F1) or whatever they decide to call themselves, as I think FIA will only decide to dispute the names not to be identical. And sponsors will be happy too, as one of the teams will probably be a good challenger next year.

      And they can have the same name and livery, too – after all it’s not that easy to distinguish between Red Bulls and Toro Rossos nowadays on TV, either (even their drivers have problems with finding their pits sometimes ;) And, continuing the parallel, ‘Red Bull’ and ‘Toro Rosso’ mean the same, anyway.

      And I don’t get all these ‘histo(e)rical’ arguments – there’s no history there, just a five-letter word.

      1. Bartosz Grabski
        8th December 2010, 14:27

        P.S. Remember Lotus Notes or Lotus 1-2-3? ;) Maybe we can buy the name and start another ‘historical’ F1 Team?

        1. Some of us unfortunately still suffer daily with the quirks & features of Lotus Notes. :D

          1. Heh, nothing wrong with Lotus Notes. Except for admins ;)

      2. Comment of the day.

        1. Haha! A Lotus 1-2-3 car would DEFINITELY crash all the time

          1. So, let IBM buy another team and rebrand it as Lotus (And preferably engine from Renault) after the Lotus Notes brand.

            So, the formula 1 grid will look like a pond of Lotus :D

  2. I vote Tony Fernandes, as I suspect the overwhelming majority of people will. I think he’s earned the respect of people up and down pit lane, and from the fans – so much so that if he had to change the name to something like “Fernandes Grand Prix Engineering” because of the name clash, his team would be able to survive. And you never know, they could become like Williams one day, another “name” brand.

    On the other hand, Lotus Cars are pretenders to the title. Dany Bahar has clearly seen the success and popularity of Lotus Racing and wants it for himself. Or rather, for his own brand. Such selfish motivations mean he’ll never be worthy of any claim to Colin Chapman’s legacy. Unlike Tony Fernandes, Bahar’s Group Lotus would not have the support needed to stand on their own two feet. Unfortuantely, since Fernandes can survive on his own, that would give Bahar claim to the Lotus name – which he doesn’t deserve.

    1. Totally Agree 100%

      1. Its Hammer time
        8th December 2010, 11:10

        I whole-heartedly agree with both of you and voted for Tony. However…

        if this situation persists, one of the Lotus brand teams are likely to score regular points next year, and with the best will in the world, it isn’t likely to be Tony’s team. How long will his meagre budget last when sponsors start leaving.

        Danny Bahar et al have engaged in predictory pricing, bought in to a team rather than actually have the back bone to build their own car, and will rack in the credit off the back of the enstone racing teams effort and expertise.

        Its a sad situation. If there were any justice in the world, the FIA will block the inclusion of the name Lotus when it is officially submitted.

        1. I dunno, Renault really threw a lot at this year, and even asked for an advance on their championship money. Their budget for 2011 is a lot smaller than 2010. There is some talk that they’ll probably slip behind Mercedes and back towards Williams and Force India.

          Lotus Racing on the other hand are only moving onwards and upwards. Mike Gascoyne seems pretty convinced the team will be able to chalk some points on the board next season.

          1. As ever it will come down to small percentages, on which team will perform the best espcially now that they will be running the same engines. I have the feeling that renault will have better aero and the best driver, but redbull might develop a trick KERS for its customers so who knows!

        2. I expect the FIA must take some action against two teams being called Lotus and using black and gold livery. But then again, when have the FIA been predictable lately?

          1. I expect them to sit back and do nothing.

    2. Totally agree!

      1. I too voted Fernandes. This is just a total scam to make money out of Fernandes’ hard work. Such a shame that Renault aren’t going to continue as they were. But seriously, how on Earth do Renault/Lotus cars think the FIA are going to allow them to enter with the same name and livery as an existing team?! Just imagine if someone came along and decided they would start a team called Ferrari, with a red and white livery and Santander sponsorship! There would be an outcry! And honestly, I don’t see how this is any less ridiculous. It is a real shame, but this has turned me off the team from Enstone. :(

        1. Agree with everyone here – Fernandes bought the Lotus name and used it. Lotus Cars want to steal it from him after they found out how F1 can be a good pubblicity.

        2. Jarred Walmsley
          8th December 2010, 19:00

          Definetely Team Lotus/Lotus Racing is the correct team, while neither team is the “original” persay Lotus Racing has certainly done the most to try and gain the respect of those involved in F1 and I believe they are the real Lotus in F1

    3. Also totally agree that the 2010 team have the ‘moral’ right to the name.
      The only shame is that as far as I can tell, in either scenario there will be no benefit to Lotus road cars from the F1 R&D which seems crazy.

  3. I’ve been a massive fan of Lotus road cars for a long time, but I’m starting to get pretty disillusioned with them since Bahar came in. First the change of philosophy away from lightweight fun (ok, I can understand that for financial reasons even if I don’t necessarily like it – and I bet the new cars with be spectacularly good anyway), but the main reason being the change in attitude from themselves being this little company of enthusiasts sticking it to the big bully companies to now being a bully company themselves.

    1. Have you seen the next Elise? It’s an abomination, not a Lotus.

      1. exactly. I said I don’t like their change of philosophy with the road cars, even if I can understand it from a financial point of view. I’ll put any money saying its still going to be an excellent car though, just more homogenous.

        The change of design philosophy is part of a what i see as a change of company spirit. Away from being a plucky group who do their own thing and compete with the big boys to being just like the big boys. They way they are trying to bully Fernandes into submission is further evidence of this.

  4. Tony Fernandes has bought Team Lotus from David Hunt and they are the real Lotus F1 team. Group Lotus – the car company – have never raced in F1.

    Colin Chapman specifically set up the two companies this way to protect them from each other – if one went bust the other was safe.

  5. I was very dubious about “Racing Team 1Malaysia F1 Fernandes Norfolk F1” to start.

    But they’ve been a worthy addition to the grid and next year should be interesting!

    Dany Bahar just appears to be a madman…

    1. That sums it up pretty much.

      Dany Bahar appears to have a plan that involved borrowing loads of money from the banks (underwritten by Proton) in order to completely change Lotus Cars.

      I can see that falling flat because unlike Ferrari or Mercedes, it’s a small niche manufacturer and pretty much unknown in places like the US.

      It also has a whiff of smoke an mirrors about it to me.

      The smart money is on it all collapsing in a few years time, with the Malaysian government looking to offload it to save the embarassment of losing more money. I wonder if a certain Tony Fernandes will be waiting in the wings to reunite the two companies and turn a state disaster into a private success like he did with AirAsia…

      1. It also has a whiff of smoke an mirrors about it to me.


  6. Seems to be a large element of ‘cashing in’ by Lotus Cars with this move.

    Fernandes got their first, is deeply passionate about doing justice for the brand and has built a great team. Unquestionably it goes to Lotus Racing.

  7. I bet the sponsors of both teams are pretty unhappy about this..

    1. No such thing as bad publicity ;)

  8. 1) Tony F has without doubt earnt the right and respect to race as Team Lotus. Group Lotus have as yet done nothing but posture.

    2) Team Lotus acquired the Lotus F1 brand from David Hunt, if anyone can draw a line back to the original Lotus F1 team its Team lotus. For Group Lotus to suggest they have any connection with the original F1 team is ridiculous and libellous.

    3) There are workers at the Team Lotus factory in Hingham that worked on the original Lotus F1 cars for the original F1 team. I doubt there is anyone in Group Lotus who can make this claim.

    Hopefully the UK courts will clear this up for us. I would hope a decent bloke like Kubica is embarrassed to be associated with this mess.

    1. Exaclty. Why on earth does Proton not use the option of going for Team Lotus to promote their brand at premium rates and with full consent of everyone involved?
      It would certainly win the fans hearts to do so.
      And Bahar would have more time to actually build and market those cars they want to bring to market soon.

      1. Exactly, it’s ridiculous because the whole thing doesn’t even help Proton. Even if they won in court and could be the only Lotus they will still be spending millions in F1 when they could have be spending absolutely nothing and gaining free advertisement by having Fernades running by himself.
        Seriously the stupidity of Bahar is beyond limits.
        For every other manufacturer such a thing will be a dream come true. Having an F1 advertisement without spending anything. And yet this idiots had a gift in their door and they kicked it away.

    2. Very, very well said.

      Fernandes did the hard yards by starting a team from scratch, That deserves our respect.

      I can’t feel the same way about a group who buys and sues their way into F1, rather then earning their place with hard work.

  9. Neither Malaysian Lotus? LOL JOKE

  10. Since Team Lotus was never part of Group Lotus, I vote Team Lotus as the rightful heir to the legendary team.

    But only since they bought the rights to the name from David Hunt. Before maybe it was in spirit, but certainly not legally, which now (imho) they are.

    This makes it a lot harder for my own f1 system to distinguish the various constructors (chassis names) from each other. Now we have the old Team Lotus, Lotus Racing, the new Team Lotus and Lotus Renault (if they change the chassis name as well).

    1. Group Lotus were NEVER a racing team.

      Team Lotus were. end of story.

  11. It’s clearly Lotus Cars. End of story.

    1. Based on what? A heritage they don’t have?

    2. Why? Lotus cars have never raced in F1.

    3. Colin Chapman separated the two companies for good reasons. One for building road cars and the other for racing in F1. Dany Bahar is ignoring this, and you are too. Come on, it’s not THAT difficult to grasp. Get any 10 year-old to explain it to you, he should have no problem getting his head round it.

      1. Chapman definitely separated the two companies — and arguably that was a good reason, given that Team Lotus eventually went bankrupt, but unfortunately it gives rise to the current mess once the two are not effectively controlled by a single entity (Chapman).

        Other car makers have come and go in F1 — Mercedes-Benz and Renault comes to mind — but the F1 team is the subsidiary of the road car company, and you’d never be able to buy the IPs for the F1 team even when the manufacturer is no longer racing!

        Perhaps Lotus Cars ought to have bought back the assets of Team Lotus and thus avoid the whole mess (David Hunt could have obtained a license from them had his attempt to resurrect the F1 team succeeded).

        Then again, at the time the F1 team folded, Lotus Cars was owned by the same holding company as Bugatti, which was also in dire financial straits, so perhaps they can’t spare the cash…

    4. and it will be the end for you too

    5. Are you serious?

      Lotus cars never had much to do with Team Lotus apart from the owner (Chapman) and shared interests for promotion of their brand.

      Now Lotus Racing/Team Lotus convinced a lot of fans, the Chapman family and David Hunt he is in it for the racing and is allowed to officially take on the Team Lotus entity.

      Lotus cars in comparison never even bothered to convince anyone of their racing spirit and are starting to turn their backs on fans of the Lotus cars with bigger, fatter and a lot more expensive cars without the agility their fans could brag about.

      1. I think someones trying to rattle our collective cages.

        This Dany Bahar just seems to be relieving himself on Tony Fernandes’ bonfire.

  12. I will be supporting Lotus Racing as the true Lotus team. I will support Robert Kubica but not his team.

  13. Thank you very much Keith for the “neither” option, because regardless of emotions artificially steered by Fernandes and co, this is the closest to the truth.

    1. you might be right Cyclops, but seeing you’re a Cyclops, I guess you can’t see both sides of the story, so the dead center neither is the safe answer.

      1. LMAO that’s a classic!

      2. As I see it, there’s only one side of the story – facts.

        I simply ignore the emotional side of this mess, I don’t care about the “feeling” people have about both teams. There are only facts and they say Lotus Team doesn’t exist since 1994. Today we only have labels, which both parties simply bought at some point.

        1. Yes, in this kind of things, emotions are aside. It’s about who has the rights to use the brand.

        2. Jarred Walmsley
          8th December 2010, 19:03

          However would you not agree that sometimes the emotions are the facts, such as the Chapman’s families emotion of giving their blessing to Fernandes?

  14. To me, starting up an F1 team from the ground up seems more Lotus-like than merely buying and renaming an already successful and established team. Fernandes and Gascoyne get my vote.

  15. As far as I’m concerned, Team Lotus (Tony Fernandes’ team) was given a solid endorsement by both the Chapman family, and by David Hunt (who had made it clear he’d only ever allow the team to be resurrected by someone who embodied the ethos of the brand), which means they have the right to consider themselves the proper continuation of the historic Lotus team.

    Team Lotus should absolutely not become a publicity machine for a faceless multinational investment group, simply bent on throwing their commercial weight around and bullying smaller teams into submission.

    This feels like a big mistake from Renault, who still have the whiff of the crashgate saga hanging around them like sour milk.

  16. How can the FIA allow this? They wouldn’t even allow Sauber to drop BMW from their name afer BMW’s withdrawal. What’s next? A bootleg Ferrari team?

    1. Teams are free to change their names, it’s just they cut ties with their own team history which has implications when it comes to the TV rights. Teams undergoing rebranding like this have to be considered new teams in commercial terms and so give up their rights to the money they may have been entitled to, which is why Sauber kept the BMW moniker.

      There’s some ambiguity though where the responsibilities of the FIA end and it becomes a matter for the commercial rights holder to look into (bernie ecclestone and co), since there is a responsibility for the teams not to bring the sport into disrepute in such a way as to harm the commercial viability. It’s all about money at the end of the day. And politics of course. Legal disputes are one thing, and interpretations of commercial rights laws are naturally at the heart of the dispute, however don’t expect that there won’t be some political wrangling between the CRH and the investment group behind Dany Bahar. Money is really the key motivator for this change, from the perspective of Renault and Bahar anyway.

      Tony Fernandes at least went through the process of establishing as many ties as possible with the Chapman family, with the intention of bringing the Lotus team back to F1. Money obviously drives all these decisions but you do feel there’s a certain sentimentality about the 2010 Lotus team and the way they’ve conducted themselves. For Renault, on the other hand, the rebranding has nothign at all to do with history, and everything to do with selling cars, which is not something the original Team Lotus were ever about – Colin Chapman was really only ever motivated by a desire for success at the top level of motorsport.

    2. The BMW Sauber case was different, in that Sauber there was the partner to the actual BMW name. Lotus is a sponsor, so the FIA probably can’t intervene. But that probably won’t stop Bernie from doing it on behalf of FOM.

      1. If Renault sticks with the Lotus-Renault name for 2001, they will loose the 50 or so million they get from tv right. that’s a lot of money by any team’s standard. not only that it will take them 3 years of top 10 finishes before they can return to earn a column 1 Tv right purse.

        what Genii capital is doing is not very smart financially, and its commercial/sporting intelligence has a long way to go to be proven. not to mention that Kubica might be free to leave now, since his contract was with a team called Renault…

        i still don’t get why Lotus/Proton didnt go to bed with fernandes’ outfit… it makes much more sense, and has a passion to it…

        1. Actually Renault won’t lose money. Lotus Cars enters the team as title sponsor officially, so it will be like Vodaphone McLaren-Mercedes or Petronas Mercedes GP.

          As far as Proton + Fernandes goes, I think it’s cold calculation. Fernandes’ Lotus is simply to weak racing-wise, so it was really a no-brainer to get involved in RF1, as they have the potential to be title contenders.

          1. But it also didn’t cost Group Lotus a lot to have Fernandes team racing – and this year he will likely have moved up the grid; Renault might have stayed where it is, moved up, or slipped due to apparent lack of investment – so it isn’t all that certain as a money maker (except to say that Kubica seemed to think it wasn’t slipping or he’d have left).

        2. i still don’t get why Lotus/Proton didnt go to bed with fernandes’ outfit… it makes much more sense, and has a passion to it…

          Danny Bahar’s ego being of considerable size is the reason. If he joined up with Fernandes, Fernandes will still be the charismatic leader who created the team.

  17. I say they both do, they are two different companies who just both happen to have the name Lotus. I think this opens the F1 door to Lotus Sanitary Products and Lotus Bakeries. Lets get all the Lotus companies into F1 and rename half the field.

    I cant wait to see what the commentators make of this :)

    1. YES, have Fernandez sign a sponsorship deal with Lotus (both of those companies have a nice Lotus flower emblem) and stick it up to Bahar.

      Still this is going to be a great mess and i would be interested to see what the other teams make of it.

      Just think of having FOTA meetings to agree on something when both of these teams are present! Not to mention the racing with 4 almost identical cars.

  18. This is a real disappointment and I believe it should be stopped. It is infact an embarrassment to F1 and Bernie needs to throw his weight behind this one. I respect the Lotus team and what Tony Fernandesand his team have done with the outfit. It’s a shame the that Lotus the brand is has become so political it’s willing to tarnish it’s reputation by embarrassing itself with such petty branding instead of supporting him. It’s also a big mistake for Renault, they showed great improvement this year after separating themselves from the “spygate” scandal. I was really looking forward to seeing what performance Robert Kubica can ring out of that yellow machine next year, now I will just be cringing every time I see car on track. Shame on you Bahar!!! You should be Wikileaks on hit-list

  19. Neither are the real Lotus, but Fernandes owns the rights to Team Lotus and has the endorsement of the Chapman family. What more could you ask for? They appear to be a good, solid outfit with a clear plan for the future and they’ll be around for a while.

    Bahar is all about selling a few more road cars using the Lotus name and riding on the back of Renault’s success. The people I feel sorry for in this are the Renault guys – It’s making them look bad when they really shouldn’t.

    1. Neither are the real Lotus, but Fernandes owns the rights to Team Lotus and has the endorsement of the Chapman family.

      Yes, I agree. If anyone embodies the “spirit” of the old Lotus team it’s Tony’s outfit. Though I sometimes get frustrated with their PR (“Of course having the black-and-gold livery will help us challenge for the world championship immediately, if not sooner”) they have on most accounts been a welcome addition to the grid in 2010.

      I also agree with what you say about Renault. They come out of this looking bad when all they’ve really done is do a deal with a loon like Bahar.

      1. Renault didn’t do the deal with Bahar, that was Genii. Genii bought out Renault and sold a stake to Group Lotus.

        1. Yep, fair point. So Renault are actually even less guilty of anything than I suggested. But they still look like the bad guys.

        2. Well, they sold their share to Genii, no doubt knowing of the plans – they said they wanted the team to be solid and present for a long time in F1 when they sold it before, so I think they had to approve of Genii’s plans with the team. So it seems that Bahar has got to them too, in their eagerness to sell.

          The Enstone team itself isn’t really to blame I guess, but Renault, well, I think it is a lack of due diligence to saveguard their own reputation.

    2. I completely agree with everything you’ve said Dan.

  20. I will not vote, since I sincerely think both teams should carry the Lotus banner. The more the merrier.

  21. As we have, for several years now, 2 Red Bull teams I don’t really see the problem from a spectator viewpoint. A for the technicalities and legalities, well thats down to expensive lawyers to drag out.
    But in reality, Lotus (UK) team which ran in 2010 have bought the name to race with, and manufacture a car in UK. The have the right to use Lotus as the car name, and sub that with Renault to satisfy the engine supplier. Team Lotus Renault.
    New pretenders, have bought shares in Genii racing who keep the Renault name to keep an existing entry to F1. So Renault is the car with a sub of Lotus to satisfy shareholders. Team Renault Lotus.
    Problem solved. thank you.

    1. Footnote, for all the world who follow and watch, whatever the legal decision outcome maybe, we will all still call them Lotus and Renault.
      And thats the important bit.
      What we the paying public want to see.

  22. neither of them are real lotus, they don’t represent Team lotus in anyway… but atleast lotus cars have a reason to brand themselves as lotus… it would help them sell their cars etc etc… but Tony has no reason to brand himself as lotus, what is he selling to whom? team lotus was a part of the lotus cars if i recollect & the success of original team lotus must have helped lotus cars to attract more buyers etc etc… Tony’s position is totally insane, let’s get real he does not represent team lotus in any which way. Holding the ashes of past does not make him the true representative of team lotus. Period!!

    1. Completely agree with you mate.

    2. Team Lotus were a sister company to the Lotus Cars operation, and the two weren’t actually commercially affiliated in any legal sense. The F1 team existed solely wiht the intention of winning at F1, not for selling cars. Team Lotus were a manufacturer of F1 chassis, not a team with a car company as a financial backer.

      In this respect, Fernandes is far closer to the original intentions of Team Lotus, being in it primarily for the racing, and not for any specific commercial interests. And they make their own cars, whereas Group Lotus are more or less just paying for advertising space on the Renault-built car with the intention of promoting their brand of cars.

      1. Tony Fernandes is no Collin Chapman…

        he is just an business man who is trying to use lotus brand to meet his financial goals.

        1. True. If he was like that, he would take a lot more risks, only for racings sake.

    3. team lotus was a part of the lotus cars if i recollect

      Then you recollect wrongly.

      Team Lotus was owned by Colin Chapman, Lotus Cars (aka Group Lotus) was owned by Colin Chapman. That does not make them the same company.

      1. Jarred Walmsley
        8th December 2010, 19:06

        Indeed, that is like saying Jaguar is actually Volvo, when they are two seperate entities owned by the same parent company.

  23. The people with the rights to use the name ‘Team Lotus’ are the real ‘Team Lotus’, and that would be Fernandes and Co.

    If Proton-owned Group Lotus were that sure and certain and confident that they had use of the ‘Team’ aspect of Lotus, then they would be renaming the Renault team as for 2011… “Team Lotus Renault”. But they aren’t, so they can’t.

    Having said that, as Proton do own ‘Group’, there is nothing stopping them calling the team “Group Lotus Renault” next year, and forging their own racing legacy.

    If anything, as Proton gave Fernandes the licence to use the ‘Lotus’ name in F1 in 2010, it would only have been the ‘Group Lotus’ name. So the 2011 Renault team could be seen as a continuation of the 2010 Group Lotus licenced team, because that’s what it is… a Group Lotus team; and the 2011 “Team Lotus” team could be seen as a brand new team, which last started a race in 1994.

    So next year, there is going to be “Group Lotus Renault”, the F1 team brought to you by the same people who make the Elise, and “Team Lotus Renault”, from the people who essentially, bought you 7 F1 World Constructors Championships.

    And this, in theory, is always the danger of splitting a car company into two, a road division and a racing division. If the two entities ever fell into seperate hands, you end up with the two teams wanting to be the same.

    Either way, its all a muddle of confsing mess.

  24. A few points to make on this.

    1: Group Lotus never raced anything, Team Lotus did the racing.
    2: Several teams like RBR and Ferrari already have their name on more one car so no problems there.
    3: The financing which enables Group Lotus to buy the remaining stake in the Renault outfit shows desperation, and all this from a car company who are loosing money. Very strange.

    My vote would go to Lotus Racing, no contest. Group Lotus should have nothing to do with racing cars.

  25. I can’t believe Tony Fernandes has won all this respect by buying the Lotus name.

    Neither of them are Lotus and this whole thing is just pathetic.

    1. Lots of people were sceptical of the Lotus thing right from the start … but Fernandes has won their respect by appearing to embody so much of the spirit of Chapman’s team and gaining the blessing of his family. To say that all Fernandes has done is buy the Lotus name is simply unfair. It’s what he’s done with the name that has impressed so many people.

      They are the nearest thing to the “true” Lotus that we’re ever going to get, and certainly a whole lot nearer than Bahar and his crew.

  26. I voted Lotus Racing – the current team, as they didn’t jump on the bandwagon like the “new” team.

    However, the Lotus Renault GP team have a greater probability of scoring points next year [and winning?], so perhaps we should be backing them to bring glory back to the Lotus name – rather than being a back of the grid team.

    Nice colour scheme – welcome back Team Lotus [Loti]?

    1. So you’d support Chelsea or Man Utd in football because they’re more likely to win?

      I support Team Lotus because I think they’re a team that deserves my support and I like what they’ve done with themselves.

      If I wanted to support a team just cos they win then I’d be switching my allegiance to Red Bull Racing…

  27. For those saying that Team Lotus is the real Lotus, your wrong. Just because they stayed “true” to the Lotus history, it had NO financial backing from Lotus or Proton. Lotus-Renault GP are the real Lotus because they are partially OWNED by Lotus/Proton. So Team Lotus has a name and no Financial backing, while Lotus-Renault GP have the name and the Financial backing. Lotus want their name at the front, not the back, and you will too when in 2011 you’ll vote Renault-Lotus GP the real Lotus.

    1. Jarred Walmsley
      8th December 2010, 19:15

      That would be true if the racing team was owned by the road car team, However due to complex legal reasons namely to keep one team afloat if the other collapsed they were completely seperate companies and at no point did Group Lotus own the rights to the Team Lotus name.

      However, is there anything against rebadging the engines, i.e. could the Group Lotus Renault simply go as Group Lotus Racing having rebadged the engine as a Lotus?

      Because then we would have

      Team Lotus Renault
      Group Lotus Racing

      1. Right, thats why TEAM LOTUS is in NO WAY related to Lotus. Lotus-Renault GP is because it is partially owned BY Lotus!

        1. Jarred Walmsley
          8th December 2010, 22:17

          I think you missed my point which was that Team Lotus was founded by Colin Chapman who also founded Lotus Cars and Lotus Engineering the later two later merged into a single entity called Group Lotus HOWEVER Team Lotus i.e. the racing team was kept as a separate entity.

          Thus Lotus-Renault GP is the car company and Team Lotus is the racing team.

  28. I was up at Hingham a couple of days ago to meet the Fernandes crew (not the man himself) and not just are they real racers, they’re real *Norfolk* racers, which counts for a lot when it comes to the Lotus heritage.

    Of course, likely most of the Lotus Group workforce are too. But Bahar isn’t – he’s a global brand builder.

    In truth, they’re both legitimate successors – to the two different strands of Lotus. Bahar makes cars. Fernandes races them. Should be the end of story.

    And once the house of cards upon which Lotus Group’s finances are built collapses, and all the bank debt comes back to haunt them, it will be.

    But I’ll tell you what – if that court hearing results in the Hingham bunch no longer being able to use the Lotus name, it’s going to hurt them personally. No badge engineering going on there, they’re genuine in their intent to represent the name and the legacy.

  29. I voted ‘Neither’. Tony Fernandes has done a great job this year and it’s probably unfair to take the Lotus name away from him now. What Lotus Cars are doing now is cynical and stupid. But Fernandes’s team has not much to do with Team Lotus as well. Team Lotus is history and no team should use that name in F1 today.

  30. 1Malaysia Lotus are the ‘real’ team to me, and I figure that if they hadn’t announced the Black/Gold contest last month ‘the other Lotus team’ wouldn’t have taken the concept (to be honest, some of the entries from the contest look nicer than the 2011 Renault now :D).

  31. Tony has brought the real “Lotus spirit” to the F1 world. The spirit that has been missing from the series for a long time.

    I see this whole name dispute just as Protons feeble attempt to buy their spot in the sun (as they missed the last joining period) and “steal” and profit from the good foundation Tony has built with the good name of Lotus.

  32. Bahar must be the stupidest person ever….

    He wants to develop his brand by investing in a team to compete… against his own brand.

    Should have invested the money in ‘Team Lotus’, save money on these ridiculous legal battles and get on with going racing, no brainer.

    1. but its not HIS brand, its a different brand that shares essensialy the same name.

      1. Legally they may be different brands, but when I think of team lotus I still think of Lotus road cars, as will a majority of fans.

        All this move will do is paint group lotus in an extremely unfavourable light.

  33. UneedAFinn2Win
    8th December 2010, 13:50

    WHY ?

    How do they think what comes out of this is in any way positive for Proton?

    The PR damage they are going to accumulate between now and when the cars roll out in March is unimaginable.

    The news outlets have very little to report during the off-season, so this will stay as a topic for a while, so it will get analyzed and mulled over in a negative light for months.

    And they are going to come out looking like a fake, or a bully or just a bunch of (plural profanities).

    They are underestimating the F1 public, and the impact of what Lotus did in their first year of business. Fans love them. I mean LOVE them. So they are not going away or switching over, they will stay with the team.

    I wish I knew Malay for “big mistake”

  34. im backing the Tony Fernandes team next year.

    Tony has built up a good team for next year and years to come and i believe that Tony is more interested in continuing the history and legacy of Lotus. Lotus cars are just doing this because their not happy and being mardy.

    Also the family of Colin Chapman has already given their prase to Tony Fernandes and have said that he is the guy to continue the legacy of Lotus.

  35. While I still probably lean towards neither team being the real Lotus, I would defiantly choose Lotus Racing out of the two in this naming dispute.

    Lotus Racing have got the support of the Chapman family and have built up a lot of goodwill with F1 fans over the last year.

    As Lotus Racing will use Renault engines I think this could mean Lotus Cars have the power to win the naming battle, when the Renault engine deal was announced it was with 1Malaysia F1 Team not Lotus Racing.

    So when does everyone think this will be sorted, by end of this year, before the car launches and testing or will we really have two Lotus Renault teams with black and gold livery?

    Personally I think it will be sorted before the 2011 car launches in favour of Lotus Cars. If this is the case I defiantly will not be supporting Renault/Lotus Cars.

  36. Group Lotus is a stakeholder and title Sponsor, but the team is still called Renault, so it should be pretty straightforward:
    one Lotus is competing against, Vodafone, Marlboro and Petronas while the other one is racing against McLaren, Ferrari and Mercedes.
    I know which one I’m going to call Lotus

    1. Haha! That’s a nice way of putting it. But some reports say that Group Lotus has a 25% stake in the Renault team. They’re not merely sponsors like Vodafone or Petronas. So even though I’d love it if things were that simple, they aren’t.

  37. Neither. The only real Lotus pulled out in 1994 and should be left in peace.

  38. After all, Lotus Cars is just a sponsor of Renault,and they will still be competing in the name “Renault” as the Constructor. Lotus Racing/Team Lotus will run as “Lotus” in the Constructors’ Championship, so ultimately, Team Lotus is Lotus, but Lotus Renault is Renault.

  39. Lotus died with colin chapman, period. These people are idiots, make your own legacy.

  40. Neither, Lotus died with Colin Chapman. Where are the conspiracy theorists on this one? Sadly, in the U.S., any publicity is “good” publicity. Both are getting a ton of free publicity with this stunt. Renault are supplying the engines to both teams. They will have this squabble, gain a ton of publicity; they will call a tenuous truce and say lets fight it out on the track — still more drama and publicity.

  41. We Want Turbos
    8th December 2010, 15:06

    I fear that Colin will be spinning in his grave!! This is terrible! I was sceptical last year about Mr Fernandez’s team, however he has proved to be a real racing fan, Not just a corporate trying to splash his brand about!! Someone please correct me if I’m wrong but Lotus Cars was set up to fund Lotus racing?? Colin Chapman was a racer, a legend! Just hope this years (Real) Lotus car is a little less conservative.

  42. Tony all the way,

    I could list all the reasons again, but everybody who’s for Tony (69 % last I checked!) has already said it.

    And I for one hope they will one day break that glass that says “in case of victory” and hope to see tony throw collin’s cap in the air ! :)

  43. Why not called the 2009 team “Original Team Lotus”?

    1. Jarred Walmsley
      8th December 2010, 22:21

      Because there was no 2009 team? :D

  44. I’ve long despised the idea of being “true” or “real” about something. Frankly, I simply see the team for what they are: a new, ambitious and enterprising team trying to work their way up in F1. Something EVERY team had to start at at some point. A rose by any other name, etc. Lotus has endeared me with their homage to it’s previous incarnation, they’ve impressed me with their progress and determination. For that they’ve made me a fan. Should they be called Uncle Bob’s Ice Cream Whizzbangs, I would still appreciate what they’ve done.

    1. That’d be a great name for them… and Renault could be called “Marketing Guru Lacks Integrity F1.”

  45. if both teams are on the grid next year with those black and gold liveries everyone is then going to be watching who finishes the season in the best position.

    Although im supporting the Tony Fernandes team because i believe he cares more about the history and the legacy behind the Lotus name, the new Lotus Renault GP will surely beat Team lotus in the championship.

    Although Team Lotus say they have designed a very good car for next year, they aren’t going to suddenly be up with the top 5 or 6 teams, which means Lotus Renault will beat them next year.

    1. if both teams are on the grid next year with those black and gold liveries everyone is then going to be watching who finishes the season in the best position.

      I won’t. There is no comparison between a team that has been started from scratch and a team that has been around for decades and is bought by Proton.

      That would essentially be the same as comparing Lotus Racing vs. McLaren or Ferrari.

      One really can’t realistically put both on the same line for comparison.

      If Lotus Racing gets even close it will be a victory of sorts :)

  46. dyslexicbunny
    8th December 2010, 15:41

    I prefer Tony’s outfit. The reasons have been made in previous statements. The arguments are equally valid for Group Lotus. But ultimately, they are definitely a new Lotus entrant as they have no previous F1 experience. That’s not to say that Tony isn’t either. As long as neither history claims the original Lotus’ accomplishments as their own through name, then I’m fine with both.

    But the most interesting part is that we got ourselves the big deal for F1 this year. I do think the cars should be required to have something noticeably different in their livery though if they do go with the same base colors. Like front wing color.

  47. I still think that Lotus Racing nor Lotus Cars can be and shall be the real Lotus in F1. The real Lotus in F1 was Team Lotus and this F1 racing team, sadly, ceased to exist at the beginning of 1995. Lotus Racing is ‘just’ another new team in F1. And Lotus cars just buys itself a proper, existing, racing squad.

  48. I do think that Lotus car company should have the right as they are a manufacturer, I better see them coming then a constructure.May be I am wrong but if they come as an engine supplier in the future ( 2013) then it will be better.

  49. F1 is not what it used to be. Now you have a Malaysian team making an English car, and an English team giving its name to the French, who aren’t French but Spaniard’s.
    So I am asking everyone, would you like to see Ferrari team owned by the Germans, or McLaren owned by the French?

  50. chapmankillie
    8th December 2010, 16:13

    But Lotus Cars are not manufacturers of F1 cars and never have been. They are merely sponsors of the Renault team. Lotus Racing / Team Lotus is an F1 constructor as was the original Team Lotus.

  51. I suspect no-one will notice this, but I’ve done a diagram of how we got to this ridiculous situation…


      (and I love the “Oh Nicole!” Nice touch.)

      1. Couldn’t resist :)

    2. oh, thanks :)

      it pretty much says that both are legal..

    3. nice man!!! helps a lot to see the clear picture!

    4. Is that a stereotypical Norfolk family tree…. (Ducks for cover). :P

  52. If Fernandes bought a license to use the name from Group Lotus last year, it depends on the terms of the license. If it was for one year, Fernandes is out of luck. But I am sure he is a much smarter man than that. So somebody has to wade through the details. And the Team Lotus name is another twist. It sounds to me like the issue is where it should be: in the courts.

    I don’t see why there couldn’t be two teams on the grid that are using that name. It seems like the Lotus car company would then have twice the exposure and why not be happy about that? The problem is they can’t be the same colors, so the FIA would probably have to settle that. ?

    1. Can they not be the same colour? Lotus and BRM used to be the same colour and we must have had other teams in the same colours – the red bull’s for example

  53. LewisC has made a brilliant chart!

  54. Does anyone know whether Bernie Ecclestone and Tony Fernandes are friends?

  55. Yay! Everyone overreacts!

  56. Lotus formula one teams are like buses – you wait ages for one to come along and then two come at once…

    1. ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, ;)

  57. Clearly there have been and continues to be two companies with a similar name and two distinct areas of business. Unless it’s written into a contract or terms somewhere what is to stop Lotus cars from going racing and there is no way Lotus cars can stop Lotus racing from racing, (though maybe they can stop them building road cars).

    This is not unheard of just look at Triumph Motorcycles when the new company bought the name and started out they thought they where going to build original Bonnie’s only to find that license had already been sold to the company who to this day continue to make and supply parts for this motorcycle.
    Ownership of a brand is passed or sold on complete with any conditions that go with it. There are clearly two brands here, the question is are there any restrictions as to use?

  58. AFAIK Proton only bought the Lotus road car rights and not the F1 team. Indeed, Proton were quite taken aback by the fact that what they had bought didn’t include the F1 team.

    Chapman did the usual thing of making sure that motorsport and road car production were kept seperate to avoid any legal hassles should one or the other find itself in trouble.

  59. To me, the “real” Lotus died when Chapman died, just as the “real” Ferrari died when Enzo died. What we have left is just badge engineering.

    1. Jarred Walmsley
      8th December 2010, 22:24

      So according to that logic there are no real teams left in F1 then?

  60. I hope Team Lotus luck into a wet weather win at Spa or Silverstone this year, just to sock it to Lotus Cars for jumping on the F1 band wagon the easy way – by investing in an already proven team.

    1. They’d need a top wet weather driver for that, and as far as I’m aware there are quite a few drivers better in the wet in better cars… I agree though it’d be great to see them do better than Renault, but I doubt that’s gonna happen in 2011. Maybe 2012 or 2013 when the new regulations come in.

  61. I voted neither. I think it’s too far away from the brand Lotus as it was.

    Bring on Red Bull Racing. Bring on Virgin! Let us watch as new F1 history unfolds.

  62. With the options in this poll, the answer is ‘neither’, since Tony Fernandes’ ‘Team Lotus’ isn’t on there. Remember: that’s their official entry name. That team is the closest to anything that may be considered the real Lotus.

  63. Neither. Lotus was Colin Chapman’s team and no matter how many old personnel, name rights, logos etc. will make your team it. They were away for too long, the break too severe for this to be them “coming back”.

    Fernandes’ team may have the Chapman family’s blessing but that doesn’t mean much either. If I had a famous father in business, I too would like the name resurrected, but it wouldn’t be my father’s business if 16 years had gone since its dissolution, even if they got the odd old manager back in.

    That’s why you won’t see any bluster from me about Proton’s latest move. The posturing may be childish, but they weren’t the first to try and run off someone else’s good name.

  64. I like Will Buxton’s take on the matter: (paraphrased)
    “I don’t call McLaren ‘Vodafone’ so why would I call Renault ‘Lotus'”

    1. Because Vodafone aren’t part-owners of McLaren.

  65. That’s a farce!
    That’s not my team any more.
    I’m so f…

  66. Why still debating? One could find another name…say…Brabham!

  67. I’m hoping to race a Lotus Exige in Australian GT Championship next year, with a Toyota engine.

    I like the idea of the road cars linked to the F1 team.

    But in truth i don’t feel either F1 team have enough Chapman DNA to qualify as the ‘real’ Lotus.

    And as a marketing professional I would suggest that the projection of brand is being done terribly in both cases. Name does not equal brand.


  68. ConfusedLotusFan
    8th December 2010, 21:49

    Lotus Racing, as next year they will (hopefully) be Team Lotus

  69. Dany Bahar has now come out and said that four Lotus cars on the grid “suits him”. Of course it suits him! He’s getting free publicity from Fernandes!

  70. Of course it’s neither, but last year I supported “Team Lotus” and I will continue to do so in 2011

    1. Uh, that should read This Year

  71. I read an article somewhere when the arguments about Tony buying “Team Lotus” started which states that what Tony bought may not actually give him the right to run a Lotus team but does give him the right to prevent anyone else from using the Lotus name in F1. So could Tony actually prevent Bahar from using the name Lotus next year?

    1. If the courts uphold the law…

  72. Lotus Cars looks like they are in F1 for the money.
    Lotus Racing on the other hand, has Fernandes and a Team focused on winning in F1.

    So basically Lotus Cars has no Heart..

  73. If the team has the backing of the widdow and son of Colin, it has the right to use the name & therefore is the Lotus. I feel on balance the backing of his family & his mechanics from Classic Team Lotus weigh heavily in Lotus Racing/Team Lotus favour.

    I have no respect for Group Lotus, I will no longer support them or Kubica, who I admire, but will not support as long as he is a part of that team.

  74. Unfortunately, my prediction is that in a couple of years time the Lotus brand will be completely ridiculed by these clowns!

    Moral lesson from this story: never sell your brand name (and especially to people who have no respect about it)

  75. Blake Merriam
    9th December 2010, 8:01

    Frankly, Red Bull has better brand integrity at this point. “F” Lotus.

  76. it depends which way you look at it, lotus racing are the real lotus f1 team and group lotus are the real lotus car manufacturer.

    for the record, the new lotus renault team make no claim to the original lotus f1 teams history, or accomplishments.

    it’s a silly argument, but i really doubt that group lotus will allow tony fernandes to race with thier brand name anymore….

    1. Daniel Bigham
      9th December 2010, 10:12

      It isn’t Group Lotus’ history to licence out, it’s Team Lotus’ history, which Group Lotus didn’t acquire, David Hunt did. Please read http://www.saveteamlotus.com/

      1. i know, what point does that make? as i said the new team aren’t claiming the history. they are being sponsored by the company group lotus.

        for me it’s a pointless argument, group lotus can sponsor whoever they want. i don’t imagine them being overly happy with a second team using their brand identity though.

        i think this will be resolved in there being one lotus team, lotus renault gp and the other team being known as 1 malaysia racing.

        it’s a shame, but at the end of the day we should be glad that lotus the brand are back in f1. it may not be the same team, but at least lotus are involved rather than just selling the name.

        1. Actually Group Lotus have said they don’t mind there being two Lotus’ because it means “THEY” have four cars instead of two.

  77. As much as you can argue that no team is Lotus in the classic sense, it’s not really about that. The fact is that Fernandes had the backing and has done the name proud. They have built a fanbase and seem like a good bet for the future. It’s disrespectful to drag the Lotus name into disripute and the only people doing that are Lotus Group.

    Had they finished 12th it makes you wonder whether or not Group Lotus would be here now making their stake with Renault.

  78. Didn’t the early Lotus Europa models come with Renault power? They did here in the US.

  79. I really don’t care who the real Lotus is, as they’re both different entities and so be it. However, I do wish the fighting over the name would go away. Certainly in public and the little sniping remarks from ‘green and yellow’ lotus.

  80. I didn’t read all 170 responses but from the first page and “no connection to the history of Team Lotus” comments:

    Litespeed F3 team is made up of original Team Lotus members and were part of the group of engineers that Tony has employed from the onset after the purchase of their F1 entry for the 2010 season when the budget cap fell through. So there is technically a lineage back to the original Team Lotus from the 90’s at least, depending on each of their tenures.

  81. Lotus DNA? – Group Lotus or Team Lotus? who 1?
    Team Lotus VL owned by Group Lotus or Chapman?
    HeHeHe… Like u married widow
    not ur dna but ur wife dna
    same name ok
    how about ur name?

  82. This is typically modern motor”SPORT”….Ever since David Hunt bought LOTUS and devoted huge sums of money and years of dedicated hard work to try and get Team Lotus back on the F1 grid there were SPORTSMEN in F1 determined to stop it happening.
    Of course it can only be Tony F’s team and good luck to them.
    Of course LOTUS cars will automatically benefit however well or badly.
    The only sportsmen in F1 are most of the drivers but some of them forget.

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