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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Lotus naming rights row

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

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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…

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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).

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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”

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

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

  18. 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.

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

  20. 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.

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