Lopez has no concerns over tobacco branding

2011 F1 season

Renault F1 team owner Gerard Lopez says he has no concerns over objections to his team colour scheme on the grounds that it may infringe upon the tobacco advertising ban.

Speaking at the launch of the Renault R31 Lopez said:

No, there are two reasons. Number one is we haven’t got a relationship with a tobacco company.

The second reason is, even if we had, there’s another famous team racing around in a colour that is not a typical colour and is very close to a cigarette manufacturer.

Black and gold is very simple, we just wanted something to be really classy, something to be iconic. When I was a kid my first pocket money went to buy a black and gold Formula 1 car.

When I bought that car, even as a teenager, it took me quite a while to understand the car’s sponsor was a cigarette manufacturer. It took me a lot of time because I wasn’t aware what JPS was. The fact is what we’ve done here is a colour that we believe is iconic but for sure there is no interest in promoting anybody’s brand.

If somebody has a problem with that, they have a problem with a non-issue.
Gerard Lopez

He brushed off concerns that it might break laws in Canada, where F1 races, saying: “It’s an issue that they have, not us.”

Lopez described his joy at bringing a classic colour scheme back to F1 despite the ongoing row with Team Lotus. He said:

Really it’s a personal choice of the management. We love the colour scheme and we have done so since we started talking to Lotus. So there was no question in our mind what colour the car would be.

It’s a big personal satisfaction. It’s really great so that’s why I find it sad when somebody kind of claims passion and heritage and so on and so forth. Probably there’s some truth, partial truth in that.

But the fact is for me it’s a big win, honestly, because for me it’s the most iconic car livery out there. I mean, there’s the red of Ferrari and so on but this is one of them and to be linked to that is really a dream come true.
Gerard Lopez

Lopez added that he had not considered changing the team’s constructor name to ‘Lotus’, saying:

No, because we’re honest about it. We’d have lost money. Rather than bullshit people we actually say the truth.

The fact is we have a Renault engine, we have a Renault partnership so we have a right to keep the Renault name, but at the same time had we changed it there would have been issues with the TV so we never thought about it and we never claimed anything else.
Gerard Lopez

He also said the team would not have to remove the Lotus branding from their car if they lost the court case with Lotus:

No, because any company has a right to promote its product in Formula 1. That’s what we’re saying.

And nobody has the right to take somebody else’s name and, at most, by coincidence, call it that way. But don’t claim the heritage.

Somebody brought me the [Lotus] release from last night and I mean it’s so blatant it’s almost funny.
Gerard Lopez

Group Lotus have an option to buy a stake in the Renault team, which Lopez’s company Genii now owns entirely, he said:

We bought the 25% left from Renault.

So we own today 100% and Lotus is sponsor number one and they’ve actually purchased an option that gives them the right to buy a certain stake in the team within the next two years.
Gerard Lopez

Lotus naming rights row

Browse all articles on the Lotus naming rights row

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49 comments on Lopez has no concerns over tobacco branding

  1. Scribe (@scribe) said on 31st January 2011, 16:33

    Meh, honnestly they would say that. If Ferrari get away with it with an actually relationship to Marlboro, if Renault got into trouble for replicating a historical livery? That would be truly disgraceful. I can’t help but like this team, their car is just soooooooooooooooooooooooo pretty, an THE DETAILS, the flicks swishes and radical suspension. A fanatics dream I tell ye.

    • Fixy (@fixy) said on 31st January 2011, 16:38

      The fact is that Ferrari’s rosso corsa was adopted way before Marlboro entered F1, and Ferrari has kept it always. Lotus have used that colour only becasue they were receiving money from JPS to have it that way.

      • Scribe (@scribe) said on 31st January 2011, 17:20

        What’s the Rosso Corsa got to do with it?

        Italy’s national racing colours and Ferrari’s use of them have nowt to do with Phillip Morris owning the outside of Ferrari’s car. The connection is activley publicised to keep Marlboro in everybody’s minds. That, while being indirect, is advertising pay’d for by a tobacco company, it’s illegal in Europe and I belive in Canada. That it is allowed to continue is atrocious, only Ferrari are allowed to get away with it, basically it’s cheating. They have received close to billions since the ban on tobbaco advertising from an illegal source, some would say an immoral source, an it’s a massive advantage for the team and the company.

        The JPS Lotus thingy is kinda differant in reality, but in a way they are advertising for JPS. It may not say JPS on the car but everyone knows it as JPS livery. You might say that’s connection enough, however, they arn’t receiving money from a tobbaco firm, they’ve got it on the car specifically as a hommage to a famous and well loved historical livery, not because it’s for JPS. Taking tobbaco names of of historical cars, an banning historical Tobbaco liverys is a level of political correctness I’m just not that comfortable with but that doesn’t mean I don’t take the point. Frankly I’d prefer Lotus Renault invented their own livery but I do love a bit of retro everynow and then, an the car looks good.

        In the end, Lotus Renault arn’t taking tobbaco money, arn’t specifically mentioning or crediting JPS anywhere in their press release or name. They are using JPS imagery, but only up to a point. Ferrari are not only using Marlboro imagery, they’re still encouraging and raising awareness of their connection. That’s really the differance.

        • bananarama said on 31st January 2011, 17:42

          Ferrari has always been red and will be red forever, no matter who the sponsor is. They didn’t make their livery in order to advertise Marlboro. Lotus on the other hand sold themselves to anyone who came around the corner with money. JPS livery was always JPS livery and nothing other than that. Its nobodies racing colours.

          Marlboro and Ferrari are happy the way they are Lotus and their livery are happy, I think we should be fine too. The whole argument is ridiculous.

          • Mike-e said on 1st February 2011, 0:56

            Maybe the red has nothing to do with it but you cant seriously be telling me the new ferrari f1 logo isn’t marlboro inspired. Also being identical to the Ducati motogp logo….. also sponsored by marlboro.

        • BasCB (@bascb) said on 31st January 2011, 18:22

          First of all, the red ferrari uses now was changed to a lighter hue when Marlboro got in as a sponsor, so even the red has something to do with it.

          Makes it even harder to accept Ferrari is getting away with this for years now. They even have the guts to put half a box on the car as logo, and look at their perfume line called Morris!

          And as far as I know tobacco companies and their operating to get coverage or overturn bans, the owners of JPS might well have found a way of giving Genii money without it being as obvious as outright sponsoring. And as shown last week, JPS very actively promote their brand in Black/gold in Germany and Austria at least (enven had a yellow/black edition last year, makes you wonder, doesn’t it?)

          So while it can be exactly like Lopez tells us here, he might be just taking the chance to mirror the reds “success” here (who knows, how much of knowhow on this subject Bahar actually got from his spell at the team).

          • Steve said on 31st January 2011, 19:02

            So what. Its not like people are going to smoke because of the Ferrari.

            And please stop making smoking out to be this evil thing. Almost everyone these days smokes, its completely normal. It might not be healthy, but then what is these days?

            And please, who starts smoking because of the colours on the Ferrari? Without comments like the above, no one would even know that Marlboro was involved…

          • And please stop making smoking out to be this evil thing. Almost everyone these days smokes, its completely normal. It might not be healthy, but then what is these days?

            I’m sorry, what year are you living in? Almost everyone smokes? Do you have sideburns and drive a brown ford cortina? What rubbish. Smoking is banned in public places indoors in many countries, because, oh wait, it kills people.

            I’ve never heard such trout in all my days.

          • Scribe (@scribe) said on 31st January 2011, 22:50

            @bananarama, like I said, this has nothing to do with the Rosso Corsa. It’s got everything to do with Ferrari being payed for by Phillip Morris. Which is effectivley cheating, it doesn’t matter if Ferrari are happy with their relationship with a tobbaco company, what matters is that public opinion, medical opinion and most importantly the damn rules are not. This is not an argument I’m afraid, it’s fact.

            If as BacCB is suggesting Lotus are in fact taking money from JPS well that’s pretty disgracefull but, bit of a conspiracy theory, don’t really think so, t’would be a bit far etc. Fun idea though, verrrry juicy scandal that would be.

            @Steve, I gave up smoking after about four an a half years about 1 month ago and boy am I feeling it still. Lunch time is agony. Never felt like smoking because a F1 team suggested it, I simply enjoyed it, but pull the other one, if you belive that your from another planet.

          • So what. Its not like people are going to smoke because of the Ferrari.

            Well, actually, that’s the problem.
            What your suggesting there is that the advertising doesn’t work. But do you really think Phillip Morris would pay that much money to Ferrari for nothing in return? The perfume called Morris is enough to tell you the money isn’t a gift.

          • Mike-e said on 1st February 2011, 0:59

            The advertising isn’t to get you to start smoking….. its to get you to switch brands.

          • Daniel said on 1st February 2011, 2:53

            @Hare: Maybe he lives in Japan where that is the case.

      • Kenny said on 1st February 2011, 11:12

        The red used by Ferrari since Marlboro became the title sponsor (1996?) is not rosso corsa- it is Marlboro red, a different shade.

        • Kenny said on 1st February 2011, 11:28

          As far as I know, it is not against the rules to be sponsored by a tobacco company. It is against the rules to display a tobacco product’s logo / livery, a rule that Ferrari and PM are stretching to the breaking point this year.

          Mike-e is correct…cigarette manufacturers have understood for a long time that increased market share won’t come via new smokers, so their marketing is aimed at getting smokers to change brands. They also increase market share by buying it, ie, buying other cigarette companies.

  2. Kubica :

    I think Lotus is our sponsor. At least from what I know it is a sponsor,So I could also say it is my dream to drive for Total.

    I don’t know why the hell renault fan boys club can’t see the way kubica see

    • Catalina (@catalina) said on 31st January 2011, 16:53

      It has always been like that. The same way as ING. That quite proves, at least for me, that they’re not claiming any of the “heritage” of the Chapman era.

      • So I think they should just stay as Renault or Genii Racing Team for example judging from Genii 100% ownership of the team.

        so why they so fuss about being a LOTUS? Kubica seems to understand it pretty well.

        • why would lotus buy options to take ownership of the team? why would lotus sponsor a team called Genii or just Renault?

          i think Lotus will end up owning some percentage of the team.. and they will use this platform to promote their road cars and their brand at large.

          the question is what is tony promoting? other than BS.

        • Catalina (@catalina) said on 31st January 2011, 17:34

          but when ING was sponsoring the team its name was “ING Renault F1 Team”. Now that its Lotus the main SPONSOR “Lotus Renault GP” sounds accurate for me.

          • yeap.. and they still renault and not so fuss trying to be ING…

            why when lotus sponsor renault, they trying to be lotus when genii is still holding 100% ownership of the team… until group lotus somehow in the future hold majority shares in the team, I guess for now they should cut the BS trying to be LOTUS

          • Catalina (@catalina) said on 31st January 2011, 17:58

            but I don’t get in wich part are Renault trying to be Lotus. Livery-wise maybe? :D

            I had not heard that they were claiming to be a continuation of the Chapman era. The problem is between Team Lotus and Lotus cars, and wich one of them is the “real” team. So its quite obvious that Renault tends to be defensive in this matter, as they want a better sponsoring image.

            Nice talking to you :)

          • the only reason why they are sticking to Renault cause it will cost of em lot of money if done out of turn. very same reason why last year Sauber was called BMW Sauber Ferrari. It will be renamed as Lotus when they are allowed to change the name. ING was only a sponsor, so is Lotus. But Lotus has bought options to buy certain amount of shares, they can either exercise their option and buy shares or let it expire and leave formula 1.

            i think they will see how F1 benefits their car sales, branding etc etc. and then choose what path they will go.

            but Tony? what is he really doing by promoting (insulting) the Lotus brand? this man is a liar!!

      • bosyber said on 31st January 2011, 17:10

        um. Well, it is now more that the people from the team started disclaiming ever wanting to reach for the ‘heritage’ and oh, the livery? coincidence due to that one big sponsor. Right.

        But Group Lotus did get someone started in F1 under their name last year and let that team claim that history.

        They themselves also did and do claim heritage to 7 WDC’s. And they never stopped claiming F1 heritage even when they changed their mind on the deal they had; the F1 team wanted to continue how they started, and Group Lotus didn’t want the team they helped set up for lack of patience getting to the front, but also didn’t want to pay to stop the deal. They also did want a slice of F1 so ended up paying Renault/Genii a great big slice of cash for hope of getting a quicker result.

        So, yes, it is about money in a way, but it really seems to be about not wanting to honor existing responsibilities, and pride getting in the way of settling the money matter and finding a real solution.

        Genii, by taking the money, and mouthing off, are fueling the fire and helping escalate it.

        I guess the engineers, like Kubica, are just waiting to get started with the racing while the guys “in charge” fight over money and words/history. Let’s see what they can do on track, and what kind of tricks they hide under the bodywork.

        • Catalina (@catalina) said on 31st January 2011, 17:46

          well, I don’t think the issue will continue with the “heritage” thing, thats quite clear. Of course they took the wrong approach at first (both teams), but now I think it’s all about the money.

      • Well they are, they carry Chapmans logo and initials on the front of the car. It’s black and gold cos they clearly acknowledge that. Otherwise they’d paint it some other colour.

        • Catalina (@catalina) said on 31st January 2011, 19:55

          But Chapman’s logo is part of the company, it has never changed. And the livery is just a tribute, it doesn’t have too much of a meaning to me, other than a proper advertising. ING choose orange and some other colors in its time, then Lotus choose black and gold as their ADVERTISING livery.

          Cos you know this is not a Lotus team. This is Renault.

          • Hare (@hare) said on 31st January 2011, 20:33

            Renault hold precision 0% of the shares in the team formally known as Renault F1. Genii hold 100% of the shares according the the latest clarifications.

            So really, it’s not a Renault or a Lotus. Lotus must be keen to buy shares in the team though.

            This article was the last I heard of it : http://joesaward.wordpress.com/2011/01/04/genii-selling-lotus-renault-shares/

            The team has denied that Genii is selling out to Lotus and says that right now the team is 100% owned by Genii. There are talks about Lotus acquiring a shareholding, but this will not be more than 50%, despite the rather misleading reference to a “major” shareholding in the team that was included in the December 8 press statement.

            No doubt in my mind that Lotus want to own the team. Or be sene to own the team.

        • BasCB (@bascb) said on 31st January 2011, 20:11

          And what to think about that slogan of theirs “black to the future“.

          Actually i had a nice read at JS take on that http://joesaward.wordpress.com/2011/01/31/lotus-renault-gp-launches/

          Firstly it is bad taste to link with the Team Lotus racing heritage. Second it highlights the interesting sports car in that movie.
          Which is showing, that this is the second time they have probably been a bit lacking in their research before using it, as DeLorean was 1. not successfull at all and 2. a not so glorious chapter in the entrepreneurial career of Chapman as well (with only his death saving him from probable imprisonment).


          • US_Peter (@us_peter) said on 31st January 2011, 20:55

            As Saward says, one can only suppose that those involved don’t know the history, which just further illustrates how clueless Bahar and Proton are when it comes to Lotus’ heritage and history.

    • The Last Pope (@the-last-pope) said on 1st February 2011, 19:18


      I will support Kubica more now he has said that. The guy just wants to race and win, no corporate BS. I will still wish for group Lotus a swift bankruptcy though.

      Thanks to Bahar, Group Lotus isn’t even the real Group Lotus anymore. The real Lotus don’t make supercars for the superrich. The real Lotus make lightweight sports cars for car enthusiats.

      Oh and this Gerrad Lopez sounds like a idiot.

  3. Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 31st January 2011, 17:12

    Very amusing. The word BS appears in the article but my comment is flagged for moderation for quoting it :D

  4. The edge said on 31st January 2011, 17:44

    This Lopez character kinda reminds me a bit of a snivaling 5 year old

  5. Lopez says

    “…there’s another famous team racing around in a colour that is not a typical colour”

    I gather he is talking about Ferrari here, who have been running around with red throughout their history. What is a typical colour if not red?

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 31st January 2011, 18:26

      Or maybe he is referring to the new Mercedes team who took the aluminium look to conect with its Mercedes works team of old?

    • HounslowBusGarage said on 31st January 2011, 20:02

      ‘Ferrari scarlet’ was changed to the slightly lighter Marlboro red when the sponsorship started. Check the history; Lopez has a point.

      • Daniel said on 1st February 2011, 2:59

        At the time they said the colour change was so it showed up better on TV. That could also be true.

  6. Didn’t Lotus also use that livery with the Olympus Camera sponsorship?

    And nobody complained about the JPS connection last year when Mario Moraes ran the black/gold Livery in the São Paulo Indy 300 IRL race.

    And honestly I’m surprised that it hasn’t been brought up in any of the F1 media that the new Scuderia Ferrari logo looks more like the Marlboro logo then the Barcode ever did.

  7. Crispin said on 31st January 2011, 20:23

    But the fact is for me it’s a big win, honestly, because for me it’s the most iconic car livery out there. I mean, there’s the red of Ferrari and so on but this is one of them and to be linked to that is really a dream come true.

    What about the green and yellow of Team Lotus, the real Lotus?
    Or the Silver Arrows?

  8. Nigelstash (@nigelstash) said on 31st January 2011, 20:43

    It’s just plain ugly! The Merc will win the beauty contest this year by the looks of things.

  9. AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 1st February 2011, 0:00

    Interesting last comment from Lopez… Group Lotus don’t own anything at Enstone.

  10. gabal (@gabal) said on 1st February 2011, 0:20

    If they wanted to have an hommage to JPS livery they should have eliminated red parts of the livery. They are really ruining the look of the car.

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