Bahar ‘determined’ to win right to call team ‘Lotus’

2011 F1 season

Nick Heidfeld, Renault, Monaco, 2011

Nick Heidfeld, Renault, Monaco, 2011

Group Lotus chief executive officer Dany Bahar says they are “more committed than ever” to secure the use of the name ‘Lotus” in F1 despite their defeat in the high court last week.

In a statement issued by Group Lotus, who sponsor Renault, Bahar said the company were appealing the ruling to clear up “confusion” among fans and “F1 commentators who use the word ??Lotus? interchangeably for both teams”.

Here is the Q&A issued by Group Lotus today:

Following the result of the naming rights court case, is there an update regarding Group Lotus? F1 involvement?

Dany Bahar: The judgement grants Group Lotus the rights to use the name ‘Lotus’ and the Lotus roundel on their own within F1, we are, therefore, even more committed than ever before to our long term plan within the sport.

“The Judge also found that Team Lotus, run by 1Malaysia Racing Team, has the right to continue to race in F1 under the name Team Lotus and using the Team Lotus roundel.

“As a consequence, it is inevitable that the similarity of the names Lotus and Team Lotus will cause confusion not only amongst F1 supporters and the wider public, but also amongst F1 commentators who use the word ??Lotus? interchangeably for both teams as demonstrated throughout the season so far.

“With the full support of our parent company, Proton, we are seeking leave to appeal so that this point can be clarified for the benefit of all interested in F1.

“With regards to our involvement with Lotus Renault GP, as Lotus we stand united with Genii Capital and have every confidence in the future success of Lotus Renault GP.”

This must have also been an interesting time for your parent company Proton. Does this have an impact on your relationship?

DB: “They have followed the court case with great interest and like us, they are looking forward to the matter being brought to a close. More importantly than the on-going F1 naming issues, the past year has been an extremely important one in Group Lotus? history and Proton has played, and continue to play, a crucial role in our development.

“One of the most critical elements of this support has been assisting us in securing the funding for our future plans. I am happy to confirm that this is now all complete thanks to Proton?s help and, together with Proton, we can focus on completing the five year business plan to return Group Lotus to profit.

“We have an incredibly strong relationship with Proton, they support us 100 per cent and frankly this is really important for a company like ours. Part of the business plan is the joint development of a global small car platform meaning that for the first time in the Proton Lotus history, the relationship will be mutually beneficial. This alone should demonstrate how close we are.”

With F1 and a complete new car line up, there seems to be a lot going on at Group Lotus, what?s the status regarding Lotus Cars and your activity in motorsport generally?

DB: With road cars we?re in a good position, we?ve completed year one of a five year plan and we are making good progress on the development of the new Esprit which will be the first of the new models to go on sale.

“Based on the feedback we have received since the unveiling in Paris from customers, the media and the industry, we have made some adjustments to our plans. For example, feedback regarding the Elan showed us that it was too close in style and positioning to the Esprit, and so as a consequence we have delayed the delivery of the Elan – delayed not cancelled. This allows us to focus more of our attention on the Evora which I believe has fantastic potential.

“We are now concentrating our efforts on making sure that the quality of the Evora matches its undeniable performance. Another major development that has come about as a consequence of the feedback we received is that we are now developing our own engine to use in our future cars, creating even more the ‘pure Lotus experience’.

“With regard to motorsport, everyone always asks about F1 but for us, it?s not just about F1, given that motorsport in general is a key ingredient to our marketing strategy. We have always been and will always be an automotive brand that is associated with racing.

“Congratulations to Nick Heidfeld on his result in Monaco, when he came in eighth to earn valuable points that pushed him up a place in the Driver?s Championship to sixth; whilst Tony Kanaan did a great job coming fourth at the Indy 500.

“We want to win though, not just participate. But we don?t expect everything overnight, we start slowly and gradually build up our presence in a way that makes sense for our business. Look at our involvement within IndyCar, we started last year with one car, now we have three and from next year onwards we?ll be offering engines. People always question the cost but, believe me, if we couldn?t afford it we wouldn?t do it.”

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124 comments on Bahar ‘determined’ to win right to call team ‘Lotus’

  1. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 2nd June 2011, 20:21

    F1 commentators who use the word ‘Lotus’ interchangeably for both teams

    I can’t think of many examples of anyone who might be termed a ‘commentator’ referring to Lotus as Renault.

    If you’ve got any please share them below…

    • mantolwen (@mantolwen) said on 2nd June 2011, 20:25

      The only person I’ve ever heard refer to the Renaults as Lotuses was Sebastian Vettel when Nick Heidfeld got the podium in Malaysia. In the commentary, they’ve always been careful to clarify between the two teams.

    • dyslexicbunny said on 2nd June 2011, 20:28

      I don’t think the Speed guys mix them up either. I believe it’s just Lotus and Renault.

      • US_Peter (@us_peter) said on 2nd June 2011, 21:05

        I remember the SPEED guys referring to them as Green Lotus and Black Lotus early on in the season, but that was in context of explaining the whole mixup, and intended in a somewhat ironic or mocking tone I believe. It seems Bahar has trouble understanding sarcasm.

    • is he watch the race at all?… I mean via LIVE telecast on TV

    • Guilherme (@the_philosopher) said on 2nd June 2011, 22:32

      I think our commentator here, Galvão Bueno, did call Renault as “Lotus” for some time at the beginning of the season, however he’s saying Renault now.

      I think it’s funny, Bahar talking about confusion between the two teams and all. You never hear someone saying “the Vodafone team” or “the Malrboro team”. Renault is just Renault, and Lotus is only a title sponsor. As such, it’s name should only appear on press statements. I think commentators and journalists should move to clarify that to the wider public, or else we might also start saying “AT&T” before Williams everytime we want to talk about the team.

      • Burnout said on 2nd June 2011, 23:15

        But something like that happens here in Asia. In the Star Sports commentary Steve Slater, the lead commentator, always refers to Mercedes as Petronas Mercedes. Nobody else on the commentary team does that. A personal sponsorship deal perhaps.

      • Pedro Sobota said on 3rd June 2011, 17:29

        They also call Red Bull “RBR”, Toro Rosso “STR” and Virgin “VRT” here in Brazil which is irritating as I guess their sponsors which are competitors of Red Bull don’t want they to say “Red Bull” on air and so on. Let’s call McLaren “MC” and Ferrari “F”, how about that.

    • Xanathos said on 2nd June 2011, 22:42

      In the german press, especially the non-motorsport press, I’ve seen it several times that Renault is referred to as Lotus-Renault.
      I wonder what Bahar paid them for that…

    • Chippie (@chippie) said on 2nd June 2011, 23:19

      Reading this story I was just about to rage-post this very point. You took the words right out of my mouth Keith, no-body calls them Lotus!

    • Journeyer (@journeyer) said on 3rd June 2011, 2:09

      Steve Slater, Star Sports. He has occasionally called them Lotuses – straight as. He now calls them Lotus Renaults. The only other team he calls in a similar vein is Petronas Mercedes. The rest are called by their chassis names.

    • Sushi Meerkat (@sushi-meerkat) said on 3rd June 2011, 8:34

      I can’t think of many examples of anyone who might be termed a ‘commentator’ referring to Lotus as Renault.

      Martin Brundle actually said Lotus Renault when Heikki’s engine died a few races ago.

      As a consequence, it is inevitable that the similarity of the names Lotus and Team Lotus will cause confusion not only amongst F1 supporters

      No confusion from any F1 fans I know, I think you have racing team envy there Danny, you are just a title sponsor.

      I did get confused when my sister got out her Vodafone Blackberry Curve, for a moment there I thought she was rocking a McLaren in her handbag.

      • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 3rd June 2011, 9:01

        Martin Brundle actually said Lotus Renault when Heikki’s engine died a few races ago.

        That makes sense to me – like saying Red Bull-Renault or Williams-Cosworth.

        But you’d call Renault ‘Renault’ in the same way that you’d refer to Ferrari or Mercedes.

        • Sushi Meerkat (@sushi-meerkat) said on 3rd June 2011, 13:20

          That makes sense to me – like saying Red Bull-Renault or Williams-Cosworth.
          But you’d call Renault ‘Renault’ in the same way that you’d refer to Ferrari or Mercedes.

          I put that mistake down to the Renault engine as well.

          The Renault thing is odd since its not really a Renault anymore, it goes to show I took the hypocritic oath because I applaud that my fav team in Renault is still in F1 but I dislike Bahar and his goons at Lotus.

          Re Miskates; If you want to see mistakes use the subtitle function on your TV, one error of note was instead of “an outbreak of rain” was “quali stopped due to an Outbreak of TIGERS!”
          RUN AWAY RUN AWAY!

    • Ben Curly said on 3rd June 2011, 8:41

      “Let’s ask ourselves some convenient, softball questions”… This kind of fake Q&A formula always makes me laugh.

      Also, the “confusion” argument is just silly and pretty tired by now. I can’t think of a single person who’s genuinely confused by it or has problems distinguishing these two teams. So they have similar names. Whoop-de-doo. No one has any problem telling them apart, everybody knows who drives the green cars and who drives the black ones. It’s a non-issue.

    • smifaye (@smifaye) said on 3rd June 2011, 8:58

      I think David Coulthard called them Lotus at Spain

    • Has DC not reffered to them a few times as Lotus on the commentary on the BBC??

    • Fixy (@fixy) said on 5th June 2011, 17:01

      On RAI the main commentator calls Lotus Lotus and calls Renault Lotus Renault, but that’s the only case in which he uses the main sponsor as part of a team name.

  2. Ian roke said on 2nd June 2011, 20:28

    I do remember Coulthard mention the Lotus when it was Petrov in Australia. Never since though.

  3. We want to win though, not just participate. But we don’t expect everything overnight, we start slowly and gradually build up our presence in a way that makes sense for our business.

    if he wanna start slowly and gradually; why in the hell he waste time in court; when he can co-operate at minimal cost with Team Lotus and avoid all these legal mess.

  4. S.J.M (@sjm) said on 2nd June 2011, 20:39

    So Lotus are spending lots of money making 5 new cars to compete against Porsches & Ferraris.. spending lots more money sponsoring a F1 team who uses another car companys name.. and now spending even more money to clarfy the name ‘Lotus’ for use in F1. How on earth are they making any money ? It must be a pretty big cash pile for them to use @ Proton Hq.

    Anyone else find it really patronising or getting fed up that they say that people watching F1 will confuse Team Lotus with Lotus Renault? Lots of people who watch F1 know more then just the names of some car makes and can tell the differences.

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 2nd June 2011, 21:22

      The worst thing is, even Proton itself does not have that pile lying around. They had the Malaysian government arrange friendly banks to loan it with govt. guarantee!

      Yeah, the cars look different, the teams are different and act different, so why would anyone confuse them?

    • Dipak T said on 2nd June 2011, 21:24

      Dont forget commiting finances towards developing an IndyCar engine. And bodykit. And an LMP2 car.

    • Journeyer (@journeyer) said on 3rd June 2011, 2:12

      There is a somewhat valid point with the confusion. Renault has Lotus on its rear wing, but it’s not Lotus at all…

      But Bahar would’ve been better served by working with Tony (who can fund that team on his own), and conserving Proton’s own funds to build road cars. Then again, Dany’s always wanted to run an F1 team (see Red Bull, Ferrari).

      • TheBrav3 said on 3rd June 2011, 5:22

        It’s not about the fans being confused at all. It’s about it being the last legal leg they could hope to stand on before admitting after 20 years that proton the car company has spent a billion dollars attempting to steal colin chapman/david hunts formula one team. Ok they wont admit to that but they will give up on the legal stuff and probably the lieing to unless they want to get sued. It has already been ruled there is only one team called lotus and they have the rights to the history.

  5. The New Pope said on 2nd June 2011, 20:46

    Sure. Whatever you say, Renault.

  6. mantolwen (@mantolwen) said on 2nd June 2011, 21:04

    Justice Peter Smith was very clear in his judgement: when Team and Group had their 1985 agreement they put in a clause about if GL wanted to go into F1 and there was also TL, TL had to use ‘Team’ with ‘Lotus’ at all times and Group COULD NOT, this anticipates the very situation we have now. And the orchestrators of the agreement didn’t see any confusion in having Team Lotus and another Lotus team not at all connected to TL on the grid. So that continues through to today, and there is no confusion.
    When Max Mosley was called as a witness, he said that Lotus was a special case because of the history of the team. So there would be no confusion because fans understand. It’s not like someone comes and decides to start a second Williams team when they have no right to the name.

  7. Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 2nd June 2011, 21:22

    I think I’m going to enjoy Bahar squirm. A lot. Group Lotus are now stuck in F1 paying for a team referred to 99% of the time by the name of another car manufacturer. That’s what Bahar is upset about. He wants everyone to call Renault “Lotus” and no-one will do that when there’s another Lotus team out there already.

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 2nd June 2011, 21:27

      And he should be. I would think this has his seat rocking heavily by now.

    • Dipak T said on 2nd June 2011, 21:31

      He seems to take nothice of everything but the facts. And perhaps the most important fact is, that team in Renault. Doesnt matter what the paint job is, or how big they write the word Lotus, or even if the team insits on referring to iself by its convoluted name.

      As a constructor, they are Ranault. To the FIA, they are Renault. To FOM they are Renault. To the world, that team is Ranault. Bar post hypnotic suggestion on a global scale theres not a thing he can do to change it. Im not confused, and neither are the rest of the fans – its incredibly insulting to state that the situation confuses us.

    • matt90 (@matt90) said on 2nd June 2011, 21:35

      People are just as likely to call them Lotus as they are to taking Red Bull and calling them Infiniti. Perhaps he should have done more than just stick the name on the side and also not done so when there was already a team with an almost identical name.

    • Cacarella said on 2nd June 2011, 21:40

      To be honest I don’t understand why he cares so much. He’s got 4 F1 cars going around the track all over the world with the LOTUS name plastered all over them. If he was Ferrari, Porsche, or some other high profile company I could see him getting upset but its Lotus! Give me a break!
      If it wasn’t for this no one would ever be talking about this car company.

      • Shimks (@shimks) said on 5th June 2011, 10:03

        Exactly. Which other company in F1 gets free advertising from a rival team on track! He should have kept his mouth shut from the beginning and not done this Renault deal. I bet there are a lot of F1 fans out there around the world that would have bought a Lotus road car by now if it wasn’t for Bahar’s ugly mouth.

  8. MVEilenstein said on 2nd June 2011, 21:41

    Really don’t care anymore. Wish this story would go away.

    The black cars are Renault. The green cars are Lotus.

  9. F1Yankee (@f1yankee) said on 2nd June 2011, 21:45

    that court decision is as pathetic as the mess it was supposed to resolve. team lotus, you are team lotus. lotus-renault, you are renault, or genii, or whatever, as long as nobody else is using or has used the name you pick. if you are unable to pick an appropriate name by the beginning of the 2012 season one will be appointed to you, probably “team donkey dung” or similar.

  10. Graham said on 2nd June 2011, 21:47

    The situation of having two teams with the name Lotus in F1 was caused by Bahar in the first place, he went and sponsored the Renault team and insisted on putting Lotus at the front of the new name. He is a typical American, if he can’t get his way he’ll sue someone. Just stop wasting your money and invest in Group Lotus before Group Lotus goes out of business.

    • MVEilenstein said on 2nd June 2011, 21:53

      Typical American?

    • dyslexicbunny said on 2nd June 2011, 22:23

      Except he’s Turkish by birth and was raised in Switzerland. But thanks for painting us all with a single brush.

    • flowerdew said on 2nd June 2011, 22:33

      Dany Bahar
      From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

      Dany Taner Bahar (born Taner Bahar 1971 in Istanbul, Turkey.[1]) is the Chief Executive Officer of Group Lotus Plc having joined in September 2009. Prior to joining Lotus, Bahar was employed at Ferrari S.p.A..[2][3]
      [edit] Personal life

      Bahar moved to Switzerland after his family emigrated to the town of Silvaplana in the mid-1970s. His father was an electrician and his mother worked part-time in a hotel.[1]

      wikipedia

      • Pedro Sobota said on 3rd June 2011, 17:48

        Somehow I now know that Dany Bahar’s mother worked part-time in a hotel. Maybe this whole story has taken enough hours of attention from me already.

  11. MuzzleFlash said on 2nd June 2011, 21:49

    From Wiki:

    “This article is about the Formula One team which started competing in 2010. For the 1958–1994 motorsport team, see Team Lotus. For the team that merged with Pacific to contest the 1995 Formula One season as Pacific Team Lotus, see Pacific Racing. For the team that is sponsored by Lotus Cars and races as Lotus Renault GP, see Renault F1.”

    That sums it up for me.

  12. AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 2nd June 2011, 21:52

    we are now developing our own engine to use in our future cars

    That’s the most interesting he’s said. The more potential F1 engine suppliers the better.

    • Dipak T said on 2nd June 2011, 22:03

      I think hes referring to road cars. I think the only motorsports engines they are producing are the new V6 turbos for IndyCar and thats being done by Judd I believe.

    • Burnout said on 2nd June 2011, 22:03

      Only if the grid expands to accommodate more teams. As things stand we have 4 engine manufacturers. PURE is likely to have an engine ready by 2013. There’s also talk about how Porsche and Honda may be interested in returning. Add Group Lotus and I don’t see how it’ll be sustainable to have 8 engine makers with only 12 chassis constructors.

    • S.J.M (@sjm) said on 3rd June 2011, 0:09

      If only they’d supply Team lotus with some, then it can look like

      Lotus Team Lotus
      Lotus Renault GP

      Then theres 3 (count’em) uses of the word Lotus on the grid. If that doesnt sell lots of Pond Plants, i dont know what will… oh no wait!!

      • DVC said on 3rd June 2011, 2:28

        The Engine Manufacturer always goes second, so it would be:

        Team Lotus Lotus
        Lotus Renault GP Lotus

        At the moment it is:

        Team Lotus Renault
        Lotus Renault

        If the engine is the same only one name is used i.e. it is Ferrari not Ferrari Ferrari. So this is why we currently have Lotus Renault and not Lotus Renault Renault. But Team Lotus is different to Lotus, so if they used Lotus engines it would be Team Lotus Lotus.

        Did you follow all that?

        • Maksutov said on 3rd June 2011, 12:23

          lol.. very confusing..

          Lets just see what happens next year. I believe it will come down to who has more money..

  13. Burnout said on 2nd June 2011, 22:00

    On a side note, I wonder what Carlos Ghosn has to say about all this. Renault gets all the publicity of running their own team, and they’re probably the only major manufacturer making a profit out of F1 now.

    • Xanathos said on 2nd June 2011, 23:47

      He’s propably laughing so hard when asked about F1 that he can’t say anything anymore.

  14. Burnout said on 2nd June 2011, 22:08

    He also said Proton and Lotus are developing a small-car platform. Are Lotus making any FWD cars in their new line-up? Or is it a Fiat X1/9 sort of thing with a small car front-end fitted to the back?

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