Nick Heidfeld, Renault, Monaco, 2011

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

2011 F1 seasonPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

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.”

Lotus naming rights row

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

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  1. Group Lotus had the opportunity to buy the Team Lotus name for 5 quid, but they wanted it for free. Tony then bought that name further complicating matters.
    As I believe, there are no saints in business, Group Lotus have been arrogant with a sense of entitlement, while 1Malaysia, have some other motive outside of F1.
    The 2 dwarfs decided to use F1 as their battle ground, unfortunately they don’t stir up any dust. It is business as usual. They both have no effect on the racing.

    1. Group Lotus had the opportunity to buy the Team Lotus name for 5 quid

      I find that very hard to believe. Have you got a link to support that claim?

      1. I don’t think he literally means five quid. Oliver is illustrating a point.

        1. Exactly, I think it’s a metaphorical £5

  2. commentators and other drivers do call the Renault Lotuses from time to time. It annoys me as we don’t go about talking of Vodafones or Marlboros.. If Bahar wants his car to be named Lotus, he should build it and not just be title sponsor. That’s why I’ll always support Team Lotus, they did it the hard way in line with the old Lotus Maverick spirit starting from scratch; while Group Lotus thinks throwing a wad of cash at Renault makes them the ‘real’ Lotus.

  3. I put off reading this article purely because I’m just sick to death of the issue.

    Oh, and btw, that doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate you covering it Keith, I’m just fed up as most people are with this situation.

  4. Jimmy Chopin
    3rd June 2011, 10:44

    The only thing Lotus about Renault is the sticker on the rear wing. The whole mentality of Lotus is what Tony Fernandez’s team exemplify.

    Dany Bahar is a corporate slimeball as I said he couldnt even say which DECACE Lotus last partnered with Renault. You think he deserves to be called Lotus?

    The team used to be Renault, before that Benetton F1, before that Toleman. It isn’t Lotus.

    1. But the only thing Renault about Renault is the engine. The team’s more Lotus than it is Renault. They sold their share.

      1. That’s like saying McLaren is more Vodafone than Mercedes!

        I consider the engine to be quite a big part of being a team. A lot more than the paycheck for it. Or would you call Ferrari Marlboro?

        1. I wouldn’t call a McLaren a Vodafone, but I also wouldn’t call it a Mercedes.

          The Ferrari example isn’t quite the same, as the team is owned by the Ferrari/Fiat car companies. Lotus Renault GP use a customer Renault engine; the Renault car company has no stake in the team at all any more. Group Lotus do.

  5. I find the decision by Group Lotus to appeal on the grounds of confusion bizarre. If you read the full judgement, the judge is very clear that Team Lotus has all the history and is associated with F1. Whereas Group Lotus is only associated with sports cars, but he had no problem with Group Lotus entering F1 as well. If Group Lotus actually ‘win’ the appeal (which is probably unlikely) and only one team is allowed to use the word Lotus in F1, then from what the judge has already said, it’s almost certain to be Team Lotus!…. that seems a very brave appeal to me.

  6. Next time Bahar will go to court trying to change all people from saying “Wassup dawg” to “How do you do, sir” ;)

    I acutally find this case very interesting. Two different companies are now able to use the same logo but only one may use the logo with “Team Lotus” under it. I don´t think anything will change after the appeal but it will be interesting to see if the ruling will be changed.

  7. It’s true that most people call one team “Renault” and the other “Lotus”. So there isn’t much confusion.
    However, that’s exactly what Group Lotus doesn’t want. They want to be associated with the black and gold Lotus, not the green and yellow Lotus.

    I totally understand their continuous battle in court and I support it. I don’t know much about the legal issue, about naming rights and who owns what. So from a legal standpoint TF might well be right. But I think it SHOULD be that the company that is called Lotus can decide which F1 team is allowed to associate itself with that automaker.

    On the other hand, I don’t understand TF either, especially not since he now owns Caterham. Where’s the advantage for him in naming the F1 team after Lotus? It would make much more sense to call it Caterham and use it as advertisement for his company rather than somebody else’s.

  8. Bahar’s appeal. If it fails, does he stand to lose anything extra (sorry, can’t think of a better word) by the judge slapping him with some injunction or other? Is there any risk involved? For example, could they lose the right to use ‘Lotus’ at all in F1?

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