Kimi Raikkonen, Lotus, Melbourne, 2012

Lotus to keep name until 2017 despite losing title sponsorship

2012 F1 seasonPosted on Author Keith Collantine

Kimi Raikkonen, Lotus, Melbourne, 2012Lotus say they will retain their current name for at least another five years, despite losing their title sponsorship from Group Lotus.

Lotus, which previously competed as Renault, agreed a title sponsorship deal with car manufacturer Group Lotus in 2010.

It took Tony Fernandes’s Team Lotus to court over the right to use the Lotus name last year, and lost.

The team later reached reached a settlement with Fernandes’ outfit which saw the latter rebrand as Caterham and Renault take over the Lotus name.

However the loss of its sponsorship deal with Group Lotus will not mean another change of identity in F1. A team spokesperson told F1 Fanatic it could continue doing so beyond 2017.

The team added there will be no immediate changes to the Lotus branding on its cars.

Genii owner Gerard Lopez told Autosport: “The sponsorship agreement and the obligations of Lotus have been terminated. There is no option from Group Lotus to buy into F1 now – that option was taken over by us. There was one, but we have taken it over now.”

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112 comments on “Lotus to keep name until 2017 despite losing title sponsorship”

          1. This has actually been known for almost a month.Here is a quote from an Adam Cooper article on Speed’s website on March 13th:

            COOPER: Season Of Possibilities For ‘Lotus’

            What hasn’t been widely appreciated yet is that having won the rights to use the Lotus name in F1, Genii and the team no longer have sponsorship from Group Lotus, when we were originally told that it would be an ongoing deal.

            “We have an agreement today for the name, and as far as the sponsorship agreement is concerned, that has been cleared,” says Lopez. “We are essentially in a situation where they don’t owe us anything anymore. They’re not title sponsor, they are a name provider, they are a partner. We are working with them on a number of things. Honestly, it’s a win/win situation because it clarified a lot of things.”

            But wasn’t the whole point of the name change the fact that Group Lotus would continue to pump in funds?

            “No, they don’t have to,” says Lopez. “They were the title sponsor, and it’s actually been solved in a completely different way. They have and they don’t have to anymore, they’ve done what they have to do, to be very precise.”

            The bottom line is that the current Lotus F1 team is in a very similar situation to the Fernandes-era Lotus. It has acquired an attractive brand name which will help it to gain credibility and sell sponsorship, but is getting no financial support – and is thus promoting the Lotus road car division for free.

            “That’s essentially it, yeah,” said a smiling Lopez

          2. Thanks for that Diogenes, very interesting. Can’t say I like the way the current Lotus F1 team management thinks terribly much, if I go by that. I do wish the Enstone team good luck though.

    1. Total farce.

      This whole sorry affair shows how little respect they have for one of the biggest names in F1. They’re a multi title winning team, and have produced another great car this year. If only the suits were as diligent as the race team.

      1. @bleeps_and_tweak – As several other users have pointed out, Gerard Lopez has been named as a prospective buyer of Lotus Cars on a pretty consistent basis. This may be an attempt to sever all ties with the manufacturer so that he can then turn around and buy it without anyone claiming a conflict of interests.

        1. @PM I hope this or some other positive plan is in place for this that we just aren’t privy to. Too much nonsense and drama to have nothing come of the Lotus debacle.

          Glad I didn’t buy into the heated debates and arguments about Lotus last year (and that was just naming). What a waste of energy that all was.

        2. @prisoner-monkeys I’ll be honest I’ve read this article and the Telegraph link below, and I still don’t fully understand who owns what anymore.
          It just seems to be more than a little sacrilegious to have a name like Lotus, one of the most prominent in all motorsport, being constantly bought, sold, transferred etc. Add on to that the fact that the Enstone F1 team are doing such a fantastic job on the track, whilst off it they are changing hands more often than a game of pass the parcel.
          Hopefully Lopez, or someone can put all of the pieces of the puzzle back together and provide a truly secure future for what is a iconic name, and an excellent current F1 team.

  1. However the loss of its sponsorship deal with Group Lotus will not mean another change of identity in F1. A team spokesperson told F1 Fanatic it could continue doing so beyond 2017.

    The team probably know better than I do on this subject, but I believe that when Group Lotus settled with Tony Fernandes last year, the rights to the Lotus name transferred to their ownership. If this is the case, then in the event that someone buys Group Lotus/Lotus Cars and they do not want to be associated with Lotus F1 – particularly if the prevailing view is that Dany Bahar’s plans led to the company’s collapse – then the team may be forced to change their name.

  2. I guess this means that Lopez wants to open up to a paying main sponsor. And don’t forget he is still in the running for actually buying Group Lotus, when the chance arrives.

        1. Can’t see Virgin being interested anyway, F1/major sports aren’t really their style of advertising, too expensive and their product range is too broad.

          The team was only an experiment/vanity project, and they clearly don’t think it was worth it.

    1. Yeah but Kimi doesn’t care what the team is called either. So long as the car is fast.

      They could rename the team the Flying-Spaghetti-Monster (Renault) team and he’d climb aboard without so much as a raised eyebrow.

      That’s why I like Kimi. No drama, he just gets on with it.

  3. There… there really are no words, are there? I almost hope Lotus goes completely user and dies a death now, much as I like the Elise. They’ve messed themselves up beyond belief.

  4. Never good news but I’m glad it’s affecting Lopez and not Fernandes. Only because I think Lopez is in a better position to react.

    I was looking forward to Unilever upping their sponsorship. No Pot Noodle F1 :(

    1. I was looking forward to Unilever upping their sponsorship

      It may happen yet. After Grosjean crashes out of two more GPs, Lotus will dump him and use Unilever money to pry Perez loose from Sauber. Their Lotus title sponsorship won’t be for Pot Noodles though, instead they’ll promote another Unilever brand – Slim-Fast 8)

      1. Not too sure about that… Seems when proton ceased to be the owners of group lotus, Lotus GP terminated the contract rather than deal with the new owners. Also they have unlivere and microsoft money coming in, as well as room for a title sponsor. Danny Bahar was not my favorite human either. I’d say good news.

      1. So there is ‘Lotus’ who make the road cars, and then ‘Group Lotus’ who make racing cars, is that right? ***!? Starting to become a total joke, and destroying a name that was once on par with McLaren and Ferrari. This years car isn’t made by lotus, so why call it one? Its a Renault with major sponsorship by Group Lotus. You never heard the name ‘Mercedes McLaren’ when Merc had a large stake in that team?
        Wish teams like Toyota, Honda and BMW would come back to F1.

  5. Only my oppionion, but I think this entire debacle was simply a way to stop Fernades using the Lotus name and protect their brand. They never really wanted a Lotus team on the grid, but better one which they chose than another random team.

    This is backed up by them withdrawing as title sponsor. All they wanted was to use Renault to get control of their brand back. Now they have done so they are not fussed anymore.

  6. (1) Keeping the name without the $$$s to pay for it is just silly.

    (2) I’m sure the companies actually paying the team might want to have a say in its design. Personally, I can’t wait for the colour scheme to change.

    1. @proesterchen – It’s very difficult to change liveries mid-season. A one-off special livery, like the Red Bull Wings for Life design is okay, but Bernie likes the teams keeping a consistent livery to make it easier to identify the teams. That’s why he opposed BAR’s original plans to have one car in a Lucky Strike design, and the other in 555 colours.

        1. Teams are allowed to change livery Mid-Season but they have to get permission from the FIA & all the other teams.

          This is top stop teams changing livery all the time which is something you often see in Indycar which makes it very confusing for fans (And in cases commentators) to keep track of who’s who.

          1. Which cars / teams have changed in Indycar?

            Several teams have run different liveries through the year.
            Dario runs a blue liveried car now & then (Did at Barber last weekend) & I recall him running a black livery at least once last year.

            Penske changed Helio & Briscoe’s livery a few times in 2010/2011.

            Its quite common in Indycar to have special sponsor deals at some races to take advantage of sponsorship from local companies or for some sponsors to come on depending on what network its been broadcast on.

      1. The livery is one thing – the second is all of the merchandise and stuff. Summing it up, it’s still better to keep up the old name and livery than start everything from scratch.

        There is also the whole “brand” concept which, I think, is one of the reasons why Lopez wants to keep the name up until 2017. He has obviously done lot to use the “Lotus” name in F1 with his team and he surely wishes this investment to pay off.

  7. What a load of cr4p, this whole Lotus-versus-Lotus saga. All that effort and mudslinging to get the Lotus name, and now they terminate the deal. If they had only come to this conclusion 6 months earlier, we would now have had the Fernandes Lotus-Renault in green-yellow, and Lopez/GenII’s Enstone-Renault in whatever they would have liked.

  8. So Group Lotus first terminated the license for Lotus Racing. They then used Team Lotus. Group Lotus sued them for doing so whilst also joining Renault. Team Lotus won, but made a deal with Group Lotus anyway. So then Renault became Lotus and Team Lotus became Caterham.

    Now Group Lotus has terminated their deal with Lotus (ex-Renault), but Lotus are going to continue using the Lotus moniker/constructor name until 2017.

    That’s what I’ve gathered so far.

    The question is, what gives Lotus (ex-Renault) F1 team the right to use the Lotus name if the parent company has terminated the sponsorship deal?

  9. Presumably this is all linked to events in Malaysia where the Government has sold its stake in Proton (the owner of Group Lotus) to DRB-Hicom? There were rumours the DRB-Hicom wanted to completely change the strategy that Danny Bahar had put in place – a strategy that would have seen the launch of lots of new road car models and a huge investment in motorsport.

  10. The first thing I thought of when I read this was that Dany Bahar’s efforts in getting exposure for Lotus as many forms of motorsport as possible amounted to little more than another gargantuan effort to move his drinks cabinet six inches closer to Berlin.

    1. this is far from the ugly side of f1. on a bad day, f1 has zero sporting legitimacy. i mean as crooked as a race horse working a carnival stand on his way to a boxing ring. this is due to 3rd party ownership and an old world way of doing things. i dare anyone to defend balestre.

      come race day, all is forgiven. especially when it rains.

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