Lotus F1 team's right to use 'Team Lotus' challenged by Proton

The Lotus F1 team is facing legal action over its attempt to use the Team Lotus name from next year.

Proton, which owns Lotus road cars, has challenged Lotus Racing team boss Tony Fernandes’s right to use the name.

Read about Lotus Racing buying the rights to the ‘Team Lotus’ name

Nadzmi Salleh, Proton chairman, said: “Tony Fernandes has no rights to use the Lotus brand in the 2011 season.

“We will strongly resist any attempts by him to use our brand without our permission and will withdraw our sponsorship of the Lotus Racing team.”

Read about Lotus Motorsport’s plans next year

He added: “We are the owners of this brand, and will take all necessary steps to protect it.”

A press release from Proton stated: “Proton will support Group Lotus in taking all necessary steps to protect its rights in the ‘Lotus’ name, including resisting any attempts by Mr. Fernandes or his companies, or any other unauthorised person, to use the ‘Lotus’ name in the 2011 Formula 1 season.”

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Lotus Racing announced at the Singapore Grand Prix that it had purchased the Team Lotus name from businessman David Hunt – the brother of Formula 1 champion James Hunt.

Hunt had acquired the rights after the original Lotus F1 team – named Team Lotus – collapsed in 1994.

Lotus re-entered F1 this year under Malaysian ownership and used the Lotus name under license from Lotus Group.

Andrew Papworth

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Comments
9

28 September 2010

so Proton owned Lotus cars is suing part Proton owned Lotus racing over the name, they would be better served upping their share of the team and benefitting from it

28 September 2010

[quote feckin maso]so Proton owned Lotus cars is suing part Proton owned Lotus racing over the name[/quote]

Baffling. Change of wording in the team name doesn't change the fact that it's called Lotus now!

Does this mean they only negotiated a one year deal over the name? That's a little short-sighted ... unless they never expected to stay afloat the whole season.

28 September 2010

Never mind what it's called, the team just needs to focus on building a better racing car.

28 September 2010

On the contrary! The people at Lotus Racing, or Team Lotus, or whatever they want to call themselves this week, are simply signaling to the fans that they are now a proper F1 outfit, and deserve to be taken seriously, by finding themselves in court over some trifling issue which has nothing whatever to do with driving talent, engineering innovation, technical brilliance, sporting ability, spectator enjoyment and everything else that grand prix racing really ought to be about. The question they're really asking is, who needs circuits when the really big battles are fought out in the high courts? You think F1 drivers are well paid? You should see the lawyers' bills....

29 September 2010

They had a longer deal, but as with Cosworth they ended the contract, sounds like a money saving measure more than anything else and its backfiring bigstyle

29 September 2010

Chapman himself kept the Team Lotus (racing business, went bust in 1994) and Group Lotus (car business, now owned by Proton) businesses very separate. David Hunt bought the rights to the Team Lotus name from the liquidators in the mid-90s, and a court challenge from Group Lotus then was unsuccessful, proving that they have no claim to the name.

Lotus Racing had a year's licence from Group Lotus to use their name, but have now succeeded where Group Lotus failed in securing the rights off Mr Hunt to use the Team Lotus name. Good luck to them.

29 September 2010

[quote feckin maso]They had a longer deal, but as with Cosworth they ended the contract, sounds like a money saving measure more than anything else and its backfiring bigstyle[/quote]

They cancelled the Cosworth deal so they could get Renault engines and the cost of the Team Lotus name is costing more than they paid to lease "Lotus Racing". So it's not cost saving at all.

I like Tony Fernandes. He's a tough businessman, yes, but also he has passion for the sport and it's history. The new ex-Ferrari, Porsche and Merc guys at Group Lotus seem to be more interested in cynically marketing the Lotus name, in the same style that Ferrari have. As Dani Bahar is the ex-Ferrari Marketing man, this is no surprise but he seems to have brought the Ferrari arrogance with him too.

What I'm noticing is that the Group Lotus plan is very similar to the one the Phoenix Group had for MG Rover. Get into as many forms of motorsport as quickjly as possible, play up the heritage (which Lotus Cars has for cars, but not for Motorsport, that's Team Lotus and was separated from the car & engineering divisions a few decades ago) and take the road cars upmarket.

So bearing in mind Lotus cars doesn't make money and Proton need money, then maybe they're fattening the goose ready for sale? That's the plan Phoenix had for Rover and we all know how that ended up...

29 September 2010

Here's a great article about the history of Team Lotus

http://joesaward.wordpress.com/2010/09/28/the-lotus-affair/

29 September 2010

Whatever happens, the Lotus f1 team is going to lose out here, if they win the right to the name then they lose one of their biggest backers, if they lose the name then they lose thestatus they had hoped to build on. The ridiculous thing is that Proton?Lotus will also lose out, the new Exos program only makes sense with a F1 connection and their drive upmarket can only be sustained by F1 imagebuilding. they really should have left this a week until after the paris show, the relaunch of Lotus there with its announcements of future models and new motorsports ventures is going to be competing for attention with this story about them shooting themselves in the foot. Only makes sense if theyre going to reenter f1 themselves

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