Posted by Carrot on October 2, 2010 | No Comments
In the same week that Lotus Racing signed termination documents with Cosworth, opening the way for the rumoured partnership with Renault, the future of the team’s name has come into doubt. The team this year have raced under the name Lotus Racing licensed from Proton, the manufacturer that now owns the Lotus road car company. Team principal Tony Fernandes has been chasing the name Team Lotus since he entered the sport to revive the legacy of Colin Chapman’s hugely successful team from years gone by. The only problem is, Proton and Fernandes have had a falling out and now the car manufacturer is challenging his right to use the name Lotus.
When Lotus went into administration in the 90s the rights to the Team Lotus name and logos were purchased by David Hunt (brother of James Hunt) and the car and the car company ended up in the hands of Proton. Proton allege that David Hunt doesn’t own the rights to the name and have stated that they will take legal action to preserve their brand. With Fernandes having lost his license to the Lotus Racing brand due to a disagreement with Proton already, over the paperwork surrounding t-shirts of all things, and with Proton gearing up for a legal fight it could mean that there is no Lotus name on the grid next year. This isn’t the first time Proton have threatened legal action over this, another bid for a team entry to F1 in 2009 announced they were going to license the Team Lotus name and were told there’d be a legal challenge if they succeeded in getting a grid slot, they didn’t.
The F1 team are being very quiet at the moment while they try and resolve matters behind closed doors. The case, if there is one, will depend on whether Hunt was legitimately sold the name Team Lotus for future use in motor sport.