Group Lotus to Tony Fernades: Cease and Desist

Discussion in 'Motorsport' started by prisonermonkeys, Sep 27, 2010.

  1. prisonermonkeys

    prisonermonkeys Premium

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    Okay, so there's not actually a cease and desist notice involved, but another storm is brewing and seems to have been for some time. Group Lotus (hereafter referred to Proton) has taken issue with Lotus Racing (hereafter known as Fernandes) using the Lotus name, and have revoked permission for them to use it in 2011. Moreover, they will attempt to stop Fernandes from using the Team Lotus name they purchased from David Hunt.

    Full story here: http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/87038

    This is odd. There is no apparent motivation for Proton to raise this issue. One would assume that if it was such a big deal, they'd have done it twelve months ago. But with Tony Fernandes spinning his team off into GP2 and GP2 Asia in the form of Team Air Asia, Proton have worked a deal with ART Grand Prix to sponsor them, much as they to do Takuma Sato and KV Racing Technology in Indycar, to be known as Lotus ART. My suspicion in all of this is that Proton have realised there is still a place for the Lotus name in Formula 1, and want to use it for themselves by forcing Fernandes to stop running it. They will then look to join the 2011 (or, more likely, the 2012) grid as Lotus ART Grand Prix.

    Discuss.
     
  2. Akmuq

    Akmuq

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    Ok I'm not entirely sure of this story but is this a basic version?
    Lotus Racing can't use the Lotus name any more but Proton want to take it to go with ART grand prix and try get into F1 in 2012 so we will end up with both possibly.

    So 2 teams: AirAsia Racing
    Lotus ART grand prix. Am I right?
     
  3. Greycap

    Greycap Premium

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    Ridiculous behaviour from Proton, it looks like they're doing the old "we weren't bright enough to come up with this idea so we'll make sure nobody else can use it either" trick. The name Team Lotus was owned by David Hunt for 15 years during which they could have bought it. But they didn't. Now when it seems that Fernandes is making Lotus Racing a success they'll step in with power and might to stop any glory from being gained under "their name" which hasn't even been theirs for a decade and a half.

    In my opinion the current team should be Team Lotus come next year, Fernandes has rightfully bought the rights to the name. Proton simply screwed up for not thinking about it earlier, sucks for them but they're late to the scene and have deserved the situation. I can only hope Fernandes has good lawyers.
     
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2010
  4. Matti_Dude

    Matti_Dude

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    Yeah I hope that Lotus Racing keep the name Team Lotus next season. It would be good to see the proper team back under that name. And who knows, if they catch up enough over winter they could be competing with the other cars rather than HRT and Virgin.
     
  5. prisonermonkeys

    prisonermonkeys Premium

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    It sounds like Proton agreed to let Lotus Racing use the Lotus name because they didn't expect the team to go anywhere. It would have been a case of no harm, no foul. Not that the team has started going places, they want the name back.
     
  6. Tornado

    Tornado

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    If Fernandes legally owns the rights to use the Lotus names on racing cars (and forgive me if I'm wrong, but hasn't Lotus as a racing team been different from Lotus the car maker since forever anyways?), what could Proton hope to achieve?
    You would think they would have objected to someone using the Lotus names on racing cars back when it wasn't in good standing rather than now that it is going places.
     
  7. prisonermonkeys

    prisonermonkeys Premium

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    Proton claims that David Hunt never owned the rights to the name and thus never had the right to sell it on. Hunt claims to have acquired those rights after Team Lotus went into receivership and liquiation in 1995.

    Yes, you would certainly think so. But it hasn't happened that way, which makes a lot of people think they're trying to do this to get the rights to the name and either sell it on to someone like ART Grand Prix or enter Formula 1 on their own.
     
  8. orimarc

    orimarc

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    (credit to @NobleF1)
     
  9. Sureboss

    Sureboss Premium

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    David Hunt did own the IP to Team Lotus, no matter what Proton think. Team Lotus and Group Lotus were different entities back in 94/95 when Team Lotus went kaputski.
     
  10. Pupik

    Pupik Staff Emeritus

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    "Team Lotus" was run by Lotus founder Colin Chapman since the 1950s; they were pretty much side-by-side entities, since Lotus raced in sports cars, by which the products at the time were...actually racing cars, and vice-versa. Somewhere in the late-1960s (my guess is that when FIA changed the Group 5 sports-car techincal regulations), Lotus just did the privateer thing for a few years for their sports cars.

    Lotus stuck to Formula One cars and some USAC Champ Car events such as the Indy 500, and it was part of Team Lotus. (Or "John Player Special Lotus", in some cases; but that's just sponsor deference.) Colin Chapman died in late-1982. Lotus the car company was sold to General Motors in 1986. After the 1990 season, the Lotus team was sold.

    It was sold again after the 1994 F1 season; that's where things get a little weird. Team Pacific used the Team Lotus banner for one season, and the thought is that David Hunt (the brother of James Hunt) owned the rights to it, until he sold it to the Litespeed Formula Three team in 2009. And then, it was accepted as an entry for 2010.

    Funny how nobody cared at Lotus for 25+ years?
     
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2010
  11. Seismica

    Seismica Premium

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    :lol:
     
  12. Prince.M5

    Prince.M5

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    It's quite confusing though I've read it for 3 or 4 times... But I see no problem for Fernandes to use the ''Team Lotus'' name.
     
  13. prisonermonkeys

    prisonermonkeys Premium

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    The plot thickens: overnight, Lotus Cars have announced that they're branching out into multiple motorsport categories - in addition to sponsoring ART Grand Prix in GP2 and GP3, they're expanding their sponsorship in Indycar to a second car and developing an ICONIC package for 2012, building their own LMP2 car, entering GT2 with a car due to be unveiled at the Paris Motor Show and entering GT4 with the Evora. In addition to their development of the Type-125 track day car (directly inspired by Formula 1), it's looking increasingly likely that Lotus Cars want the rights to the name to enter the sport.
    Proton are probably going to argue that when Team Lotus was liquidated in 1995, the process was either improperly carried out, or that David Hunt didn't have the right to sell the name to Ferandnes. After all, he originally sold it to Litespeed F3, a Formula 3 team that was looking to enter in 2010 under the name Litespeed Lotus. Litespeed had signed Mike Gascoyne on, and when the Malaysians bought them out, Gascoyne crossed over. That's probably how the T127 originated: it would have been intended for Litespeed and was (almost) already designed when Fernandes came on-board. Proton will argue that the rights to the Team Lotus name still lie with Litespeed F3.
     
  14. Ardius

    Ardius

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    I don't really have much to say on this topic, its already been said. I have no idea what planet the Group Lotus board members live on if they believe Lotus Racing is any way negative at all.
    Its quite obviously an issue of power and control - Group Lotus want to control their own F1 team. Its the only thing that makes sense, particularly with all this "branching out" into several series at once.

    Reminds me of Jaguar.....the Ford corporation controls the team, the team goes nowhere.

    Obviously from the fans perspective, Fernandes and Gascoyne have done nothing wrong and everything right.
     
  15. prisonermonkeys

    prisonermonkeys Premium

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    It's not that they believe Lotus Racing is negative, it's that they believe someone else can do a better job now that they know the Lotus name still has a place in the sport.

    That seems to be the prevailing theory.

    And they both had green cars.
     
  16. prisonermonkeys

    prisonermonkeys Premium

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    Well, the situation seems to be moving towards a resolution, which is as complex as the initial problem:

    - Renault have decided to back out of Formula 1 and become an engine supplier like Cosworth. Danny Bahar's Group Lotus is said to be buying into the team, which it is believed will be known as Lotus Renault until the new Concorde Agreement comes into effect, after which it will be known simply as Lotus.

    - Tony Fernandes will renounce his claim to the Lotus name, and the team currently known as Lotus Racing will assume a new name for 2011, possibly 1Malaysia Racing (as referred to in the Renault press release) or Team Air Asia (consistent with GP2 team), and Renault engines.

    Now this is where it starts to get murky, and some of it is speculation by me; it becomes a little bit hazy as to where the boundary is. In return for giving up the Lotus name, Tony Fernandes will get a Renault engine deal, and he may be keeping the backing from the Malaysian government. Danny Bahar will buy into Renault with the support of Tarek E. Obaid, the guy with connections to the Saudi royal family, and may not get support from Kuala Lumpur. The exact funding of each entity is speculation on my part.

    So we seem to have gone from no Malaysian teams to two Malaysian teams in two years. And this was after Malaysian GP2 Asia team Qi-Meritus Mahara said they wanted to be in Formula 1 in six years ...
     
  17. Northstar

    Northstar Premium

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    Link?

    I searched and found nothing.
     
  18. prisonermonkeys

    prisonermonkeys Premium

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    It's yet to be confirmed.
     
  19. Ardius

    Ardius

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    Fernandes still says the team will be Lotus, so actually the solution is simply that Renault will have a sponsor called "Lotus" while we will also have a seperate team called "Team Lotus".
    Its slightly less confusing than having two Lotus teams but still bizarre.

    Lotus Cars are still smoking some heavy stuff with this marketing strategy though, its just confusing and pointless. Purely a case of power and little else, as it makes little sense. Surely the benefit of sponsoring Renault is negated by there being another team called Lotus?
     
  20. Dijital Majik

    Dijital Majik

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    More exposure for the brand. Worked for Red Bull.

    What's the Italian for Lotus? :D :p
     
  21. Ardius

    Ardius

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    Maybe but at least there is a visible difference between those two and one is pretty anonymous most of the time (how often is Toro Rosso even mentioned over the year?).

    There is potential for some pretty confusing articles in 2011, particularly if Lotus Racing make the jump people expect which could well put them alongside Renault if Renault repeat 2007.
     
  22. prisonermonkeys

    prisonermonkeys Premium

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    The FIA will no doubt have something to say about it. They won't allow teams to compete under the same or similar names.
     
  23. Seismica

    Seismica Premium

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    I think that from a legal point of view, Lotus Racing own the rights to the Team Lotus name, whereas Group Lotus do not. If Proton/Group Lotus were creating a new team, I believe that Lotus Racing would have precedence when it comes to name choice when signing up for the 2011 season. But because Renault is an existing team and has been there longer than Lotus Racing, how will the FIA see that? Technically, Lotus Racing are already using the Lotus name so Renault can't realistically change it otherwise, as Interludes mentioned, the names will be too similar and it will not be allowed.

    If Renault becomes Lotus next year, I doubt I will ever accept it as Team Lotus, because Tony Fernandes has already re-established the team, gained the rights for the name, gained the blessing from the Chapman family and also gained the respect of the fans and the other teams in the paddock. I don't see any reason why Lotus Racing/Team Lotus should back down on the name issue now.
     
  24. prisonermonkeys

    prisonermonkeys Premium

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    If Fernandes and Lotus Racing have the legal rights to the name as decided by a court of law, then the FIA will back them. Renault would have to come up with a different name, unless Fernandes sells the rights to the name back to Bahar. Because the sale of the Lotus name from David Hunt to Tony Fernandes was carried out properly, Bahar's argument seems to be that when Team Lotus was disbanded in 1995, it was not liquidated properly so Hunt never really had the rights to the name in the first place, which means they defaulted back to Lotus Cars, which was in turn purchased by Proton.

    If Fernandes has to change the name of his team, then Team Air Asia and 1Malaysia Racing Team seem to be the most popular and likely candidates.
     
  25. Prince.M5

    Prince.M5

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  26. Peter

    Peter (Banned)

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    What, no save HRT site, where we can donate money?
     
  27. prisonermonkeys

    prisonermonkeys Premium

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  28. damez

    damez

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    So next year we'll have two Lotus branded teams? IMO "Team Lotus" should just drop the Lotus sponsorship and move on as 1Malaysia Team, Renault-Lotus though.. wow.
     
  29. Prince.M5

    Prince.M5

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    Whatever happened, the one I will support is the one at the back of the grid, wearing the Green and Yellow Livery. Enough said!
     
  30. Cap'n Jack

    Cap'n Jack Premium

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    Which will also be black and gold next year, actually. :p