The Lotus Question

cider_and_toast

Exulted Lord High Moderator of the Apex
Staff Member
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I guess I set myself up to write this. A lot of what will follow has already been covered in a couple of threads, however, I thought it would make sense to put all of our eggs in one basket so to say.

So how exactly did it come to this? After a 16 year wait for the Lotus name to return to F1 it seems that next year we will have two of them and to make matters worse they are going to be at war with each other.

To begin with we have to go back into the mists of time to the early 50's and the birth of Lotus Engineering Ltd at Hornsey in London in 1952 which was the first and original Lotus company which initially developed race cars for the 750cc series. Lotus developed the Mark 6 in 1953 which had both road and race applications and then in 1954 Chapman split the works race team away from the engineering side of the buisness and Team Lotus was born. The engineering side of the company became Lotus Cars Ltd. The term Group Lotus wasn't used until 1959 and was the umbrella company for the various sub groups such as Lotus Cars and Lotus Components.

At various stages until Chapmans death in 1982 there were various companies that came under the Group Lotus banner including at one stage a boat building firm, a microlite firm and an overseas capital investment company called GPD that would have reprocussions in the wake of the Delorean collapse. In 1986 the bulk of Group Lotus was sold to General Motors but the important thing here is that the F1 team, then under the guidance of Peter Warr remained in the hands of the Chapman family and Fred Bushall (the former head of accounts and Group Lotus). In 1989 Fred Bushall was jailed in connection with the collapse of Delorean and Peter Warr left the team. Tony Rudd transferred from Group Lotus where he headed the engineering department to run the team. By 1991 Team Lotus was a shadow of its former self so the Chapman Familly deceided to sell up. Peter Collins and Peter Wright, two figures who had been closely associated with Lotus for many years completed a managemet buy out and for a brief while turned the fortunes of the team around. By 1994 the team was once again in financial trouble and after failing to score a point at the Italian GP where Johnny Herbert had qualified 4th before being punted off by Eddie Irvine in the new Mugan Honda powered car, Collins and Wright were forced to put Lotus into administration.

Now here's where it starts to get more relevant to today's mess. David Hunt, brother of 1976 world champion James purchased the team from Collins and Wright in early October 1994 and managed to put enough money together to complete the season. During the winter of 1994 work continued on the Lotus 112 while Hunt frantically sought to raise the cash required to compete. Unfortunatly Hunt failed to find the required finance and the team closed. In order to try and keep the name alive in F1 and have a further stab at bringing the team back the Lotus name and badge appeared on the 1995 Pacific GP car. Once again, further funding did not appear and aside from a holding company called "Team Lotus Ventures Ltd" the name lay dormant until the rumours of a reserection involving originally Litespeed F1 and then 1Malaysia F1 surfaced.

Now that's a pretty potted history of the Team Lotus side of things and it's relationship with Group Lotus yet it gets more complicated than that. While Team Lotus ran the formula one side of life there were cars built at Hethel for Lotus Components (which ceased to be part of Group Lotus in 1971) for use in F2, F3 and various other formula. Group Lotus also provided the cars and backing for a semi works endurance team using the Esprit Sport 300 between 1993 and 1996 so there has been a precedent for Group Lotus to run its own racing programmes.

After Group Lotus was sold to General Motors in 1986 it remained in their hands until it was purchased by a finance company belonging to the Bugatti group. Ownership by Bugatti didn't last that long and the company was sold again with the Malaysian Government fuding a buyout by Proton. After long time Lotus man and CEO Mike Kimberly retired in 2009 the CEO position was given to Dany Bahar who was formaly the Senior Vice President (Commercial and Brand) at Ferrari where among other things he was responsible for F1 marketing and worldwide Ferrari Licensing and Commercial activities.

Since Bahar's arrival Lotus has announced the launch of 6 new models in the coming 4 years including cars directly aiming at the Ferrari market. Throughout 2009 Lotus has also announced several new racing ventures including the development of a GT car and a tie up with KV Racing in the Indy Series. Bahar has since annoucned that Lotus will be developing an Indy engine and Aero package to the 2012 regs and will be developing a GT1 class entry for Le Man and in 2012 an LMP2 entry. Further more Lotus have announced a tie up with ART to enter the GP2 and GP3.

Since the initiial annoucement from Litespeed that they were looking to return the Lotus name to F1, Group Lotus have strongly resisted any attempt to use the name without their authoritiy. It would seem that prior to the arrival of Bahar, Lotus had began to appreciate the boost to their marketing image that an F1 project would give them hence their renewed interest in motorsport projects however.

1Malaysia racing were granted permission by Lotus to use the name for the 2010 season and Tony Fernandes and Mike Gascgoyne were actively attempting to resolve the license issues surrounding the use of the Team Lotus name as far back as 2009.

Group Lotus has apparently made several attempts since 1994 to regain control of the Team Lotus brand from David Hunt who claims he has offered to discuss this with Group Lotus on several occasions.

With Renault Cars selling their stake in the Renault F1 team to Genji capital Group Lotus have purchased part of that stake and have now been announced as the title sponsor of the team.

So what we could see at the 2011 Bahrain GP is 1Malaysia racing entering as Team Lotus and in all technical respects being the son and heir to the original Team Lotus while Genji capital will enter the Renault F1 team as Lotus Renault F1. (and both teams taking each other on in GP2 as well)

So the big question is, why doesn't Bahar want to work with 1Malaysia ?? I honestly can't answer that question so has any one else got a clue??

The only thing I can see at the moment is that the good name of Lotus is being dragged through the dirt by all concerned. What really worries me is that Bahar seems to be overlooking the fact that Lotus has never in it's history managed to launch 6 new models and race simultaneously in Indy, F1, Le Mans, Endurance Racing and GP2 and 3. For a company that normally shifts a few thousand cars a year to go from this to challenging every big name in every field seems like madness. To cap it all we are in the middle of the worst global financial situation for a generation, so where is the money coming from ?? I hate to say it but in one of his last inteviews, Peter Warr was absolutely correct when he said that Lotus should have been left as it was, Team Lotus F1 1958 to 1994.
 

sportsman

Sidecar racers have the biggest cojones
Contributor
Thats a good article.Regarding Bahar you missed this part of his CV.
To answer your question I can offer a couple of ideas.Firstly it is not confirmed as yet by the courts that Tony Fernandes actually owns the Team Lotus name.
Bahar has his own plans for Lotus and these are far wider than just F1.By joining with Renault as title sponsor he is far more likely to see a Lotus Renault winning a GP and consequently a driver wearing Lotus branded teamwear on the podium.
We as knowledgeable F1 fans know full well that the car is a Renault.On live timing it will be shown as Renault.But to the casual F1 TV viewer he will see a Lotus.Look at todays Autosport article about Petrov.That says Lotus Renault.
The press will use the name Lotus Renault.Thats what the casual fan will see on the back pages in the race report.
He also gets access to all of this for marketing purposes.
http://www.renaultf1.com/Facilities,1229.html http://www.renaultf1.com/Your-Day.html
http://www.renaultf1.com/Hospitality.html
This is why has chosen to go the way he has.There is also this.Note the Red Bull appointment.


Dany T. Bahar has been appointed as the new CEO of Group Lotus effective 1st October 2009, replacing Michael J. Kimberley, who retired in July.

Prior to this appointment, Dany Bahar was Senior Vice President, Commercial & Brand for Ferrari SpA where he was responsible for worldwide road car sales and after sales business, overall road car and F1 marketing activities, licensing, and merchandising business.

Before joining Ferrari SpA, Dany Bahar was the Head of Corporate Projects Business in Red Bull GmbH. He was responsible for the overall corporate project business development, with emphasis on diversifying the business such as setting up their F1 strategy with Red Bull Racing and Scuderia Toro Rosso and the US based Nascar Team operations, acquiring football clubs in Salzburg, New York and Ghana for commercial purposes.

On his appointment, Dany Bahar said, "I am looking forward to taking on the challenges as CEO of this legendary and iconic company with a peerless motorsport history. Lotus has a worldwide reputation for innovative engineering and superb sportscars that lead the world in efficiency, design and dynamics. With the recent launch of the award-winning Evora, there is proof that Lotus is better placed than many to capitalise on the rapidly changing automotive market. I can't wait to get my plans underway in October."
 

cider_and_toast

Exulted Lord High Moderator of the Apex
Staff Member
Premium Contributor
So, with Bahar's perfectly placed background to return Lotus to F1 the really ironic thing is that if Mike Kimberly had retired one year earlier the Lotus / 1Malaysia deal may never have gone through and there would have been a perfectly clear path for a "works" Lotus return to F1.

I still have major concerns that Bahar seems to want to take on the whole world at once and Lotus isn't set up to deal with it.
 

F1Yorkshire

Avatar for sale to the highest bidder
Contributor
Excellent article and helps explain the history of Lotus better than I could but it has thrown up some more confusion for me.

Renault haven't run into difficulties overnight so it's possible that the takeover options were discussed over a year ago. So why did Group Lotus give the license to 1Malaysia F1 for the use of the Lotus name if they were planning on taking over an established team in the near future?

Surely it would have made more sense spending the last year negotiating in private for the use of the Team Lotus name and presenting a re-united Group and Team Lotus in 2011 with an experienced team behind them.

Tony Fernandes and Mike Gascoyne have done an excellent job with the limited time and funds available. Were Bahar and Group Lotus expecting them to fail?
 

cider_and_toast

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F1Yorkshire said:
Renault haven't run into difficulties overnight so it's possible that the takeover options were discussed over a year ago. So why did Group Lotus give the license to 1Malaysia F1 for the use of the Lotus name if they were planning on taking over an established team in the near future?

Surely it would have made more sense spending the last year negotiating in private for the use of the Team Lotus name and presenting a re-united Group and Team Lotus in 2011 with an experienced team behind them.

Tony Fernandes and Mike Gascoyne have done an excellent job with the limited time and funds available. Were Bahar and Group Lotus expecting them to fail?
Renault the motor company didn't own the whole team though. It was in the most owned by a venture capital company. If you recall, Renault reviewed their involvement in F1 several times in the last few years and at the end of 09 took onboard a large investment from Lada. Prior to Bahar taking over at Lotus in October I presume that Lotus were quite content to license the name to 1Malaysia.

I've just read on Autosport yesterday that Group Lotus have taken up a 50 percent stake of the Renault Team with Genji owning the other 50 percent so it remains Renault F1 in title only. Bahar is not rulling out Lotus taking over the remaining 50 percent.

I'm actually annoyed at Autosport for printing the headline "The REAL Lotus is back" because as discussed above, neither Group Lotus or Lotus F1 Racing is the REAL Team Lotus.

I guess we won't know where this is going until the courts work out who actually owns the ashes of Team and then we'll see where it goes next.
 

sportsman

Sidecar racers have the biggest cojones
Contributor
Trade mark name : TEAM LOTUS
Trade mark No : 009251497
Trade mark basis: CTM
Date of receipt : 15/07/2010
Number of results: 4 of 4
Request an inspection

Owner.

Name: GROUP LOTUS PLC
ID No: 283108
Natural or legal person: Legal entity
Address: Potash Lane Hethel
Post code: NR14 8EZ
Town: Norwich
Country: UNITED KINGDOM
Correspondence address: GROUP LOTUS PLC Potash Lane Hethel Norwich NR14 8EZ REINO UNIDO
From this site

Also from same site


Trade mark name : TEAM LOTUS
Trade mark No : 009289761
Trade mark basis: CTM
Date of receipt : 02/08/2010
Number of results: 1 of 1

Name: Team Lotus Ventures Limited
ID No: 423294
Natural or legal person: Legal entity
Address: The Old Barn Ryalls Lane
Post code: GL2 7AU
Town: Cambridge,
County: Gloucestershire
Country: UNITED KINGDOM
Correspondence address: Team Lotus Ventures Limited The Old Barn Ryalls Lane Cambridge, Gloucestershire GL2 7AU REINO UNIDO

Go figger

That is for Team Lotus logo
http://oami.europa.eu/CTMOnline/Request ... lCTM_NoReg
 

P1

Podium Finisher
I think Group Lotus did the right thing. Like Ferrari, Mercedes and soon McLaren, Lotus is in the business of selling sports cars.

People who like sports cars like to see their brand of sports car at the top challenging Ferrari and beating them.

Team Lotus is not going to do that in the forseeable future. Renault is already doing that with Kubica at the wheel.

It's obvious that if you want to sell Lotus sports cars, you would rather have your name on the Renault team than the Team Lotus team - because the former sometimes wins races and the later only ever loses them.

Group Lotus is making massive investments - expecting 5-6 new models in next 4 years - new Lotus Espirit, Lotus Elite, Lotus Élan, Lotus Eterne, and Lotus Elise. Some of these are competing in a price territory that is very close to Ferrari. If they want to sell at the high end of the market, they need to show they are peer of Ferrari, and buying the Renault F1 team gives them precisely that.

I also think they won't mind leaving Team Lotus keep the name. It just means there is a Lotus A and a Lotus B team. More brand exposure, but as long as Lotus-Renault wins a few races with Kubica, Lotus' brand exposure will be great.
 

Galahad

Not a Moderator
Valued Member
I think Group Lotus may be making a big mistake in expanding the company too fast, and in trying to take on competitors who will probably prove to be too strong for them. Lotus have a reputation for a particular type of sports car - a driver's car, if you like - and that's a good niche for them. Going up against more "luxury" brands is a huge risk.

As for the F1 question - yes, I understand completely the logic of buying into Renault. What I don't really understand is continuing to have Fernandes run as a second Lotus team.

P.S. Also very annoyed with Autosport's headline this week.
 

cider_and_toast

Exulted Lord High Moderator of the Apex
Staff Member
Premium Contributor
Galahad said:
I think Group Lotus may be making a big mistake in expanding the company too fast, and in trying to take on competitors who will probably prove to be too strong for them. Lotus have a reputation for a particular type of sports car - a driver's car, if you like - and that's a good niche for them. Going up against more "luxury" brands is a huge risk.

As for the F1 question - yes, I understand completely the logic of buying into Renault. What I don't really understand is continuing to have Fernandes run as a second Lotus team.

P.S. Also very annoyed with Autosport's headline this week.
Agree with you totally G. I don't think Bahar appreciates the fact that Lotus aren't in the same league as Ferrari or Porche. Expanding the range is one thing but producing a range of 125k cars is something that Lotus has never tried before and could backfire in a big way. I also find it odd that the Evora is scheduled to be replaced in just a couple of years. A lot of Bahars calls so far seem to make little sense.

It's strange but true that once Lotus stopped selling race cars, the side of their buisness that kept the company afloat and made more money than any other was the engineering consultant side. I hope they don't stop doing that.

Also in yesterdays Autosport article Bahar claims that they are NOT Team Lotus and don't want to be. This saga will drag on for many months to come and a fine British motorsport name is going to get dragged around in the process.
 

P1

Podium Finisher
Galahad said:
What I don't really understand is continuing to have Fernandes run as a second Lotus team.
Don't think there is a logic to this, and don't think it is by design. May just not be worth the effort of fighting if it's not costing them anything.
 

tooncheese

Hans Heyer
Contributor
I'm still a it confused, tell me if I'm on the right tracks.

Lotus used to be one group, but to avoid one smal section collapsing the entire team, they split it into several indepedent groups all controlled under Group Lotus. David Hunt bought Team Lotus section in 1994 and still had it up to 2010. Proton/1Malaysia bought Group Lotus expecting to have Team Lotus, but that was the only thing they didn't get. Lotus Racing, another setion under Group Lotus raced in 2010, but Tony Fernades has bought the Team Lotus name from Daivd Hunt and will race in next year. Meanwhile Proton have kicked up a fuss, because they don't own that little bit of Lotus, so they've gone and bought Genii Capital's stake in Renault.

So there are three teams, Team Lotus and Reanlt with all the history, and new Lotus. Three teams, yet only two cars, so who loses out?
 

F1Yorkshire

Avatar for sale to the highest bidder
Contributor
tooncheese said:
I'm still a it confused, tell me if I'm on the right tracks.

.....

So there are three teams, Team Lotus and Reanlt with all the history, and new Lotus. Three teams, yet only two cars, so who loses out?
You are right with the seperate companies all coming under the Group Lotus banner.

Proton bought Lotus Racing as part of the Group Lotus package, I can't believe they didn't research the company 1st to find out that Team Lotus wasn't part of the deal.

There are still only 2 teams.

Last season 1Malaysia F1 raced under the Lotus Racing name which was then recalled back by Proton. 1Mal F1 have now got the rights to race under the original Team Lotus name.

The Lotus Racing license owned by Proton will now be transferred from last years Lotus to next years Renault.

The only problem I have is the history that the teams claim to have.

Last season, Lotus Racing GP claimed the team was a continuation of the original Team Lotus which it wasn't but I believe they still recieved the payments for the name. Next year they will actually have the Team Lotus name so they will have a right to claim the historic payments.

So where do last seasons results fit in with the whole Lotus history?

I don't think they should be counted as a continuation of Team Lotus F1 as it was Lotus Racing that they were racing under. Lotus Racing have had a history of Motorsport but have never raced in F1 until last season.

Therefore last seasons results should be listed seperately to the original Team Lotus results.

Now next seasons Team Lotus is racing under the original name so they have more of a claim to be a continuation of the original team and any results should be included as part of the Team Lotus history, just as Mercedes bought out Brawn last season and continued with their history.
 

cider_and_toast

Exulted Lord High Moderator of the Apex
Staff Member
Premium Contributor
According to the BBC F1 website Team Lotus (as they are now being called by the Beeb) are not going to use the Black and Gold paint scheme they had planned for next season but a variation of the Green and Yellow scheme they used this season.

Tony Fernandes said that four Lotus cars on the grid wouldn't be a problem however if they looked identical it would be silly.

As far as the legal action goes, The Team Lotus V Team Lotus case is due to be heard by the high court early next year. As an aside Fernandes is counter sueing Group Lotus for breach of contract after they ended their agreed 5 year deal after the first year.

What price on a settlement out of court for Team Lotus to be given back to Group Lotus in return for some sort of proton backed sponsorship for 1Malaysia Racing from next year??
 

FB

Not my cup of cake
Valued Member
I'm going to pose quite a pointed question, does any Lotus fan truly believe that either of these teams is actually related in any way shape or form to the Lotus F1 team of the 20th Century? The phrase badge engineering springs to mind.

What next, a return for Vanwall or BRM? :rolleyes:
 

cider_and_toast

Exulted Lord High Moderator of the Apex
Staff Member
Premium Contributor
I can only speak for myself but in a word, no I don't.

It's one of the things that is making me quite bitter about this current situation. It seems like two vultures fighting over a corpse. If things had been done differently and all parties brought together from an early point then they could have had a legitimate revival of a great team.

The more I think of it the more :censored: annoyed I'm becoming.
 

sportsman

Sidecar racers have the biggest cojones
Contributor
No I don't believe either of them have the right to claim any of Colin Chapmans "Team Lotus" great history.

Neither does Gerald Lopez.

"Renault team chairman Gerard Lopez believes neither his tie-up with Group Lotus nor rivals Team Lotus's purchase of the famous name gives either outfit the right to lay claim to the heritage of Colin Chapman's legendary effort.

With the battle over the Lotus name set to drag on for months following Group Lotus's decision to go its own way and become title sponsor and shareholder of the Renault team, Lopez has spoken out about his views on the situation.
And although there has been concern about fans getting confused about the fact that two teams are pushing the Lotus name, Lopez reckons the situation from his perspective is simple.

He reckons that neither of the two Lotus efforts should be linked with Chapman's previous success - as he says his own outfit is quite simply a tie-up with a car maker to help it sell cars."

http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/88689

Dany Bahars viewpoint.

“On the subject of Team Lotus [though] we have never, and we will never be Team Lotus. We have never claimed to be Team Lotus.

"We never want to be Team Lotus. Because that was a successful, historical era of the company when Mr Chapman had it. It is an era which we should leave in the past," he concluded.

http://www.gpupdate.net/en/f1-news/2491 ... t-in-past/

The only person who has claimed any continuation of Colin Chapmans famous "Team Lous" history is Tony Feranandes
He stated quite clearly at the beginning of the season that any wins his Lotus Rcing out fit might win would be "Team Lotus" 80th F1 GP victory.

Group Lotus have a clear connection the the Lotus name.They bought the company and manufacture Lotus cars.
However they are not trying to cash in on "Team Lotus" history.

If indeed Feranandes has bought the a dormant since 1994 "Team Lotus" thats all he has bought.You can't buy history.
You make you own history.
My surname is actually Chapman.So I can easily change my christian names the Colin Arthur Bruce.
If I do that then I can according to Fernandes call "Team Lotus" history my own.
 

sportsman

Sidecar racers have the biggest cojones
Contributor
This is a different viewpoint.


"Group Lotus CEO Dany Bahar has revealed his company did try and broker a deal for an official tie-up with Tony Fernandes in Formula 1 - but says the conditions put to them on the table made it a no-brainer to go and back Renault instead.

With F1 still facing the prospect of there being two Lotus names in the sport next year, Bahar has offered some extra insight into why his company chose to become title sponsor and shareholder of Renault rather than throwing its weight behind Lotus Racing.

Speaking at the RAC Club in London during a Lotus media lunch on Wednesday, Bahar said that his company had originally sought a solution with Fernandes - but said when a deal with Renault was on offer for around a third of the price it was obvious which route had to be taken"


"Let me just say when the counter proposals are so ridiculous and absurd, it makes no sense to continue these discussions. And if you can go with a top five team that is maybe one third of the cost that was asked by the other side, then that makes sense
http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/88708
 

cider_and_toast

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Premium Contributor
http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/88715

To make the waters even more muddy, Fernandes claims in this Autosport article that he did not value the team at 3 times the deal that Renault offered Lotus.

This really is getting stupid now and I think starting to damage the Lotus name.

As for Group Lotus not trying to claim the history of Team Lotus, That's never been the case. There have been many occasions in the recent past where Group Lotus have done just that. The legacy of the car making side of the company will always be linked to their motor racing side. You only have to look at each "special edition" car that gets wheeled out every couple of years to see that.

If this isn't staking a claim to Lotus' racing history I don't know what is?

Lotus Elise Jim Clark SE
 
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