Before I start I would like to make it perfectly clear these are my own personal views 😛
On one side we have the 1 Malaysia Team who bought the rights to call themselves Team Lotus in F1. On the other side we have the road car company Group Lotus who have just bought the title sponsorship for the current Renault team. From two companies that were started by Colin Chapman, they have come a full circle, with the Malaysian government holding the money and instead of working together they are now in competition. I bet Chapman never thought this would happen!
Personally I do not think one of these outfits has any more (or less) rights to be in F1, the only right they hold is over the specific wording of the name.
Let me get this straight, the Lotus that raced in F1 in 2010 and that will be called Team Lotus ARE NOT the ‘real’ Lotus. They bought the name but that’s it, they did not buy the history or the team factory or the people or anything else other than the name. The real Lotus closed for business in 1994. Fernandes bought the name to add an extra dimension to his new team, to try and leech off the history and buy themselves a fan base, just like they’ve bought themselves a design and have bought their way out of the Cosworth and Xtrac contracts for next year.
Neither will the renamed Renault F1 Team be the ‘real’ Lotus. In 2011 they will be Lotus Renault GP as Lotus are title sponsors but Renault are officially still the chassis manufacturers (purely in name though as Renault have sold the last of their shares to Genii), so next year will still be called Renault. After all nobody calls the team from Woking Vodafone, do they? This is a new future for the team and I think this is a great development as it is significant investment in the team which is only a good thing. And such a long deal offers stability that the team has been severely lacking under Renault, who have a track record of dipping in and out of F1.
Where I think Bahar has made a mistake is coming out all gung ho making his intentions to take over the team and have Lotus back in F1. The road car Lotus were never in F1 so stop using the word ‘back’ for a start. And by stating now that you want the team to be Lotus yet it can’t be contractually for another few years is not helping your case. Get people on side by being a sponsor (and shareholder). I think this would have helped the general public too, as they could get used to black and gold Renaults before the notion of two Lotuses (Loti?) lining up on the grid.
I love the black and gold livery but personally I would have let Team Lotus run black and gold in 2011, keeping the Renault in the same livery as 2010. Then in a year or two change to green and yellow in line with the rest of Group Lotus’ motorsport teams.
The arguments are going to run and run and the two teams need to be careful not to bring F1 into disrepute over the next year whilst dragging each other through the courts. I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s all a lot of hot air from Fernandes to raise his price, before being paid off in Proton shares. No doubt the fans will see Renault as bullies but Team Lotus are no better, and the sooner people stop calling them the real Lotus the better!!