Lotus, the car company have unveiled their plans to team up with the former Renault Formula One team for 2011, under the name of Lotus Renault GP.
Group Lotus had already expressed a desire to return to Formula One, and following the Renault car company selling its stake in the F1 team back to Genii Capital, it allowed Genii to sell it on to Lotus.
Now at this point, you are probably very confused as Lotus are already in F1. Well, sort of. The Lotus team we have seen racing this season have been running under a name that they bought, they are not in any way affiliated with the Lotus Group who run the car company. This has led Dany Bahar, CEO of Group Lotus to begin court proceedings on Tony Fernandes who runs Team Lotus. Fernandes, the boss of Air Asia maintains that he will run his team in 2011 as Team Lotus, who will also be supplied with Renault engines. And just to make it more confusing, both teams are planning to run with classic black and gold John Player liveries. Excellent.
We aren’t going to get involved with who we think is right in this situation here on TheF1Fanatics Blog but we hope they sort it out as it is going to be mightly confusing next season for fans, commentators and drivers alike.
Dany Bahar told Autosport: “I can think of no better platform for automotive brand communications than motorsport and F1 is the very pinnacle of open-wheel racing.
“We’re well aware that there has been a lot of controversy around the usage of our brand in F1 and I’m delighted to be able to formally clarify our position once and for all: we are Lotus and we are back.”
Meanwhile, Gerard Lopez, chairman of Renault F1 Team and head of Genii Capital added: “We are delighted that we can now go public with the news that we will be racing as Lotus Renault GP in 2011.
“It is extremely exciting to begin a new era for the team in partnership with Group Lotus, and we will continue to enjoy a strong relationship with Renault over the coming seasons. It is a tribute to the excellent work this year by the team in Enstone that we have been able to attract both major sponsorship and new investment for a very bright future.”
Group Lotus have the rights to use their name with the Renault team until 2017.
Autosport have provided this mock-up of what the 2011 Lotus Renault GP car could look like.