76 thoughts on “Lotus versus Lotus in one diagram…

  1. Great diagram, thanks. Helps to understand ‘who’s who’.

    I must say it looks fairly clear-cut about who is entitled to what with the exception of ‘Group Lotus revokes [Team Lotus’] licence’. Who knows what ins and outs existed in that contract…

    Joe, can you enlighten us as to upon which grounds Group Lotus revoked Team Lotus’ licence to use the name ‘Lotus’?

  2. nitpicking – you’ve got the Benetton era finishing in 2002 and the Renault era starting in 2000. Is that right?

    [actually now I think about it…didn’t the Benetton family hang on to a shareholding or transfer it via Flav or something complex like that…rather like Renualt ended up doing]

    1. cynic

      Benetton sold out but for several years the team remained in Benetton colours before a proper Renault takeover.

  3. “Group Lotus sold to Proton 1995-2002” suggests that Proton sold Group Lotus in 2002. They still own it, don’t they?

    It would be accurate and amusing – but needlessly complicated – to also link “Renault F1 engine supply” to “Team Lotus 2011” and to “Mansell, Senna”. From the political angle, the links between Fernandes and Proton, via Air Asia and the Malaysian government, are also interesting.

    1. SiY,

      Try organising something like that one day and see that it is not easy.

      As to the Group Lotus sold to Proton 1995-2002. It took that long for the sale to be completed. Presumably the Proton executives were busking in airports for seven years to raise the money…

  4. Which part of the diagram is the legal argument then? Does it focus on team lotus/group lotus/lotus engineering being the same entity rather than 3? or does it focus on the fact that technically under that diagram, team lotus can use the name team lotus (but not lotus on its own) and group lotus can call themselves ‘lotus’ but not associate itself with the racing team?

    The diagram makes it look quite open and shut, which is why I suspect that there is something else there that the two lotuses aren’t letting us into

  5. As clear as it ever could be, Joe. Perhaps you should send this to the judge and maybe, just maybe, a quick decision could be made and we could go racing with just one Lotus!

  6. Bravo Joe,

    Never in my life did I think I’d be siding with a low-cost airline but if there has to be a claim on Lotus in F1 it was clearly David Hunt’s property to sell. Fernandes got in there because Proton goofed 15 years ago.

    Thought Kubica’s take on it all was admirable under the circs…

  7. This chart does not mention Group Lotus being floated on the UK stock market in 1968 which obviously meant that they had a totally different share structure to that of Team Lotus.

    Also all shares in Group Lotus PLC were purchased in 1986 not 1988, by General Motors.

  8. Congratulations! This is one is even better, what a mess when trying to explain on words.

    What about as a timeline? 🙂

  9. Or, really, any of the other driver’s names in there. Did any of them own part of the contested entities and/or rights?

  10. Hi Joe, great development diagram. A quick add-on you could put on the bottom: ‘Team Lotus 2011 – a descendent (albeit distant) of the original Team Lotus racing team’, ‘Lotus Renault GP – a cheap corporate takeover/tie up with Genii, with no real racing in its blood.’

  11. you forgot to mention the Chapman family aligning with Group Lotus in late 2010.

    a bit selective to leave that important detail out, no?

  12. Just like the Liuzzi-FIF1 story this is again a case of contract and honoring that. While its a fact that Tony Fernandes and rapid rise of his Air Asia Airlines at cost of Malaysia Airlines (a public sector unit) has resulted in lots of detractors of Tony in Malaysia and has some bearing on why Proton (another PSU company) bosses have dealt with Tony in the whole Lotus Saga, the fact still remains Proton had issued licenses to Tony and he made his investment in the F1 team based on that.

    If Proton under Dany Bahar have decided to take different route to promote the Lotus Brand. Right thing to do is pay Tony for the “team lotus” brand and compensate him suitably for his expenses in the entire exercise. Then Tony can run his own racing outfit and Lotus(Proton) their own.

    About Lopez’s latest comment on reason for Team lotus to hold on to the Lotus name and its connection with FOM’s revenue, isn’t that the case for Lopez himself and his Genii capital? They invested in Renault F1 last season but chose to run the team as Renault for the same reason and even now when Lotus has apparently decided to invest in the Renault team, they are not losing the Renault name in the team’s name for the revenues from 2010 season.

    If Lopez really cares for the Lotus name more than monies why doesn’t he sacrifice the revenue from FOM and go Lotus in entirety??

    And about Chapman family – They come out as really greedy party in this whole saga, milking on sentiments of fans is really despicable

  13. I was looking for Bugatti in the diagram because I remember some chassis design changes having to be done to the new cars in development when ownership changed, (to accommodate a different engine) but then I looked up Romeo wherefore Artioli and it was he who had bought the Bugatti name. There see, someone buying a name like our Tone!

    Also like the guys that bought the Jensen name in order to revive the marque. (Though in their case they failed utterly in their chaotic organisation and management, to do anything other than produce lots and lots of confusion and a waste of a lot of peoples time (including mine). up to pre-pro run, before running out of money and calling it a day. A pity that some great engineers and designers get lumbered with such bad management and organisation.

  14. Lotus Engineering was conceived in 1952, then in 1954 Team Lotus was split off from that entity. Started in F1 in 1958. If you don’t want to be accused of manipulation, you should mention it. At the very beginning there was only one company.

  15. I see an error/omission: in 1994 Team Lotus underwent liquidation. As a legal entity in ceased to exist. Hunt purchased only rights to use Team Lotus trademark in certain areas, some of which were already revoked.

  16. Great chart, but as someone else said, you need to link Renault of the turbo era to Team Lotus. Just to make it more complicated than it already is!

  17. Ah that’s right, so it was not a Benetton but a Renault sponsored by Benetton. Even though it had BEEN a Benetton.

    Unlike the Tyrrell, which had been sponsored by Benetton but was never a Benetton.

    (and meanwhile the Renault engine was not a Renault or even a Meccachrome but a Playlife)

    And still DB can’t understand the difference between sponsorship and chassis?

  18. Ooooh yet another version! Great work, Joe. (Still think you need a line from “Renault F1 engine supply” to “Team Lotus 2011” though.)

  19. Robert Kubica was asked whether it was a dream to drive for ‘Lotus’, he said: “Well, they’re a sponsor, a partner. I could say that it was my dream to drive for Total (another team sponsor). If Lotus owned the team then it would be a bit different.”
    So *off message*, so brilliant!

  20. I think the diagram helps as well for people who do not understand the situation. But I thought we had learnt from recent pronouncements from the Renault camp that Genii now own 100% and all Group Lotus have done is purchase a share option and provide sponsorship.
    There may be other collaborative arrangements in place but they seem to be ill defined and not well publicised as to the value lotus brings.

    It seems to me that that if you ask the folks at Enstone who they are the likely answer would be “we are the Lotus sponsored Renault Team owned by Genii”.
    At Hignham they would say “we are the Lotus F1 team and this would be because that’s what they were last year and ownership hasn’t changed.
    Thinking about it that IS what Kubica said.
    Good Luck to Fernandes and Gascoyne who seem to embody most of the characteristics that Colin Chapman would recognise, in contrast I cant see Bahar lasting a week if Chapman came back in charge.

  21. Joe – the original ‘Group Lotus’ diagram you refer to in this topic and your previous one WAS NOT produced by Group Lotus.

    Indeed, the original creator of that chart has come on here to inform that it was he (a fan) who created it and not Group Lotus.

    Why do you continue to announce this chart as being an original Group Lotus creation, Joe?

    For someone who is usually very accurate with doing his research and identifying reliable sources, I am very dissapointed – more so that you havent spoken up to announce that this was a mistake in your part.

    What made you believe this was a Group Lotus created chart in the first instance? What is your source?

    1. Giuseppe F1,

      Try looking on the Official Lotus Renault GP Facebook pages where it has been posted, apparently, since the start of January. The odd thing is that this is NOT where I found it today. Where was that? I don’t know, but I know that I was convinced that it was an official thing because it was presented with a note saying that it would help people understand the situation and, if you had read the original blog post (now long gone) you will see that I said it was a good idea and that Group Lotus should be commended, although I did not agree with all the boxes. It was such a good idea, in fact, that I decided to do it myself. I did not discover that the original thing was not official until I read the blog item from the real creator. You will note that I make no reference to any official connection. Still, it would be wise for Lotus Renault GP to remove it from the Facebook pages… Whatever the details, it resulted in me creating a proper flow chart, which will help people understand the situation. Perhaps the lawyers can show it to the judge when the trial opens. You seem very interested in the intricate details of the whys and wherefores> Are you an employee?

  22. To my eye, Formula 1 Lotus has has always taken the Grand Prix cars route.

    If Fernandes got the license from David Hunt, then he’s the legitimate heir to the Lotus name, if on the otherhand, it came from Proton, the road car arm, and then was revoked by Behar, then he should change the team name and drop Lotus.

    So the question is, who did he acquire the license from?

    I hope I have this correct. If not, then I give up.

  23. Lagoon, Hunt bought Team Lotus while it was in administration (bankruptcy protection); as far as I’ve been able to tell, it was never liquidated. It raced under his ownership at the 1994 Japanese and Australian GPs, and gave Mika Salo his first F1 drive (who’d have won a championship point at Suzuka under the current system).

    To me, this is crucial since it shows a direct, real link between the Team Lotus Hunt sold to Fernandes in 2010 and the one founded by Chapman. If Hunt had just bought a name, his detractors would have a point – a good one – but he didn’t; he bought a functioning, if financially struggling, team.

    1. Duncan,

      I don’t know whether it was liquidated or not. I do not think it is important. The important thing was that Hunt & Partners bought the rights to use the name and the logos.

  24. Nice work Joe.

    However as I understand it, Classic Team Lotus is licensed from Group Lotus, so there should probbly be a link there as well.

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  26. Yeah! – The sportswear now seems to be under Mike Ashley’s control if I remember rightly. I also have vague memories of a rubber in malaysia case study from school days!

  27. Joe

    For someone who writes an online blog and has been/is involved in several websites/ezines, I am AMAZED that you seemingly do not know how Facebook works…

    …just because a post/image appears on the Official Facebook Page of Lotus Renault GP, doesnt mean it was posted by them, yet obviously (and as proved already) by one of their Facebook Fans!! I find it incredulous that you would think otherwise….seriously??

    Your thread starter post did up until a few hours ago at least read to include the sentence:

    “Group Lotus offered a similar idea, but I felt there were one or two things missing and so I have added them and restructed the chart. This should explain it”

    This sentence has now magically dissapeared without you admitting that this was a mistake/false representation which is a shame from a journalist/blogger of your calibre.

    Furthermore, your comment:

    “I know that I was convinced that it was an official thing because it was presented with a note saying that it would help people understand the situation and, if you had read the original blog post (now long gone) you will see that I said it was a good idea and that Group Lotus should be commended”

    again…..just because it was presented with a note and you thought it was a good idea, how on EARTH does that make it an official Group Lotus communication???!!!!

    Dissapointing and quite shocking research skills if truth be told

    1. Giuseppe,

      Of course I know how Facebook works. I told you that is NOT where I found it. Did you not read that bit? Thanks for your polite abuse. I suggest you now go back to selling Lotuses or whatever it is that you do for a living.

  28. Also, why does your chart include a box “RENAULT SINGAPORE SCANDAL” – Why would that even need to be included in an ownership themed chart? Not relevant is it – and wasnt what lead to GenII purchasing the team

    1. Giuseppe F1,

      Well, it is not an ownership chart, is it? It is a chart explaining why things happened. So Delorean is relevant because of the mess it left Group Lotus in, and the Singapore scandal is relevant because it was the reason that Renault decided to get out of team ownership. And they wanted to get out so badly that they loaned Genii the money to buy the team. Hence the sponsorship from the Renault in-house bank in the first part of last year, and the switch at midseason to Snoras, which loaned Genii money to pay back the first loan. You failed to answer the question about working for Lotus…

  29. Someone mentioned James Hunt and “Loti” and that reminded me that when I see “Genii” I can’t help thinking “Penii”. But that’s probably just me.

  30. No, I dont sell Lotuses, Joe – Im just an F1 fan

    ‘Polite abuse’ seems somewhat of a rich term when you offer such up to anyone on here which seems to offer a differing opinion.

    Im not going to go back to selling Lotuses now but over to the Team Lotus Facebook Page to watch countless videoclips of Gascoynes dogs roaming around the factory…

    1. Giuseppe F1,

      There is a lot that you do not understand. That is why I write this blog. To try to help people understand about Formula 1. The difference is that you don’t WANT to understand, which is why I think there is more to your arguments than just being a fan. You are too insistent and clearly keen to find fault in things that I am doing – and to make a big deal about it. But you are doing it in way that is polite on the surface, but with agenda beneath the veneer. You are looking for every fault that you can find – and fans don’t do that. Anyway, be that as it may, I let you have a voice. I don’t think I did anything wrong and I am genuinely mystified about the source of the original (long gone) chart. We have been through all that so let us move on. There is no need for a retraction because there is no longer anything to retract. If a mistake was made it has been corrected, although ironically this also wiped out some positive comments that I made about Group Lotus. C’est la vie.

      I have no idea what you are talking about in relation to Gascoyne’s dogs.

      As to your your remarks about Lada, you seem to forget that the Renault F1 company is now called Lotus Renault GP Ltd, which clearly indicates that this is more than a sponsorship arrangement. You would not name the company after your sponsor unless you had other plans. I don’t know who owns what and I don’t really care. All I know is that between them they have created a mess and a judge will come along and sort it out at some point in the not too distant future. This will be good and we can get then get back to the racing and see whether the Renault will be a competitive car, which is actually what F1 is about: racing cars.

  31. Still a shame that you didnt actually admit to the incorrect initial sourcing of the chart to Group Lotus and officially announce the retraction as it were

  32. Furthermore, I dont understand peoples insistence that Bahar is overspending money, but then chastice him/the team for carrying the Lada logos on the cars for next year at least.

    That Lada branding brings money to the team which helps pay the bills – but, Bahar is supposed to remove them….and so spend more money?????

    He probably has no say at this stage – as with when BMW purchased Sauber, when becoming part owners/Title sponsors/Livery owners of a team, most time, in the short term, you inherit the short-term sponsor deals as they still have duration to run as per the original contracts – hence why BMW carried Petronas/Credit Suisse branding and why Mercedes is carrying Graham and MIG Bank branding originally orchestrated when the team was Brawn

  33. I noticed with interest that autosport ran a story tonight talking about the new exhaust running ok on the Renault.

    That will be the litmus test for me, what people refer to the teams as.

    Robert thinks he drives a Renault, autosport thinks he drives a Renault. Lotus and genii think he drives a lotus.

    I will continue to support tf and mg on their team on this issue, as I feel the basis on which their license was terminated did not appear fair.

    The real shame is that the enstone outfit are a good bunch and their hard work is being dragged through the mud.

  34. Hi folks. After the rigours of last season I decided two things; one that I’d move to the (albeit beautiful) backwaters of Canada where this internet thing is few and far between and two that I would try relaxing and enjoying an F1 season for once, kinda look after the blood pressure and not get all worked up. Hence I’ve totally and utterly missed this hullabaloo so must say thank you to everyone who’s posted and the work that Joe’s done.
    One question; where does Lada fit in? :p

  35. Joe,

    Am very pleased to read your last few posts about Group Lotus, especially the Black to the Future one as i giggled to bits when i read the first mention of their article.

    What worries me and seems to be happening is this culture of BS growing within the Renault team, The comments of their team principal and now this Giuseppe character is disappointing to say the least.

    Not a big fan of your sporting views but in the business world of F1 and motorsports in general you are by far the best there is, looking forward to maybe one day work with you on a professional level.

    God bless.

  36. So will this chart be used as evidence in the pending court case?

    Great work Joe. It makes it clear that Group Lotus have never been F1, and Team Lotus has always been F1, and as Fernandez owns the rights to Team Lotus, the Fernandez outfit is about as close as it gets to being “the real” Lotus.

  37. jmv,

    What the Chapman Family thinks has no bearing on anything. Considering they own neither the rights to Team Lotus, or Group Lotus, their opinion is just as valid, or invalid as any other spectator.

    If they are suddenly so concerned about the Lotus brand maybe they should have never sold it in the first place.

  38. Slightly concerning that a chart documenting historical facts can create argument – this means there is no chance sanity can ever prevail. Get ready for the handbag fights…

  39. Joe, I love you man. Perhaps Guiseppe F1 is what we call, a troll? Give people a voice and it goes to their head. The Internet eh? Love it..

    Great site, it’s an opinion piece and a drama all in one!

  40. Hi

    Like the upgraded chart – one thing, it says Genii buys 75% of Renault F1 2010 – for a good chunk of 2010 they owned 100%

    The chart saying 75% futhers the myth that GL own the other 25%.

    1. No, they owned 75% until the end of the year when Renault sold to whoever. The fact is that they only the shares because Renault owned them the money, but that is not the point… Officially they were the owners. I have no idea why but I guess Gerard Lopez understands what he is doing.

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  42. Just give me the good ole days with Jimmy Clark & Colin Chapman creating the Lotus legend and conquering even the Indy 500! The Lotus family tree wasn’t quite so complicated then!

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