Thought on the Lotus judgement

Group Lotus set out to stop Team Lotus being in Formula 1. It failed. Thus, we are faced with the bizarre situation of Team Lotus and Lotus Renault GP continuing to exist in tandem in F1. Group Lotus is still allowed to race in black and gold in Formula 1, but Team Lotus has the exclusive right to use the Lotus name in relation to a F1 chassis. This means that the Renault F1 cars cannot be renamed Lotuses unless Group Lotus does a deal with Tony Fernandes and he agrees to sell the right to Renault. However, Lotus Renault GP would still require agreement from the other teams to change the name and the teams are not likely to agree to that, as Group Lotus chief executive Dany Bahar has something of a history in F1 circles and has rubbed people up the wrong way. Bizarrely, the only way that Bahar could use the Lotus name for his cars would be to buy the Team Lotus company. That would leave him with a Formula 1 team and Fernandes without one, but Group Lotus would also have a long-term commitment to sponsor the Renault team and thus there would need to be a settlement there as well. The folk at Genii, who in theory own Renault F1, might take such a deal because they cannot really afford to do what they are doing, particularly if they lose Lotus money… If they were to sell the Renault F1 company to Fernandes then he would have cars called Renaults and could change that name to Caterham (or whatever brand he wished to choose). With the assets being distributed accordingly the companies could then move ahead.

The interesting point in such a deal is that Fernandes would then gain the historical results of Renault F1, which are worth a lot more than his own team’s and so he would then have a solid situation in F1 and Bahar would have to spend another season of two becoming a Column 1 team, with the full benefits that come from that. If Fernandes was to agree to part with the Lotus brand, that might hurt his credibility with F1 fans, but it is clear that the two parties are stuck at the moment as Bahar cannot use F1 to promote his sales and there is no real interest for Fernandes to promote Bahar’s road cars, when he is planning to sell cars called Caterhams.

The judge put it thus: “It is unfortunate in my view that this case came before the courts and was incapable of resolution beforehand. However if the parties cannot agree to resolve a dispute that is why the courts are here. At the end of the day I cannot help feeling that nevertheless the parties are better competing against each other on the F1 racetrack. Equally I cannot help avoiding the feeling that F1 followers would actually find that enhances F1 and they would be interested to see which of the two Lotus cars was more successful and which then might possibly be better placed to claim to be successors to the Colin
Chapman mantle.”

Group Lotus won on the question of whether Team Lotus had breached the licence agreement by producing merchandising without pre-approval and that Group Lotus was therefore entitled to terminate the deal. The judge said that was “less important”.

The other point is that Group Lotus says that it is seeking leave to appeal so that the right to use the Lotus brand in Formula 1 is clarified once and for all in the interests of the sport and the fans. The claim that this case was a victory is legal mumbo jumbo as one does not appeal a win…

“My fellow shareholders and I are firm believers that when one door closes another door opens,” said Fernandes. “In the early days of our agreement we realised its termination was inevitable and as events have unfolded the end of the licence has proved positive for us, with many new avenues being opened up as a result. We wanted to develop a long-term relationship with Group Lotus and help them sell more cars around the world but that door closed and now we are delighted that we can turn our attention to ensuring success for Caterham Cars on the road and Team Lotus on track. These are two very exciting brands and their future development, bringing these two iconic brands together under the Caterham Team Lotus umbrella, will see us introduce new Caterham cars and a range of new Team Lotus brands into the global marketplace. Now our main aim is to build on the solid foundations that has made Caterham Cars the model for how to run a profitable contemporary car company and add more history to the incredible story of Team Lotus over the coming months and years and with the people, spirit, passion and determination we have in both businesses we know that marks the next stage in our incredible story.”

Group Lotus can try to reach its road car goals without Team Lotus under its control. That may work. It may not.

One thing that is sure is that if Group Lotus’s plans in the automotive industry crash and burn, one can be sure that Fernandes and his partners will be waiting to buy Group Lotus and putthe company back together in another way…

What a mess.

76 thoughts on “Thought on the Lotus judgement

  1. “My fellow shareholders and I are firm believers that when one door closes another door opens,” said Fernandes”

    I suspect its the door marked “Exit”

    The money that these two companies/teams/people have invested in lawyers must be astronomical.

    Its time these two entities sat around a table and worked out a deal, clearly something they are unable to bring themselves to currently do.

    They need to be locked in a room and have a small chimney where they can light some colored smoke when they have a solution, a very papal way of doing things.

    Currently all either can claim is that there lawyer is billing more than the others lawyer!

  2. Do you think Tony would realistically consider buying RF1? That would really complicate things with fans and F1.

    Essentially he would completely eliminate “GLPC” from F1. It’s unlikely any other team would want to deal with Bahar again.

  3. The only winners are Caterham who find themselves with a wealthy new owner following on from this bizzare series of events. Team Lotus are still at the tail end of the grid even with the new chassis and the Renault engine which does not seem to have made much difference over last years Cosworth.

  4. Hi Joe

    I’m still a little confused. GL have the rights to use ‘Lotus’ in F1. TL must always use the name ‘Team Lotus’ in F1.

    Surly then T Fernandez will have to rename the chassis a ‘Team Lotus’ and D Bahar could rename the Renault chassis a ‘Lotus’ chassis anyway.

    Or will FOM/FIA have a say in that?

    Its definitely a total mess!!

  5. I was waiting to see what you thought about the outcome of this case Joe… I think your last line sums it up perfectly “What a mess”

  6. “The claim that this case was a victory is legal mumbo jumbo as one does not appeal a win”

    Thank you for cutting to the chase of that parra full of marketing BS…. I was struggling to figure out why they both thought they won….. seems to me they both lost in the short-term at least :shrug: We have a great old name sort of without it’s great old livery but using it’s great older livery…. could be confusing 🙂

  7. Joe,
    Can you get the judges words for why Group gets to race in Black and Gold please? That bit of the decison strikes me as very odd as that should be a Team asset. Team raced that way not Group.

  8. I understood that both Lotus and TeamLotus can be used in F1 from what I read of the verdict, yet you suggest the opposite. Can you please clarify
    The fact that teams won’t allow Bahar to rename Renault Lotus is another matter but I don’t see where Bahar was banned from using Lotus in F1 even if there’s another team called TeamLotus.

    The fact that LR is allowed to use GoldBlack livery means as well that they can use GreenYellow one. Is that because court is unable to enforce the ban of colors or because it recognizes Lotus right to use TeamLotus heritage ?

    On the other hand, I don’t think Bahar will accept switching teams because TeamLotus isn’t able to deliver at the front and given the market he’s targeting being in midfield won’t help him sell supercars. So either he succeeds in renaming Renault Lotus or he might leave altogether.

    There’s one thing which might help him. Renault needs to get rid of the team as they don’t want their brand associated with an entity they don’t control. And we know that Renault is necessary to F1 as an engine supplier. The fact that F1 need Renault might help Renault get rid of the name by renaming it Lotus.

    P.S : surprised you didn’t comment on Briatore last burst

  9. Joe,

    You’ve said that Tony Fernandes has the right to use the Team Lotus name in relation to an F1 chassis. Does that include or exclude F1-related merchandise? Tony has said that he’d like to launch some Team Lotus merchandise to the market.

  10. As usual after a decision like this of everyone claims victory, would seem Team have the upper hand tho. All the judgement seems to have done is say that the status quo in terms of what the average F1 punter sees is fine, which is a bit of shame as we will continue to get the confusion that Group seem so keen to create.

    As Team have proved they own the rights to Team Lotus, does this mean that Group are guilty of passing in off in their use of F1 heritage in their marketing?

    Whatever, Group seem to have made a massive rod for the back of what were already outlandish plans. I hope that what Joe has suggested above (the Lotus-Renault F1 team companies switcheroo) is also outlandish. Can;t speak for all F1 fans, but TF would loose credibility in my eyes. I think he’s smarter than that and knows it’s better to play the long game and buy Group on the cheap after they crash and burn. Caterham could then operate as a division of Lotus, producing ultra-light weight track day versions of older and current Lotus models, maybe a bit like AMG with Merc, an in house tuning division. And if TF got really lucky, he could acquire the RenaultGP too and rebrand that as Caterham, run it as a feeder team such as RBR and STR. Ok the last bit is certainly wishful thinking, but it could happen!

  11. Bahar seems like quite the twit getting himself into this mess. Luckily for Lotus cars the pedigree is such that if he ruins the company somebody with better business sense will pick up the pieces – which you quite rightly suggest could be Tony Fernandes.

  12. As always, thank you for your very interesting insights. As soon as the news about the court’s decision broke, I knew if I’d come here I’d get the most sensible analysis.
    Could you elaborate on what Bahar has done to make himself unpopular in F1 circles as you mention? Is it just this Lotus mess or is there more to it?

  13. Hi Joe, I got a different read of this from the judgment – it seems to me that the judge ruled that lotus was free to compete in F1 as “Lotus”, from para 287 in the judgement:

    “Equally GL has the goodwill associated with Lotus and its Roundel and it is free to compete in F1 under that name using that Roundel.”

    So we could see “Lotus” as well as “team Lotus”, as long as GL bought RenaultF1 and got agreement to change the name!

  14. Joe,

    Are you sure Team Lotus can enter a chassis called ‘Lotus’ in F1?

    My, admittedly quick, reading and interpretation of the judgement is that Team Lotus cannot enter a ‘Lotus’ because it isn’t accompanied by the word ‘Team’ and neither Lotus Renault GP or anyone else can enter a chassis called ‘Lotus’ because that’s not allowed either, even though the word ‘Lotus’ can be used in other ways, like sponsorship.

    And everybody is allowed to paint their cars black and gold!

    Now that really is a mess.

    But I’m not a lawyer, so I’m probably wrong.

  15. what a mess indeed! Thanks for the post! it clarifies a lot.
    Just one question. Other sources say that “Group Lotus has the right to use the name “Lotus” on its own within Formula 1”. You wrote that Team Lotus has the rights. So who is it then?

  16. Before the team lotus Caterham deal, Caterham wanted to take over the production of the old lotus elise from group Lotus. Isn’t there a change they swap the redundant elise production for the Team Lotus name?

  17. There are also rumblings about Genii having some sizable outstanding debts to Renault, which would give Group Lotus the opportunity to invest if they truly wanted their own team.

    Have these rumours been made up by a website aiming for hits, or is there some substance?

  18. I agree that this is a mess. I’m glad that Team Lotus are allowed to continue to be able to trade on the goodwill and history of the racing team. I get the impression that Group Lotus may have thought they were not going to win on that point, as they seemed (to me at any rate) to be pushing out several tweets regarding the racing history, such as F1 and Indy 500. Also, after their tweet shortly after 2pm UK time claiming victory (and that they were to lodge an appeal!), they were somewhat quiet, with only a coupl of tweets.
    Will be interesting to see how Group Lotus will get on regarding their (over) ambitious plans for the road cars, will Proton think it’s a good idea to continue, or bite the bullet and return the money to the banks and cut Bahar loose

  19. Wow. Would I be considered ill-informed if I were to conclude this is one of those extremely rare occasions where karma has done its thing and the guys in the white hats have won?

    Almost never happens here in the US, as the Golden Rule (he who has the gold makes the rules) dictates the richest guy wins, right or wrong (see TARP bank bailouts, Goldman Sachs, etc, not one of those guys are in prison).

    Nice to see it can still happen in the UK.

  20. Its a worse mess now. I don’t see that as a satisfying end to either party. If I was Fernandes, I would prefer to get a hefty compensation and put the money in Caterham. If I was Bahar, I think what I prefer would be far more obvious… Nonetheless, its a mook point now and we have to live with this mess. Highly regrettable that they two parties could not work it out (the only thing the judge was right about – it went downhill from there), despite the political pressures back home.

    For the record, I don’t think Fernandes has much chance of buying Lotus Automobile, just because their CEO makes a dog’s breakfast out of their strategy. If I am not wrong, their investors include Temasek, the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund. Bahar has big F1 ambitions, but, to be honest, he may be better off going off to the US, as this is where the sports car money is. Or GT racing.

    I have to admit, I am a little put off by this all…

  21. “Group Lotus is still allowed to race in black and gold in Formula 1, but Team Lotus has the exclusive right to use the Lotus name in relation to a F1 chassis.”

    I’m not seeing that reported anywhere else. In fact it’s the opposite. This is what Autosport is reporting:
    In a statement issued by the car company it said: “Team Lotus has the right to continue to race in Formula 1 under the name Team Lotus but the effect of the Judgment is that only Group Lotus can use the name “Lotus” on its own in F1.

    Could you clarify what’s going on her, Joe?

  22. There appear to be different versions of the judgement, circulating, some parts of it appear to contradict the principle on which others are based. In other versions that I have seen, GL has the right to use the name Lotus on its own in F1. (which gives Bahar a clear run if he turns out to be the ultimate owner of Lotus Renault as Joe speculated a few days ago, indeed it seems the team is now already in financial trouble, ripe for a takeover)

    I do hope that I am wrong here and Joe has access to more accurate versions of the judgement.

    I am a bit miffed that the judge seems to have ignored history and decided the LotusF1 racing goodwill belongs to GL. I can’t help wondering which side David Hunt supported in court, because this goes directly against his claim to the racing heritage and the very existence of the Team Lotus name.

    In fact as far as I can see Tony lost all aspects of the case except the use of the name “Team Lotus”, and even then it’s trademarks are revoked. GL have said they will appeal the decision to allow Team Lotus name to exist in F1

    However I am still of the opinion that Bahar will sell out to Tony for next to nothing once he has run out of money, finally uniting all parts of Lotus, we could then have a Lotus 7 again.

  23. So, what are the chances that next year we could see a Catheram F1 with Kubica and Kovalein??
    For me it sounds good!

  24. Ah i’m so so glad. We all knew and hoped Tony would be proved to be in the right and he has, frankly I’m surprised it took so long as I don’t see what argument Bahar had. Hopefully we can soon draw a line under all this.

    Usually, especially as a British person (apparently), I’d be inclined to dislike any billionaire, but Tony Fernandez does what he does so well that I hope he’s in F1 for the foreseeable future. Go Team Lotus, and good luck to any projects he has lined up

    1. franklyn,

      Thank you. That is good advice. All the abusive messages are also a waste of time. I just bin them.

  25. But will the BBC’s studious non mentioning of Lotus as in “Lotus Renault” continue? Guess we’ll see this weekend! Nothing prevents a little censorship, i mean caution under advice, whilst appeals are made . . .

    The whole decision stems from Hunt’s lot doing nothing, and the licence deal being broken up, and two modified team names entering F1 at the same time, so gaining the same common law rights.

    I’ll let you decide how messy it is, from the full ruling, here:

    http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Ch/2011/1366.html

    but i guessed right, having got the not subtle hint when this went in camera, that no-one would much like the outcome.

    I’m just skimming it now, there’s some fruity stuff in there.

    – j

  26. This is very worrying talk from Fernandes:

    ““In the early days of our agreement we realised its termination was inevitable . . ”

    I don’t take that very seriously, coming as it does after all this, but if you follow the link above, and drop down to para 229 for context, this is raising questions in my mind:

    “However it is clear that Mr Asmat, Sir Harry Nuttall and the ultimate owner of 1MRT Mr Fernandes decided not to comply with the obligations under the License Agreement and decided to “wing it”. ”

    Not a question of porcupines mating, so much as two very sharp operators each thinking they swagged the loot, before they even pulled off the job, and both being disappointed.

    I’ll have to reconcile that with the fact i have a distinct preference for which lot i think are genuine about their racing, but at least we now can make ourselves better informed.

    Oblig film ref, since it’s the right weekend for the locations, The Good Thief, with Nolte, a latterday attempt at a take on Bob Le Flambeur, which i remember flopped terribly but was pretty good plot wise (which probably made it impenetrable, if the editing didn’t sink it further). I’ll probably get some laughs privately, how some businessmen let their fantasies run amock and forget that errr, business does usually involve some hard work . . but i’d better be careful as to my humor with cautionary tales.

    – j

  27. Just re-reading your article Joe, but do you mean that TF could trade his current outfit and somehow end up with Renault F1?

    You may demand I eat my favourite trilby, for saying this, but surely the logical conclusion to that idea is doing a deal with a knitwear company?

    . . .

    I guess Mr Justice Smith took longer to decide than the world has had yet time to absorb his finding. It was noted by others, before season start, he has had a bit of bother with his rulings being overturned in the past, so i hazard the publicity on this will have made him super attentive. My casual perusal makes me think he pulled out the stops.

    . . .

    Put it this way, oh happy days, the controversy is largely off the track, totally amusing, and not messing with the actual racing!

    over to more observant eyes . .

  28. As you say, what a mess.

    There is a some irony in that the Lotus road cars are getting nice promotion from F1 albeit from the wrong team but not nearly as much as Renault who like Elvis have left the building.

  29. What a mess, indeed! The outcome can hardly be what either party truly wanted or hoped for. But then, as neither party is the true and rightful heir, or can claim a true, unbroken link to the heritage that was the original Lotus GP team, they do not in my opinion, deserve even what they got.

    So if they want to burn shed loads of money chasing what they can never truly acquire, that is up to them. But I have to say, in my eyes, both have made fools of themselves in the process. It’s just a pity they had to drag the name “Lotus” through the mire.

    These are the thoughts of a fan of the original Chapman-born Team Lotus.

    Here’s to a good weekends racing, Joe!

    All the best.

  30. I’m just so glad TF won the rights to Team Lotus, it is a mess but at least I think its now a fairer position from which to start sorting it all out.
    And I get to keep supporting Team Lotus, ignoring Renault and wondering when on earth Lotus cars will get a grip on reality. Fun and games ahead but it’ll be fun to watch!

  31. From my layman’s reading of the Decision, this affair looks to be a non-event: are we not back where we started, with Group Lotus threatening to kick it all off again?

    Both parties are shown to have behaved dishonourably in relation to the famous “license”, and Mr Justice Smith basically tells them to go back and sort it out in the playground. Unless I am misunderstanding the legal verbiage – which includes the surprising statement (at para 36) that “There has never been a car racing in F1 under the name Group Lotus or just Lotus” – Team Lotus is judged to have no right in English law to call its chassis a “Lotus”; and yet, under FIA rules, it cannot be called anything else.

    My heart wants the happy ending to feature Tony Fernandes et al, but my head says this judgment has not brought it any closer…

  32. Sanity has prevailed… and the winners are the two legal teams! A cynical view but these cases are what keeps the legal profession humming I’m sure of it. Two parties can’t agree so they go to court for months at huge expense to resolve a relatively simple argument.

    Fernandes was just standing up for his rights and Bahar trying it on so to speak but the Hunt family were disappointing in my opinion. They sold the Team Lotus name to Fernandes then decided to back the Group Lotus side saying they’d prefer the Team Lotus name wasn’t used in F1.

  33. Hello Joe.

    I’m a bit surprised that you write, “Team Lotus has the exclusive right to use the Lotus name in relation to a F1 chassis. ”

    I’ve read the entire ruling here:

    http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Ch/2011/1366.html

    and it says the following:

    “287. Equally GL has the goodwill associated with Lotus and its Roundel and it is free to compete in F1 under that name using that Roundel.” [“GL” is Group Lotus.]

    If there’s anything about chassis naming, it’s sailed past my left ear. Do you have a source? I did see Tony Fernandes’ tweet. I wonder if he’s referring to the status quo in terms of FIA naming rules and rights? I also suspect (perhaps quite wrongly) that the tweet itself is a breach of the ruling and therefore actionable. If that seems unlikely, see below…

    On my reading, the only “Lotus” in F1 is Group, and the only “Team Lotus” is, Team Lotus. The ruling seems to depend fairly heavily on the Judge’s conclusion that confusion is unlikely, and if as I believe only “findings of law” and not “findings of fact” may be appealed, that may not be open to challenge.

    As an aside, paragraphs 298 – 306 are worth a read as well, stating: “it is clear that…Mr Fernandes decided not to comply with the obligations under the License Agreement and decided to ‘wing it’ …”, and then later, that he responded to being challenged with “if you are unhappy, sue us.” Oh, joy.

  34. Those 3 words were exactly what I thought after getting half way through read that.

    What a f’ing mess !!!!

  35. Hi Joe,

    It’s good to know that the Team Lotus naming right has been settled, in TF’s favour. Was there any sponsorship that were signed but not announced with this naming row being part of the sponsorship clause?

    Also, will GL not be allowed to sponsor teams (such as ART GP2 and Indycar teams) using TL’s colour scheme or anything resembling TLF1?

    Thanks,

    Ricky

  36. I can understand now why Mr. Bahar leaves a bad taste in the mouth when he leaves companies. I think ‘Chunky’ would have chinned him! Read this http://www.aronline.co.uk/ and click on the link for more confirmation on Mr Bahar. He’s now saying that maybe VW would be a good partner for Lotus. Hey, Ho.

  37. This complicated outcome fits in well with the rest of the story. It’s about time something was done. In Spain, the Renault was plastered with no less than five over-sized Lotus stickers, quite ridiculous. Oops, heading in the direction of leopards, spots, proverbs, and Monaco harbour again.

  38. This saga has gone beyond boring. I have followed F1 for many years and do not consider myself ignorant to the politics but the bickering over Lotus leaves my head in a spin. I keep havingg to remind myself which is green and yellow Ltus and which is black and gold Lotus.

    As far as I can see there is one Lotus team – the one that tested at Duxford recently ad what a fine day out that was. There are passionate Lotus fans. Are there passionate Genii Capital fans?

    On a postcard please.

  39. Joe,

    Great article and insightful forethought about the Fernandes buying Lotus…let’s see!

    Have you any idea if this ruling will mean that Lotus Renault have to remove the Lotus logo from their livery?

    Regards,

    Lee

  40. The German Motor Sport press are suggesting Renault F1 are in financial trouble, and haven’t paid Renault for their engine supply …

    “Renault F1 Owner Genii Capital is begging its sponsor Lotus for an advance for daily management of the team and development of the car …

    “In the paddock there are rumours that Renault must go with Cosworth engines next year, if the bills are not paid to Renault. And the French company is looking for another customer. Why not Williams?”

    Probably a bit wild, but there’s no smoke without fire, well unless you’ve got a smoke machine obviously 😉

  41. Joe

    As you say, what a mess. With Group Lotus seeking leave to Appeal this threatens to be a case as ludicrous as Jarndyce v. Jarndyce.

    When you first mentioned this dispute I posted a reply saying that Chunky would have been laughing his way to the bank having found a way to make money out of the dispute, but there must be law firms who are rubbing their hands with glee. You would think that common sense will prevail when there is sight of solicitor’s accounts, but bearing in mind Group Lotus expansion plans, it seems that organisation’s senior management live in fantasy land already!

    Thank goodness the mainstream press in the UK have not picked up on this, they would have great fun destroying the whole of Formula 1. Funny how the juicier parts of the current back story involve Renault F1/Genii – thought this had ended following Briatore’s ejection from the sport, but it goes from bad to worse.

  42. so who won the heritage. Fair enough that anyone can paint their car black & gold, but who owns the 1978 championship wins?

    1. simon bates,

      I think that the heritage (read “goodwill”) is shared but no-one seems to know at the moment

  43. Very interesting thoughts on the Lotus case.

    I think Group Lotus should be very happy at the moment: the media coverage this has generated must be worth an insane amount in terms of brand awareness. Added to that, they still have two Lotus cars running around every other Sunday. If this cannot help them launch their car brand, I don’t know what will.

    The only part of your puzzle I do not understand is why Group Lotus would want to buy Team Lotus. Having a nominal name connection to Renault will increase the brand reputation, as well as two ‘Lotus’ teams on a Sunday will surely give extra advertising?

  44. I just hope that when Group Lotus crash and burn (anyone else seen an Evora on the road recently?) Fernandes picks it up. It is too good a name with too good a history to be treated like this

  45. Joe,

    the best bits, concerning goodwill, are attempts by the Justice, to suss out who Chapman was.

    Dynamite stuff.

    – j

  46. simon bates,

    the decision, unless i missed something screaming, which would contradict then all my puffery here about December which wasn’t so casual, is there is no heritage. Just labels. The heritage gave rise to the labels, and interestingly both parties tried rather to ressurect the dead and their better.

    – j

  47. Ah – peering through the darkness of the legal mumbo-jumbo, I think I can see now that the judgment doesn’t consider chassis names at all: Mr Justice Smith’s statement that “no car ever raced in F1 under the name Lotus” caught my eye. I guess he would have said “*with* the name Lotus” if he was referring to the chassis, so the judgment appears not to cover this issue at all. Status Quo.

  48. I see that Bahar’s product placement strategy is in full swing.

    Desperate Housewives (wife was watching honestly)

    My wife had no clue what it was, just assumed it was a Ferrari although was puzzled that it looked cheap and plastic! Wonder if the American demographic being targeted knew what it was?

  49. rpaco,

    look hard, into the LJ’s assessment of how much these people, all of them, mean to carry through their word. It’s revealing, and may explain other alleged reported worries, hinted at above. – j

  50. I think the most hilarious outcome would have been for the original 1985 five party agreement to have been enforced, shackling Team and Group together, with exchange of “Know how”, patents, promotion, sponsorship etc.

    As it is Mr Bahar did not look too honest under his examination, (though who could tell with the ambush disallowed, it would have been interesting to know the length of call on the record) and Tony looked a bit apathetic, as was his side’s defence; it was fairly obvious that he did not really intend defend at all, as the LJ said he could have made attempts to supply samples etc and make amends to carry on the agreement. It had been perfectly possible to end the agreement by consent, but both parties seemed to prefer a legal challenge.

    I was interested in one of the precedent cases mentioned as my previous employment contained both confidentiality clauses (which our MD called “reservation of rights”, which was I assumed, an Americanism (he was obsessed with whatever country he had just returned from; this once resulted in two days of meetings in order to establish what label should he put on the new loos adjacent to the conference room , he wanted bathroom , then restroom, I pointed out that most of out visitors would be looking for the word “toilet” but I think it ended up as “restroom”, my suggestion that a “restroom” should contain furniture for resting on and a drinks machine, was not followed up)) and originally covenants preventing me from working for anyone else in the industry for two years, however I got these deleted along with others that gave away my designs. I had worked previously for other major name companies in our field for 17 years before encountering any type of confidentiality clause.

    However the overall outcome seems to be that both sides can continue but Tony has to pay something for breaking the contract.
    Still the legal profession thrives.

    The moves over the next few months will be interesting, as will the financial survival or not, of Lotus Renault F1.Genii, who are reportedly
    short of funds which have not arrived in fullness from Russia. Will they ask Bahar to scrounge yet more from Proton and other, already coerced, Malaysian banks? Bahar’s credit/credibility must be near it’s limit by now.

  51. Other John
    Looking again at this, it would seem to me that Tony clearly intended to loose the case, or at best did not care one way or another, since together with the statements you mentioned, the only defence witness produced was the guy who was in control of the shoddy clothes production, whose testimony would obviously be an own goal. I begin to wonder if the quality of goods was a deliberate trigger mechanism.

  52. imagine if it was someone from team lotus involved in the stabbing incident instead of Sutil. Nows that would have been a headline. This is what happens when businessmen try to treat F1 in a total business enterprise instead as a racing enterprise.

  53. Neither team is morally entitled to the original Team Lotus heritage. That died. Decades ago.

    Ferrari, McLaren or Williams were not built in a day, nor were they founded upon a court order laying claim to 25-year-old memories.

    Both Bahar and Fernandes appear to be throwing their time and effort into aping Jac Nasser and Jaguar rather than getting on with the job of developing winning F1 teams and creating their own heritage.

    I wonder whatever happened to Nasser’s team??

    This mess is the result of Colin Chapman’s scallywagging… no doubt he would enjoy all the fuss but really it’s time to move on. Let the ghost of Lotus rest in peace and do the job properly, both of you.

  54. All Fernandes needs to do is keep the case in court so that there is sufficient time for Bahar’s ludicrous road car plan to fail and he’ll be right.

  55. rpaco wrote:

    ” the judge has a good sense of humour and irony!”

    +1 to that.

    Looked again at the ruling (I know, never mind), to see if TL could sell “Team Lotus” road cars, manufactured by Caterham for example. Found this:

    246 “… there is no prospect of TLL being confused as a potential supplier of sports cars….

    249 …In my opinion there is no likelihood of deception in this case where the activities of TLL and its successors are limited to F1 racing.

    250 It would have been otherwise if they were competing in the sports car world…”

    So TL aren’t forbidden from building road cars – but the judge assumes they won’t, and leaves open the possibility of his findings being subject to challenge and revision if they were to in future.

    Hmmm. Mr. Fernandes’ possible announcement in July is going to be interesting.

  56. Toleman Fan
    I think all the evidence had been heard and the judge was ruminating or on holiday when Tony bought Caterham, thus Caterham could not be considered in the trial.

    However as the judge pointed out Team Lotus have to reapply for trademark registration, he also mentioned that there was nothing to stop anyone else racing as Team Lotus providing Tony had not fist registered the name. (which presumably he has done since the judgement. (The earlier registration having been wiped out)

    I wonder if LC have registered all the new car names already. There have been several duplicated car names in the history of the motor car industry.

  57. Could TF bring Caterham in as a title sponsor for his team now? Would this need permission from the other teams? “Team Lotus Caterham” or “Caterham Team Lotus” would be a nice way to promote his newly aquired firm and would give some benefit to maintaining the lotus link for Tony. It would also get right up DB’s nose!

  58. Christina, Lotus racing heritage did not die, it does live on through the life of the road cars. There has always been a continuous presence in motorsport, and of course F1 is the highest end of that but not exclusive from motor sport as a whole. So I think the line continues, and I would love to see Mr T Fernandez take control of Lotus road cars, Renault F1, call the F1 Louts/Renault and make cheap good road sportscars with Renault engines, something that a semi normal human being could afford!

  59. I can see your point regarding Jaguar but Lotus really is a different kettle of fish, they specialise in track day cars and have more in common with Ferrari than other manufacturers. I hope that once all this kerfuffle is over we will see one proper Lotus again!

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