Lotus and Lotus

The announcement that Tony Fernandes had taken a stake in the Malaysian national airline, MAS, was significant for a number of reasons, not least it was an acceptance from the government that the Team Lotus boss knows how to run airlines better than its people can. That was not rocket science, but it was a significant acceptance from The Establishment that Fernandes is OK. The deal means that he will have a much greater say in the way in which slots are distributed at airports in the country, but there will also be other benefits. The word in Malaysia is that part of the deal was a settling of scores with Group Lotus, which is in desperate need of the Lotus name in order to make progress with its unlikely project to become a British version of Porsche. But the Malaysians could not easily back down to Fernandes without losing face and so the only solution was to give him something he wanted of sufficient value to make it worth his while to give up on Lotus. We hear that the two Lotus parties have now reached an agreement and next season Team Lotus will become Team Caterham AirAsia and will remove the ACBC logos from the cars in the next few days. This will open the way for Renault F1 to change its name to Lotus of some kind and is the first step towards allowing the team to change the chassis name from Renault to Lotus.

Official confirmation of this is expected shortly.

The interesting point now is the question of who will own Renault F1. Gerard Lopez may be shuffled out of the way and we hear that Group Lotus has an option of some sort to acquire the team, of which it will be the primary sponsor for the next five years.

All this is fine and dandy for Group Lotus boss Dany Bahar, but he still has to prove that he can pull off the conjuring trick he has promised the Malaysians.

Fernandes will thus be able to concentrate all of his efforts on the Caterham brand and it will be up to the media to explain the mess to the general public – which is not going to be easy.

79 thoughts on “Lotus and Lotus

  1. Sounds completely plausible, Joe. But I wonder if Fernandes really has some explaining to do to the general public.

    If Team Lotus indeed becomes Team Caterham for 2012, halfway through the season the majority of your Average Joes (no pun intended) will likely have forgotten that the team ever raced under a different banner, don’t you think?

  2. http://www.gpro.net/?id=235195
    Try to be a successful team manager like Dennis, Todt or Briatore. Manage your grand prix team to success by building good cars, developing good race strategies, hiring the right drivers and staff and planning for the future. But all must be done within the limits of your financial and worktime budget and with the fierce competition breathing down your neck!

  3. Good for Fernandes business-wise, but I thought he wanted to keep the Team Lotus name/heritage? But if the family’s already said they don’t support him, what’s the point.

  4. Well that seems to have worked out! Especially for Fernandez, as usual, who wouldn’t want that man running their business. As you hinted a couple of times though Joe, I think Bahar is up shit creek tbh!

  5. Thanks for this Joe, it’s probably *the* story of the summer and really it’s probably a fairly decent compromise all round.

  6. Tony Fernandes is clearly a very commercial man and influence over scarce landing slots is hugely valuable but this is a shame for Team Lotus. I saw the new Team Lotus as a cut above the other ‘new’ teams, largely as a result of the heritage of the Lotus name. Caterham is a ‘clubbie’ racing brand, not F1.

    I was expecting the end game to be;
    (1) Renault GP slips down the grid and disintegrates through poor management,
    (2) Group Lotus fail in their ambitious expansion plans but do accumulate huge debts and run out of money,
    (3) Tony Fernandes acquires the latter for a song and brings Team Lotus and Group Lotus back together again (time scale about 3 years).

    If Joe’s story is correct, this leaves the ‘Lotus’ name in F1 in unsafe hands at the same time as demoralising all the enthusiasts at Team Lotus left wih a thoroughly uninspiring name.


  7. He’s still going to get Lotus in the end, then – only a matter of time until the govt begs him to save Group. I wonder which F1 team he will back then? Nice problem to have. Smart guy. Why don’t they just hand him the entire country and save themselves the hassle of pretending to the world that they know what they are doing?

  8. Well before the holiday the last we heard was that they were all in court again, and the judge was criticising Tony for not revealing the Caterham deal.
    Has the court action been abandoned?
    If what Joe says is true (and it usually is) the both teams will loose their points for prizes money from Bernie. It should be remembered that the word “chassis” has not been mentioned in court, the whole action has been about team names not chassis names.
    However it is still likely that Bahar will bankrupt Lotus International Group Ltd while holding his head high in the sunshine, way above the clouds, up where the British Porches float.
    Renault lost a lot of money last season, about the same amount as Bahar is supposed to be providing them with out of the vast loans from Malaysia, however with the rest of Group Lotus struggling to stay afloat it is hard to see where the extra is going to come from to buy Genii’s share of Renault.
    As far as I could tell the interest and repayments on the loans were about the same as Lotus Car’s total income.

  9. I’m relieved! As a Lotus fan (car company & original Team Lotus) the last few months have been a real pain in the neck!! I supported Lotus Racing and have bought Team Lotus clothing this year as a big fan of that team, however I was never comfortable with the fact that Team Lotus and Lotus cars were enemies and that Team Lotus was in effect promoting another car manufacturer (even if there are hsitorical links).

    From next season my favourite small team can be Caterham (my love of an underdog team means they will continue to be my main favourite!), and my favourite manufacturer team can be Lotus Renault!


  10. Disappointing – Thought TF was a bloke with a bit of soul who cared about owning Team Lotus, silly me he’s just a money man.

  11. “…and it will be up to the media to explain the mess to the general public – which is not going to be easy.”
    I thought you just did a pretty good job of it. That said, it is with the benefit of the background of a year of explanations.
    Hopefully now Team (Caterham) Lotus (Air Asia) can focus on moving further up the grid.

  12. So I went to the British GP, kitted my 12 year old out with Lotus (Green) t shirts and hats which no longer exist-any chance of a refund? So do we now have a Caterham Red Bull with GE engines while air asia are using Renault engines for take off and landings?

  13. Great news Joe, thanks. I still think Bahar and Group Lotus will fail (rather sooner than later), so the question is what will Fernandez do when it’ll happen now he has Catherham??

  14. Someone asked this on the Team Lotus Facebook page, and they replied to him saying that this is untrue, they went on to say that if the reporter who had first reported this had contracted them, they would have been able to stop him from writing an article that makes himself look stupid.

    If what you say was indeed happening they would not have replied to it.

  15. Interesting Joe. I wonder how long Lotus is going to keep afloat. Where do they get the money to finance their vast expansion with a new model range, new testtrack, new facilities and an F1 team – and will this operation ever be anywhere near profitable? I hope to be proven wrong but it all seems like a castle of air (as we say in Norway) that’s going to bleed cash for many years to come – and Bahar who’s flying high is heading for a crashlanding.

    With Lotus trying to move into Porsche/Ferrari/A-M territory, and the new Elise reputedly targeting Porsche Boxster at al, they may leave a niche little niche for Caterham to expand into.

  16. Maybe part of the agreement is that Danny is gone , i can certainly understand compromise but somethings cant be overlooked

  17. just a thought though wasn’t Tony s other issue loosing the money from the agreement if he changes chassis name he has to get agreement from all the teams.

  18. Like JT disappointed if this happens and thought like Ben G Fernandes was passionate about Team Lotus brand.

    Not sure if I’m going to be a Team Caterham fan or what I do with my current Team Lotus stuff I’ve bought. If this was his footy team fans would go mental, feel some unhappy tweets hitting Fernandes, but maybe he dosen’t care now he’s got a new toy with QPR.

  19. When i read about Asmat’s promotion, postpended with a gobbledygook string of operating names – i shall not call them brands, too much flux, too much disassociate connexion – i was minded of defunct royal styles of address. It made no sense to me, but is fascinating.

    What Joe postulates here, does make sense. A simple power play. Stuff the “brands”, the real deal is AirAsia. Joe, i’m recalling you mentioning that when asked about branding, Tony goes a little mumbly, in reply to one of the more recent discussions here. That would figure . .

    If so, somehow by showing Mahatir’s pet project and once – anointed son to be the crock they are, Tony has played court very well indeed.

    But if so, go macro short* M’sia, as this is the strongest – hypothetical – indicator i’ve noted lately that old guard rules, that nothing can be done except behind the scenes, and that hurts when a worldwide economy is having fits.**

    Upshot (very good one): TF sorts out the national airline.
    Slight problem: a few hundred million F1 fans, most of them not poor at all, asking WTF is this Malaysian lot on about?

    Such problems couldn’t be presented to a nicer man, though 🙂

    Bahar can now go open a showroom Lotus’ R Us Mine All Mine . . .

    (and maws that up, until someone begs TF to go fix it . . . Oh, I see what Tony did there 🙂 )

    – j

    *As in weighting, not short as in betting on collapse.
    **Marc Faber is good value on Asia Pacific, though spends a little much time taking the right mickey out of C list analysts on CNBC. A real laugh, worth a look, clips abound a search away.

  20. This all looks neat and tidy other than the fact that Bahar won’t be able to use the name Team Lotus if David Hunt still owns it. I believe it is only licensed to Fernandes.

    I understand there is always a certain amount of spin on anything that people in F1 say but a lot of people believed Fernandes when he spoke about how much he wanted the team to remain as Team Lotus. I am sure there will be a lot of disappointed people when he gives up the name.

    Which historic stats apply from the changeover? Fernandes ‘acquired’ the stats of the real Team Lotus and diluted them with the results his team has achieved. Are we then to accept that as a result of some domestic Malaysian politics another team can further dilute those achievements?

  21. Joe, what do you say to this posted by Team Lotus on Facebook…

    “This is not true. Unfortunately some journalists write stories that have no basis in fact and this is one of those. It’s a shame the journalist didn’t come and ask us if what he was about to print was true as we could have spared him the embarrassment of printing such a complete fabrication. Ho hum…. on with the action – FP1 in 13 minutes and that’s what we’re all focusing on right now!
    3 hours ago “

  22. If you have a road car manufacturer, an F1 constructor and a GP2 team, it makes some sense to use the same brand for them (Caterham) than to use three different brands (Caterham, Air Asia, Lotus). It’s not rocket science. And having one Lotus team on the F1 grid will also mean less confusion, especially because that team is the one associated with the Lotus car company. I think it’s a win-win for everyone. Maybe for the Malaysian airline industry as well.

  23. Perhaps the team will be called Caterham Team Lotus as previously suggested, but they will change the chassis name to Caterham to allow Renault to change to Lotus.

    Effectively they will become Caterham but can still claim some link to the spirit of the original Lotus team???

  24. What are the chances of Caterham starting to produce the Elise and Exige under licence from Lotus as part of any deal?

    I’ve heard rumours before, but was unsure of how true they’re likely to be..

  25. Something tells me you are going to be proven right Joe.

    I have to hand it to you, you have been on top of this story the whole way through and miles ahead of any other journalist in terms of how well you have investigated it.

    I do think that the longer term picture will see Bahar finally go down in flames and there may be an opportunity for Fernandes to scoop up Lotus and “reunite” it with Caterham…

  26. It’s on the Team Lotus facebook page in response to a question someone asked this morning. There in black and white. Why not name your sources if you’re so confident?

  27. Joe, you are looking for a post by Jani Häkkinen, he had a while helmet with a blue visor as his display picture. The reply from Team Lotus is in the comments of the post starting “news today in finnish news paper TurunSanomat that team Lotus would drop the Lotus name after Spa race, is this true?
    rumour has it that the team will be named after Caterham, but I really hope this is not true…”
    Here is image of it from the Autosport Forum http://img717.imageshack.us/img717/8499/lotusfb.png

  28. Dave, I just checked on that Team Lotus FB stream. It has only questions from visitors about the matter, no reaction from the team (if there was one initially, it must have been taken down). Guess they are still working on the official statement, before commenting.

    From the outset this is a deal that makes most sense to everyone. Sell when the price is right. Its the same as with the football clubs. Nottingham did not want to sell for Fernandes’ price, QPR did. He might have a soft spot for one, but business must come first.
    The announcement of Asmat being CEO at all 3 entities makes perfect sense in this light. Fernandes now has a megastrong Airline combination, has the national carrier under control and has a fun car brand to go racing and sell cars. Bahar can get his toys to show the world he will never live up to his promises (Fernandes will still be able to take over GL or even Proton in 2-3 years).
    And the judge might now close the case and tell the boys they did the only thing sensible, and agreed on something.

    Anyone guess wether the GP2 team will change their livery back again now?

    1. BasCB,

      I am sure that the Fernandes teams will stay green and yellow. There is no ownership of colours…

  29. Joe,

    Below is part of the thread from Team Lotus FB that Dave mentioned. It was a message posted by Jani Häkkinen. [Reply from TL was at the bottom]
    news today in finnish news paper TurunSanomat that team Lotus would drop the Lotus name after Spa race, is this true?
    rumour has it that the team will be named after Caterham, but I really hope this is not true…

    Altough I admire Tony for doing all that he has done for the team, I have to admit that selling out the Team Lotus name would drop a lot of fans from the team and I would definately be a part of that group myself.
    6 hours ago ·LikeUnlike ·

    James Williams No chance.
    6 hours ago · LikeUnlike.Jani Häkkinen Quick translation:

    Lotus Lotus-logo appear only at Spa

    Turun Sanomat 25/08/2011 8:55:31 p.m.

    The current Lotus is most likely be next year called the Caterham Team Air Asia. Tony Fernandes, has agreed to the name dispute with the Lotus Group. Lotus Renault Group operates as the title sponsor for Renault.

    During the Belgian Grand Prix weekend the team will use the same Lotus logo that they have used the whole season, but according to TS sources, they wil be removed from the liveries before the next race in Italy.

    Fernandes has also enclosed realm of football to his businesses when he acquired stakes from Bernie Ecclestone and Flavio Briatore from the English Premier League club QPR.

    Turun Sanomat, Spa
    6 hours ago · LikeUnlike.

    Team Lotus This is not true. Unfortunately some journalists write stories that have no basis in fact and this is one of those. It’s a shame the journalist didn’t come and ask us if what he was about to print was true as we could have spared him the embarrassment of printing such a complete fabrication. Ho hum…. on with the action – FP1 in 13 minutes and that’s what we’re all focusing on right now!
    6 hours ago · LikeUnlike · 15 peopleLoading….

  30. One last thought about this: Did Fernandes ever finish the deal with David Hunt for team lotus? If yes, then Group Lotus would now join all Lotus, save the Classic Lotus brand under 1 umbrella. If no, they would have to do what they should have done 15 years ago, and sign off that deal.

    For all we know, the whole court case was a matter of Fernandes working on finding the right strings to pull and establish his price. That would explain, why they never bothered with the merchandise.

  31. The one thing that most observers of the Lotus charade agree on is the likelihood that Bahar will drive group Lotus to the wall no matter how the F1 issue is solved temporarily.

    So in the great scheme of things it doesn’t matter how Fernandes’ F1 team is called in the meantime. In the event of the eventual Lotus failure all he has to do is changing the decals again and selling the Enstone team which will be surplus to requirements. I bet he will keep the British racing green for team Caterham with just that move in mind.

  32. Joe wrote:

    “Official confirmation of this is expected shortly”

    According to the local Norfolk paper, the outcome of the latest court hearing won’t be known for about a month. Bahar’s main beef now is that a Caterham could be passed off as a Lotus sports car.

    According to Bahar, the Renault chassis name would not be changed until 2013, when it could be done without financial penalty.

    Michael Bailey of the East Midlands Daily Press suggests that the feud is still very much on.


    “All of which makes it hard to consider Fernandes’ purchase of Queens Park Rangers and Group Lotus’ “seven-figure” investment in Norwich City being revealed within days of each other as a coincidence.”

    Admittedly, it becomes hard to find much logic in all this.

    Group Lotus lays off 100 people at the factory and buys a football team? Oh yes, they have yellow shirts.

    1. copy dude,

      I am telling you what I think will happen. I don’t know who Michael Bailey is but maybe he knows more than I do. Believe what you want. As I say at these times: time will tell.

  33. Sounds like everything has worked out for all parties. Anyway, what’s so hard about explaining that Lotus Group bought Renault F1 and will switch constructor names when it can reach a deal with the teams (as they’ll likely want to keep legacy revenue) and Team Lotus is switching to Caterham after reaching a deal with Lotus Group… nevermind. Anyway, glad to read the mess is reaching a logical conclusion.

  34. A “Renault” team selling Lotus cars and a Team Lotus team selling Caterham cars does not really make sense, so there has to be an agreement at some point in time.

    If Fernandez ist offered something important and valuable to his core business, Air Asia, then he has to take it, even if some Team Lotus fans will be disappointed.

    1. Cabby,

      As I have said: The West Ham fan bought QPR. That tells you that there is pragmatism in the dealings.

  35. Thought this team had a bit of soul. A hark back to what the teams used to be about. Turns out they’re just another marketing tool for a multimillionaire and his political cronies. I wont be supporting them any more, and quite frankly have zero desire to support toleman/benneton/renault/genii/lotus, a team so anonymous you dont actually know what their name is anymore. Really quite saddened by all of this.

    1. Abhijeet Gaiha,

      I am quite sure the story is largely correct. I do not know why anyone would make such statements in that circumstance. It really depends on who is sending out such things. As I do not know that I cannot judge whether it should be taken seriously or not. No-one at TL has said I am wrong. Nor have they confirmed a deal, but then they would not do that until all the i’s were dotted and the t’s crossed. At the end of the day we will see who is right. Time will tell.

  36. Sad news, but as someone else said here – Bahar and Group Lotus will go belly up sooner rather than later, cue Fernandes will then come to the rescue and like Red Bull own two teams on the grid with different names…

  37. Do remember, this is Malaysia we are talking about. The few companies I have worked with there were ALL strongly politicized. Down there, doing the right thing is never anywhere near as important as screwing whoever your rival is.
    Getting a proper part of MAS would be a good move for TF in fact (and mind you, MAS is actually a good airline to fly with), and so this immediately makes sense to me…

  38. One deatil. To stop calling his team Team Lotus does not mean that Fernandes giving the name to Group Lotus? I should rather hope that he will maintain right to Team Lotus for longer time than just a half year.

  39. Then why go through all the trouble in getting the Team Lotus name in the first place? I don´t get it. They would not make more money from the revenue if they were called something else this season, and it looks to me like the entire operation, acquiring Team Lotus and logo, was all a joke. For what?

    1. Jakob,

      Fernandes is passionate about things but he is also a pragmatist. He is a West Ham fan who bought Queens Park Rangers…

  40. From the context, it felt to me like they are denying a name change right after Spa, which makes sense based on what you’re reporting today. Quite possible that the Finnish publication only got some details of the story right.

  41. The whole fiasco has left me rather disheartened with what I thought would be the successful recovery of a multiple championship winning marque, and the resurrection of a classic name to come through the field and have a good future ahead. Last season I thought Eric Boullier was a breath of fresh air (albeit rather peculiar, imho) with the classic renault livery and what appeared to be a good team behind him, this appears to be gradually falling apart with the assistance of Mr Bahar and his group lotus supercar (delusional) aspirations. What I am mostly disappointed in is how both parties have dragged the name so far through the dirt. The saving grace being that Classic Team Lotus is just that, it’s nothing to do with either of the new lotus teams. That is one fact that (thankfully) can’t change. Whatever happens with though whole naming issues, the car I dreamed of having when I was 7 was a Lotus Elise, infact, I would still love to own one of the older, pre-Proton Elises. LRGP seems to have simply forgotten their heritage in the vein hope that they can adopt the heritage of a fallen hero of the sport. The biggest thing about this however, is that they are one of very few teams (7 I think) that have won and retained the WDC, and the only team to have done this twice. You’d think that was some heritage they’d want to capitalise one…
    I’m sticking with Team Lotus for the rest of this season, but I very well might head back towards Mclaren for 2012. Fernandes appears to be an admirable man, and (in my humble opinion) might make a great successor to Mr Ecclestone when he finally retires, what do you think Joe?
    Now, let’s get back to racing!

  42. Joe,

    Sympathies. It seems you have many readers who think that whoever keeps an eye on TL’s Facebook page is:

    1) Entirely truthful

    2) Aware of every commercial and legal negotiation involving Fernandes et al

    Keep up the excellent work. Good to have you back!

  43. Another article in the Finnish paper which broke the ‘story’:


    Translated it says:

    ‘The Team Lotus logo will remain unchanged on all the team clothing until the end of the year, but the travel outfits will change for the next race.

    Tom Webb from Team Lotus has denied the claims that the two Lotus teams have settled their dispute over the name. Thus, as things currently stand, there is no need to change the team name for the next year.’

  44. Okay,

    say TF has a load of MAS equity.

    Now how much has Petronas softened the fuel bill, or state guarantees on loans depend on other favors?

    I worry about TF, that although he knows a very different style to the – purely theoretical – western capitalism, that these are much deeper waters. He seems a rare good guy trying to do the right thing and getting (cynics would say naturally) a bit confused along the way. But he’s young. Most self made guys don’t earn a true* penny for real until their 50s. Buffet too, if you want to pick a really big name. He said he sussed out business when he was about 56!

    Surely such a move is not earnings accretive by any short term measure. I’m not online yet with the right data feeds, but fast rises usually mean lots of debt. The thing to note, is that when you carry the national flag, much is (far too often) forgiven. Who is Tony’s Freddie Laker? Honest, would like to know.

    Therefore, how much does Tony need this deal?

    Is it rumors before the fact, or rumors becoming the fact, toe in the water of opinions not expressed here or among racing fans?

    Aside from that, i am absolutely against all this “channel feeding” through semi closed outlets such as Facebook. I have seen a few major brands do this recently, and i abhor the practice. Would be on my “do not call” list if they were in my neck of the commercial woods.

    Even Reuter’s is these days is given to reporting rumor. What happened to the golden share?

    Not believing it until i see print on a paid for service (you can mortgage a really nice family home for the subscriptions . . don’t have them yet for business again)

    Still. Helluva story. Legend building, like Cruise’s never bid for United Artists and a thousand others?

    To make a legend, TF has to speak out. I fear the circles in which he operates stifle him. I’d like to make an early bet, but don’t know how. There IS no bet by the time he gets it sussed.

    Anyhow, really enjoying this man’s rise. It comes across as very human, very fallible, and almost never do you get to see that in business or sport.

    – john

    *measured by return on investment any which way you count it if you include ALL the other investors. See survivor bias as to why indices and stock prints are bunk for your average guy.

  45. This may be interpreted as condescending, but it is not intended in such a way:

    If you intend to go global, or whatever catch phrase means really big in business these days, what better way to cut your teeth than to play with F1? Cheap at that.

    Also, true entrepreneurs, which in translation does not mean hopefuls getting early backing from big name venture capital sharks or hocking free loans in an up market of inverse rates on bare paperwork, take much if not everything personally, the burdens too. That clouds considerable thinking power, which is why few do it. But to survive the miasma of professions and habituaries who impede a person who passionately wants to do business, you must take it on yourself. I cannot think of an exception.

    IF we assume TF is a home boy, attuned to what it takes to get up in the world in MY – and who does not have the same local experience when they start? – this is a foray for him, to get his bearings. If he had to pick a tricky one, boy did he ever so. Legacy Of Chapman could be a cross between marketing MBA and special forces combat training.

    Just please look this way to F1 a bit more. Halfhearted announcements of – group, no less – CEOs is premature.

    – j

  46. Assuming the team title changes to Team Caterham Air Asia, what would the name of the chassis be? Caterham or Air Asia?

  47. Renault won’t want their name associated with this mess. Will Group Lotus have the resources to support this operation?

  48. Joe, through all the stories of the past that told that Group Lotus & Team Lotus were two separate companies [dating back to the time of their founding by Colin Chapman] to the best of your knowledge are they now basically one company?

  49. People people people.

    You cant have a team called Team Lotus, that has nothing to do with Lotus, and Caterham printed all over their cars whilst at the same time having a team that has everything to do with Lotus, but is called Renault, and has nothing to do with Renault, and is not allowed to be called a Lotus!

    If this deal brings some sence back into the sport, than thank god!

    I for one hope the Genii/WWI team are able to on-sell to Group Lotus as was originally planned (when I join the dots) and are able to finally change their chassis designation to Lotus! I’m a big Fernandez supporter, but I just home sanity prevailes soon!

    I think the Team Lotus team name will once again be benched. TF agreeing not to use it and Group Lotus/Genii/WWI not wanting to use it as per the wishes of the Chapman family.

    Will Renault stick around as engine supplier to Group Lotus/Genii/WWI?

    =Team Caterham Air Asia (Caterham-Renault)
    =Lotus GP (Lotus-Cosworth)

  50. Joe, you say that “changing Renault to Lotus will not be easy”, but what do you mean by that? Wouldn’t that be a case of:

    The Enstone team:
    a) Entering with the FIA for the 2012 Formula One World Championshipseason under the ‘Team Lotus’ name,
    b) Applying with the FIA’s World Motor Sport Council for a chassis name change from ‘Renault’ to ‘Lotus’, and
    c) Making a deal with the Norfolk-based team for loss of Formula One Management money — since Enstone will likely finish 5th in the 2010 WCC, while Norfolk will be 10th;

    while the Norfolk team:
    d) Enter the 2012 season under the ‘Team Caterham AirAsia’ banner,
    b) Apply for a chassis name change from ‘Lotus’ to ‘Caterham’, and
    c) Pay Enstone the agreed FOM sum, which Fernandes will happily pay because of his MAS airline deal?

    Looking forward to your answer.

    On a side note: I for one would like to see Fernandes Lotus Racing/Team Lotus (v2) stats separated from the original Team Lotus (v1) palmares, while the future Bahar/Lopez Team Lotus (v3) should have separate stats, still.

    1. Lustigson,

      The team can change the chassis name if it wishes to do so but if it does so it will not be entitled to have historic performance money, which accounts to very large sums for a team like Lotus Renault GP. The team can change the name of the chassis without losing its entitlements if the F1 Commission consents to the change. For reasons that cannot be fully explained in a public environment the team is unlikely to be given consent if it features certain parties in its ownership/management structure.

  51. Bahar doesn’t really fit to this persona non grata profile, as he currently is not in any formal way a part of the team or the entity owning the team. These ties of course should get closer if Group Lotus buys out LRGP, but still Bahar will not have any direc position within the team. Besides, Bernie tends to side with Group Lotus on this one, so I don’t expect any resistance from F1 Commission. I’m not a supporter of conspiracy theories regarding overwhelming hatred towards Bahar in F1 environment. He’s not Darth Vader, he’s just a minor butt-hole.

    1. HoldenK,

      I think you misunderstand the level of feathers that Bahar (who is Group Lotus) has ruffled over the years. And to say he is not part of the team is simply not correct. He is the primary sponsor. He is on the board. And he has options to buy the team. That is pretty heavily involved.

  52. I assumed that there might have been some news today about this given a twitter post by T Fernandez.

    Joe – Do you expect we’ll hear anything this weekend?

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