Worrying noises about Group Lotus

The Lotus F1 Team has separated itself from the main company and agreed a deal with Group Lotus parent Proton to use the name under licence in F1 for the next five years. This move makes little sense, unless one looks at it as part of a longterm plan by Lotus F1 Team owner Gérard Lopez to take over the car company itself. The challenge in such a deal would be to get the automobile business without having to take on the huge debt that has been racked up by Lotus in the last two years. It is fairly clear now that Group Lotus’s current recovery plan is finished, at least in its current form. There is major due diligence going on at Hethel and the word is that Proton’s new owner DRB Hicom is not happy with the news that is filtering back to Malaysia.

The question that everyone in Norfolk is asking is what this will mean in the future.

The other rumour is that DRB Hicom is negotiating a deal to sell the company to the Chinese car company China Youngman, which has made a habit of using Western brands to sell cars in the Chinese market. Founded in 2001 by the entrepreneur Pang Qingnian, Youngman was built up using the Neoplan and MAN brands to sell buses and trucks. In 2006 it became the Lotus importer in China, before going on to assemble its own Lotus-branded cars, based on Proton running gear, for the Chinese market.

Youngman has been looking for a European brand to buy and has been trying to acquire Saab Automobile AB in recent weeks although that deal has been blocked by General Motors which is refusing to license Saab technology to any purchaser who would be a competitor in China.

There are also rumoured to be talks with Shanghai Automotive and Beijing Automotive – both of which have links to DRB Hicom – but the only deal that is guaranteed to keep Hethel open is the one from GenII. It would also reunite the F1, Lotus Cars and Lotus Engineering businesses for the first time since the days of Colin Chapman. It is fair to say that Proton has other problems to worry about and ultimately does not really care what impact its decisions have on Lotus Cars in Hethel. It will do what is best for Proton and for Malaysia.

The Lotus debts are a problem for all the bidders and the only way for Proton to get rid of these would be to force the situation by declaring Lotus insolvent. A winding-up of the business would allow for the creditors to appoint a liquidator, who would then get as much as possible for the assets of the company. An option would be to go into administration, which would leave the current owners in place but beholden to an adminstrator, while a third choice might be a voluntary insolvency, which would, in effect, be a deal between Lotus and its creditors that would give them a percentage of the money owed.

These days, however, there is much use of a system of pre-packaged voluntary insolvencies, which means that a deal is worked out before the insolvency is declared and is then acted upon instantly, the argument being that such deals raise more money for the creditors than a long drawn out process. The drawback is that the creditors have no say in the deal-making. In such deals the employees of the old company are transferred to the new owner.

The fear is that such a deal might result in the closure of the Lotus factory in Hethel, with only the brand and the company’s technology being taken over by the Chinese. That would also mean that there is no purpose in Lopez running the F1 team as Lotus in the future.

British Prime Minister David Cameron arrived in Tokyo today on a visit to East and South East Asia aimed at encouraging trade deals with the UK. It is expected that one of his ports of call will be Malaysia and so he may be able to have some influence on decisions that are taken regarding Lotus. The government is committed to support British engineering and losing an icon such as Lotus to the Chinese is not something he would want to see. The Malaysian politicians will understand that and will probably be willing to help out to keep Anglo-Malaysian relations in good stead. They ought to be able to influence the thinking at DRB Hicon.

105 thoughts on “Worrying noises about Group Lotus

  1. So in the end we should be gratefull if Lopez manages to get the Lotus brand, Lotus technology and the Hethel factory, as he might be more interested in keeping the current company and facilities alive then?

      1. My understanding here is that if Lopez gets this, he will keep the current management inplace as he is a fan of theirs and their vision as evidenced from his quote in Adam Coopers interview on the eve of the Australian GP below – whats your take/feeling on this point Joe?:

        ““If we were doing anything, and we’ve got to say this quote unquote because we’re doing nothing, then we would certainly be supporting the existing management team that’s there, just because we think they are really good guys. I think the value today is the brand and the fact that they’ve really been able to wake it up, and they have really good people. We’d never consider something like that, against the management.”

        http://formula-one.speedtv.com/article/cooper-season-of-possibilities-
        for-lotus/

  2. Might as well have shut the doors when MJK left the factory for the last time. Shame someone seems to have forgotten that Lotus was always about engineering first and foremost, not brand & image.

    1. I have to support your view, well inasmuch as all the Lotus engineering and purchasing guys I dealt with were first class.

      1. All of my dealings with Lotus have been as the owner of one of the Chapman era cars. Everyone I’ve dealt with, either for myself or on behalf of the club, has been very helpful and enthusiastic about the history as well as current projects. Recently, though, I’ve noticed an apologetic tone creeping in to their communications with me – it sounds like someone has been trying to stop them keeping any ties to the past at all.

        I hate what seems to be happening to Hethel. I have a horrible feeling we could be getting into a Smolenski situation.

  3. Total shambles this, Having been born and brought up in Norfolk this would be a hammer blow for the area. Could have been very different had a certain person not stuck his oar in and tired to run before he could walk, hope DB is proud of what he has done in making a famous name the laughing stock of the industry.

  4. Bit of a poisoned chalice for Lopez, isn’t it? Saddled with a meaningless name and a pointless livery that advertises a brand of cigarettes he will never see a penny in sponsorship from. He must be ruing the day he ever allowed himself to be dazzled by the smooth demeanor and expensive hairdo of D. Bahar.

    Funny that the only thing which might emerge from this debacle with any value at all is the Team Lotus name. A pity that it now belongs to a pack of Luxembourg rentiers who are not even making use of it.

    1. I think Lopez deserves a little more credit than that. He has been paying the bills and seems to be committed to making the F1 team work. The aim now is to use that to exploit synergies with other businesses with which he trades.

      1. Perhaps “rentiers” was a bit harsh. I didn’t mean to cast aspersions on his stewardship of the Enstone team, which seems to be exemplary given the circumstances. But the involvement with Bahar and the Lotus name seems to have been a loser from the start.

        On the other hand, of course, if he pulled numbers of millions out of Group Lotus last year and ensured the survival of the team, it presumably would have been worth it for him. I just think it’s a shame that it came at the expense of— but no sense in fighting lost battles again, is there?

  5. At this point I just hope that whomever ends up controlling Lotus respects what the brand is all about and takes it forward into the future, I can’t say Im optimistic about it though.

    I can’t help but think what could have been had Fernandez been allowed to buy the company.

  6. Lopez seems to be a pretty astute businessman. By keeping the Lotus brand alive in F1, it gives him bargaining power. Given his business background, you couldn’t rule out a joint deal with Youngman for the Lotus business. The first Chinese company with a potential stake in an F1 team in a cross shareholding structure? This weekend would be a good time to announce it…

  7. As a side issue, Caterham F1 are keeping hold of the facilities in Hingham not a million miles from Hethal, Might be a opportunity to get hold a nice shiny factory and facilities including a test track fairly cheaply. Saves building a new factory for Caterham Cars

        1. True, but why buy something that might come to you anyhow. If Lotus is going nowhere (or to China) then the people at Lotus Engineering will leave and where are they most likely to go? I am told that some old Lotus Engineering faces are already popping up in Caterham roles, as the shenanigans at Lotus in the last 18 months has had some effect. I see also that Tony tweeted today that “the tragic thing about Lotus is they all tried to destroy us. Ego. If they worked with us would have been so good. Anyway we get stronger day by day at Caterham”.

          1. Clive Chapman might just get his Lotus museum in the end, Shame it might be based in the facility that was once Lotus Cars. Shrewd move by TF with CTI, a nice and easy exit for the Lotus Engineering guys to stay local to where they currently work

          2. Well Joe, Lotus could be a premium brand while Caterham sellls cheaper, simpler cars. This has beend the case since the 70’s. I think Fernandes could sure use both brands.

            Sad to see what Dany Bahar did to Lotus. Where is he now, anyway? Hiding under his bed?…

  8. In the light of NorfolkExiles comment, If Tony Fernandez were to buy Lotus now, Gerard would be running cars in F1 that promote his companies name, could get interesting 🙂

  9. The fact that, if this all goes wrong, the value of my 1969 Elan S4 DHC will go up (even in America, does not make me happy. I’d rather it was worth nothing and the company went forward with a bright future. If you are so inclined, this is the time to pray.

  10. If the Co is wound up Genii is in with a chance but will inevitably be outgunned by the Chinese. If the Co isn’t wound up I think that Genii will be dead in the water as regards getting hold of the name – or anything else.

    Either way, my money is on the Chinese, who MAY keep Hethel open as a cheap way of maintaining the Brit-Link and – it has to be said – retaining a talented eng workforce. But depending on their game plan they could just collapse it down and run it from China as a shell.

    So, I’m guessing that its going to be a Chinese ‘walk-in’ (or takeaway !), with Hethel staying for a while but closing within 36 months even if its kept initially.

    AND

    As I said 2 months ago, Lotus F1 will not exist by year end. I think very soon it’ll be ‘Genii-Renault’ (bit of a ring to it!)

  11. Tony Fernandes tweeted this morning that the ‘Chairman and CEO of Group Lotus have gone’. Does this mean Mr Bahar has been ejected finally?

    1. Tony refer to Proton Chairman and CEO. The former went few months ago and the latter was a rumour that was denied by Proton, a boardroom full of confused dogs and spoilt children.

  12. I met an old friend a few months ago and he told me he was working for Mr Bahar indirectly and had moved from Edinburgh to Norfolk for the pleasure. He was amazed how much I knew about him – much more than he in fact (thanks to you BTW). I advised him to relocate back to Edinburgh and he laughed. I will call him later to see if he is still laughing!

  13. Hi everyone. I’m just back from Hethel, not Lotus but the engineering centre stuffed with Lotus refugees. I have NOT spoken to anyone in person but I did get some time in reception and the common areas and the buzz there is that Dany Bahar has left. HOWEVER that may well be gossip based on people reading Tony Fernandez on Twitter.

    On my way back I did have reason to go via Potash Lane, and I can tell you that the new site, where the ‘new factory’ is being built is very very quiet. One building looks complete and, I am told, is marked as ‘entry only for Lotus staff’. The other building has the steel frame up but despite a few cars parked on site, and one guy operating a scissor lift, I saw no sign of any construction work ongoing. It might be that they were all on a break or something. That would tie in with a report from the large building company doing the job, in last weeks paper in which they warned of layoffs at their operation because a major client project is delayed.

    I’m also informed by one of my local contacts (you know who you are and thanks!) that a Chinese group, presumably Youngman, have themselves been engaged in due diligence on Lotus.

    Lets all watch this space. Oh and joe, TF and ask him where he got the story from lol!

    1. “On my way back I did have reason to go via Potash Lane,” Ha Ha

      Potash lane is a cull de sac, having been blocked at one end for nearly 20 years, you were either on a bike or a horse!!

      RG Carters have not been paid for work done so have halted work until a stage payment is made.

  14. I think your right. The British Government will try and influence the outcome. Whatever happens the new owners will exert more influence over Group Lotus in the future.
    Your right about the workforce. Technical staff can be had without buying their current employers. Presently, Group Lotus aren’t the only employers in town.
    If DRB-Hicom keeps Lotus, they will have a future roadmap. not necessarily Dany Bahars.
    Do they have a plan?
    Time will tell.
    John Mansfield

    1. “Presently, Group Lotus aren’t the only employers in town”

      For the majority of the Engineering staff they are. Most people have moved to Norfolk for other industrial areas such as the Midlands and would have to move back if they lost their jobs here to find work. There is little other engineering work in Norfolk and certainly not in Automotive. Smart move by TF to leave CTI on Lotus doorstep to pick up the refugees.

  15. I think TF meant Dato MD Syed Zainal, CEO of Proton.

    He and Chairman Nasmi were the 2 guys most against TF taking over Lotus.
    Bahar was just a tool for their scheme. They allowed this whole debacle to happen. Nazmi apparently fired MJK in June 09 because he supported the Litespeed/MGI entry as Team Lotus and then brought in DB as CEO.

    TF calls it ego but I suspect it was mostly greed (and jealousy as TF is not a Malay and will alway be considered an outsider)

    A lot of money has been spent in the last 2 years at GL by DB and that “love” has probably been shared around between the 3 amigos. They apparently signed a new 4 year contract for DB just 3 months ago! Hmmm not for DB’s good looks only surely lol. Enough said there but could say sooo much more.

    I still think TF should buy Lotus from any insolvency because lets face it, it will take Caterham 30 years and 7 World Championships to rival Lotus as a brand.
    Caterham is a good compromise but lets be honest and say Caterham is a shadow of Lotus as a global brand. As his director you really should advice TF of this Joe ;-o ( p.s. I’m glad TF has you and DT to sift through the lies that is F1)

    Lastly, better lucky then clever, at least “Lotus” might actually win an F1 race this season as apposed to being stuck between 15th and 20th like poor old Caterham!

      1. Some years ago I attended a conference in KL. Mike Kimberley was there (ex Group Lotus CEO).We didn’t talk to each other. Afterwards I got talking with a mysterious ‘High level Recruiter’ who was very excited by a possible new client. He was very enamoured by this ‘Red Bull’ guy. The ‘Red Bull’ guy had done a very good sales job on this recruiter. He and his plans were very well received.
        Shortly after Dany Bahar was the new CEO of Group Lotus.

  16. Is any of this a surprise to anyone who has watched the extraordinary decisions that have unfolded from that part of Norfolk in the last 18 months or so ? Just sad to see a company that has been inspirational in product terms for the first 60 years end up in such an embarrasing situation.

  17. @Richaqrd Lawson: TF didn’t mention in his tweet it was the Chairman/CEO of Group Lotus. I think that he referred to the resignation of Nadzmi Salleh as CEO of Proton

    1. Sorry I just assumed TF meant Group Lotus as he referred to the waste of time regarding the lawsuit. I thought it was GL who argued for ownership of the brand not Proton!

  18. Here is an interesting idea. If Lotus folds, then surely someone like Elon Musk (Tesla) would be extremely interested in the company. Afterall he needs the light weight design expertise and is a former customer

  19. The lotus brand has been watered down to nothing,massive debts, when did lotus truely win a race,gerard lopez is effectivly running a renault with a lotus advertisment. It seems lotus is in a bloody mess and my not be worth the bother, and gerard lopez may bight off more than he can chew….But a really sad day for the lotus car employee’s….

  20. SAIC Motor Corporation Limited were previously Shanghai Automotive Industry corp who bought Nanjing Automobile Group who bought the remains of MG from the bare, chewed bones of Rover Group. (Then forming a new company NAC MG UK Ltd) They disassembled the production line in Longbridge and now several years later we have my man Plato in the BTCC driving a new MG 6 GT (Sucessfully in the first 3) It’s only when you see it empty that you realise what a huge site it was at Longbridge.

    It is not unreasonable to suppose that any Chinese buyer would do much the same, eg close Hethel, sell the land and move production to China. After some initial headaches I am sure they could make whatever was being made in Hethel. They have the advantage of fractional labour costs, but the quality control would best be sub-contracted. Lotus Cars were in the Chep system for pallets and containers for supplies. (Wherever you see those bright blue painted pallets, that’s Chep, all those pallets are being paid for by the day to Mr Chep, the system includes tens of thousands of returnable containers.) This adds another layer of complexity for any administrator, since the components may be owned by one supplier and the boxes they are in, by Chep. A large percentage of components only have one use to one customer thus their value on the market is for scrap only, however if the Chinese were to buy, they would need everything.

    There are two separate lots of Engineers at Hethel, those that work for Lotus Cars and those that work for Lotus Engineering. (“Engineering” was profitable selling a design/development service, while “Cars” was not because they never were selling enough to break even, or if they did the profit was plunged into other projects or new tooling, or indeed hair brained schemes to depose Porsche)

    They have been “banking hours” for some time now, indeed that may have ended, leaving many engineers free to do other work. Since at least half the motor industry runs on contract engineers rather than full time staff, there is no surprise that some guys may turn up at Caterham’s door. (Dartford?)

  21. Sorry to take a non-F1 slant from this.

    There has been troubling signs in North America concerning Lotus as well. The Lotus program in the IndyCar series has pretty much been a disaster from the start. It has all the signs of a slapdash operation. There are strong indications from various media outlets that they won’t have enough engines for the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race – which would be a disaster because it is the only race that on the calendar that draws casual fans and TV ratings.

    The story above only confirms my deepest suspicions and fears. Without Lotus, IndyCar will not have enough engines to go around. Even though Chevy and Honda are both in the series, both have indicated that they are at their maximum for investment and engine allotment.

    Just another arrow to the knee of IndyCar.

  22. Joe, is there any hope, even remote, that Renault might again be interested in buying in to the F1 aspect of this in view of the new possibilities of success that the team currently promises?? and return of Magny Cours , etc?
    The french used to be a patriotic bunch once before the eu bashed it out of them and the germans…
    Doesn’t Prost have some official role with team also?

  23. I spoke off the record to a Lotus Cars PR person last night who denied all claims of Administration and said Dany Bahar is on leave spending time with his family. The PR also added that they’re running on a ‘skeleton staff’ because of the holidays.

    I was asked by a news organisation to provide some footage and I can tell you that at 6.30pm there were folks at GL Hethel in the upstairs conference room down the corridor from Bahars office, head down, working on something. You’d have to presume that’s the accountants. Otherwise all quiet, no one in the offices I could see / film (from the perfectly legal public footpath btw). Mr Bahars house, while somewhat secluded, gave no further clues either. I wasn’t stalking him, I was working!

  24. Heads up as well, Caterham Technology, as maybe Joe can confirm, have temporarily taken several offices and workshops at Hethel Engineering Centre, ahead of moving in to Hingham, however also well placed as a refugee processing centre for those fleeing the civil war down the lane.

      1. Ah yes of course, however it would be nice to think that in a worst case situation there might be some hope for skilled Lotus staff as Caterham Group seem to be bringing business into the region not taking it out.

        Meanwhile nice to see Autocar are quoting you now Joe!

          1. Yes they are, Steve Croply must read your blog.

            I have a friend at CTI who says that 90% of the guys working at CTI are ex-Lotus Engineering and they are increasing daily. The guy in charge is Tony Schute, who was the chief engineeer on the Elise.

            The main reason CTI took up units in the Hethel Engineering Ccentre was so that their new recruits would not have to move as they were settled in the area, kids in school etc.

  25. Joe, just taking a look at Lotus cars web site and the number of teams they are funding in different Motor Sport categories this season. Where would the demise of Group Lotus leave all these teams and as mentioned above IndyCar and Judd ?
    Motor Sport continually throws up characters who’s egos don’t match their wallets.

  26. I have just read this @ 15:50 BST. Joe is probably finally having a well deserved sleep on the other side of the world:

    “Despite various rumours in the media to the contrary, at no point has DRB-Hicom indicated to Group Lotus that they intend to put the company into administration and we welcome the opportunity to put that rumour along with incorrect speculation that production has stopped, that Dany Bahar is no longer CEO and that we are no longer involved in F1 to bed.”

    This extract comes from a BBC news item here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-17678804.

    1. No, I don’t think it went to bed when told, I think its playing games and on the phone to it’s friends.

    2. Have I written that production has stopped? That Bahar is out or that the company is being put into liquidation? People need to read articles more carefully. I have suggested possible scenarios . That is all.

      1. I’m just getting the feel of this, that they may want to scapegoat rumours of their demise actually to Joe. So they link the joke reference to Joe first, all funny ba-har, then start issuing follow up statements. I think they are trying to slingshot some other agenda around the false gravity they earlier attribute by inventions as to Joe’s (humorously or deliberately?) purported prowess in demeaning them improperly, which is by their view falsely denigrating their viability. They just haven’t come out as such with saying that, because it would be untrue, they are merely trying to pin some other consequence on you, by setting up counter-factual but effectively complimentary rumours, so they can do this second hand. I mean, what are they doing talking about their own demise? Actually this is a lot more serious than I thought at first. It is very clever denials of false denials planted to deny rumours planted at the wrong person’s feet by a supposedly humorous misquotation. They are also playing fast and loose with what deal business they did which is known, which takes some analysis to understand before you start out. Obviously several factual items can be torn to shreds in that BBC link. Just not the way they relate to getting the wide coverage for using your name as their imaginary nemesis. (media reports they say, but are fudging it) Your normal reader of say the BBC Sport site won’t likely get any of that, whether factual, counter-factual or pure fake rumour. Forget how many outlets regurgitate the BBC. Joe, I am not sure who is burning you. Consider who else is on record, among the real players. Check your sources. Twice on this. It’s a pernicious little encirclement. I am so slow on getting with this kind of thing, sorry if I am way off, but I am always slow when I can’t pinpoint the con. I can’t ever suss out cons for myself because I always try to hold such simple views towards others. My head hurts otherwise. Thing is, I might just be looking at this through my parochially supportive mind’s eye and being dim the same way I can’t imagine anyone screwing me because I play straight, so getting stuck because I can’t imagine you any different. Obviously I get played fairly often. That doesn’t help much, sorry, but someone is trying to burn you. The point is I have no idea who this nonsense benefits. You see, on the face of it, no-one at GL benefits a thing. Hence the general reactions of astonishment. Who benefits if they can scapegoat you though? Interested, me and about anyone took this as face value rot or cockup. Other sites just as a plain good laugh. I suddenly worry it is far more complicated than that. Who wants to do deals? Crikey, sorry Joe for getting all flummoxed, but nothing seems straight at all.

  27. Press release from Lotus Cars:

    Speaking of F1: It seems that one special so called ‘independent’ source is at the root of the lion’s share of damaging rumours and misleading stories. The delightful Joe Saward which leads us nicely to….

    False rumour #3: Joe Saward is JUST an independent journalist.
    Fact: He is an active Director for the Caterham Group.

    And unlike some, we don’t want to get too personal, so we’ll leave it to you to judge how ‘independent’ his stories about Lotus are.

  28. Joe, looks like the folks at Lotus cars are taking a swing at you via their facebook page, albeit it certainly looks like it was written by an angry 8 year old who’s toys were just taken…. a PR mess if you aks me but it’s more sad than anything… one more nail to the coffin

    1. I have not read it, but nothing surprises me these days. How sad it is that the Lotus name is associated with such people.

  29. Hey Joe do you have the latest Lotus press release on all this?

    It makes everything totally clear lol. It’s all YOUR fault.

    Hey you get named, I think you are denial point number three, you evil Caterham Director you, spawn of the devil, how dare you carry on reporting things like some sort of erm…. Journalist.

    The local BBC East report didn’t really do anything to help Lotus – Kim Riley did a good job and showed the press release complete with Dany Bahar “comical Ali” photoshop. I think for a lot of locals al they will selectively hear is “Lotus – Adminstration”. He was doing the report on the public highway from the spot that I used to film last night.

    If I was doing the PR at Group I’d have stood someone, anyone, up to make the denial and rebuttal, ideally Dany Bahar of course, instead they let a crew and a reporter with satellite truck stand outside their front door and do the report. Apart from anything else, hopeless PR handling, almost certainly not the work of the excellent Alastair Florence. The strange strange press release also used the American # for point #1 etc which made it feel even more weird and remote.

    I genuinely hope we’ve all got it terribly wrong and I will happily eat humble pie (let’s face it I’m not going to be making any PR films for them anytime soon!) if that’s so.

    Whichever way, I guess I’m joining Joe and TF on the ‘no getting a christmas card’ list at Hethel.

  30. Unbelievable. That Lotus press release. Like a teenage nerd going berserk on his preferred old-established web forum, denigrating anyone within reach, as a result of being massively frustrated with reality. Laugh at them or sue them, but they’re not worth any other response.

  31. I’ve just read the full text of the very bizarre Lotus Press release. As it happens I don’t think the Bahar photoshop image is theirs to use but that’s not my business.

    The attack by, apparently, a Group Lotus authorised spokesperson on Mike Gascoigne is uncalled for, puerile, childish and amateur, and that comes from me, something of a critic of Lotus f1 as was / Caterham. Slag off Joe and Fernades if you will, but Gascoigne has just been doing his thing with the hand he was dealt. I defy the writer of the press release to produce evidence that Mr Gascoigne ever claimed he’d score 40 points in a season.

    The presser released today is in my opinion perhaps the strangest piece of PR I think I’ve ever seen and the global reaction bears this out – MSN motors called it childish for instance.

    There’s been a nasty smoking red ember at Lotus Cars the last few days, now someone has thrown a can of petrol on it.

    1. I have written to Group Lotus myself. Obviously the PR control that one would expect from a professional car company has broken down. I guess that firing out libellous press releases is merely a sign of the whole thing falling apart.

      1. I have to agree. When I read their press release it struck me as strange. If the information wasn’t true they wouldn’t have wrote one. The fact that they did leads me to believe that the rumors of Lotus’s downhill are very accurate. Very unprofessional of them to target you over it also.

        1. I will write about the whole thing when I am in a position to do so. Right now I am in an overpriced hotel in Tokyo which has a disastrous Internet system, which means that I am doing the blog only from an iPhone, which makes life rather more complicated. I am leaving for China this evening. Suffice to say I have a few remarks about Dany Bahar and his rude chums at Group Lotus.

      2. What was libelous about what they said ..they used inneuendo about you sure..but you do the same thing. I wouldn’t be so quick with legal action in case it turns round and bites you on the ass

          1. and you obviously don’t understand what you’ve written…or ever worked in law. They used innuendos…as did you. If you can’t take it you shouldn’t dish it out

  32. Joe,

    The Mole seemed to suggest there was a chance that GenII might sell the F1 team on to British interests a little while ago.

    Can you ask him if that proposal went away?

  33. Well obviously they can afford to be nasty and childish as they have no money left to payout on legal claims

  34. I’ve been a long time reader of this blog but I don’t think I’m going to continue. Your information is informative, well written, more in depth and interesting than most others. However I read the comments as much as the articles but I don’t like the way you respond to many of the people who take time to comment on your articles, if someone has a difference in opinion or even if they are plain wrong there is no need to be condescending to them. For this reason I will no longer be reading. I doubt this comment will be approved but if it is instead of writing a dismissive comment just have a look back through comments on previous articles and look at it through the eyes of a reader. PS I don’t work for Lotus!

    1. I fully understand what I have written. You get what you deserve. If I came round to your house and said that you were corrupt, how would you feel? You would ask me to leave or throw me out. I put up with a lot. I am very patient, but today I don’t feel like being patient. If that upsets you then that is life.

      1. I wasn’t talking about this specific thing to be honest or anything you had said to me, I’m talking about commenters to your blog

        1. Agreed Pete. I find Joe’s comments to anyone who does not hero worship him and his blog, to be extremely childish. His articles on Force India and Lotus are very one sided, and very damaging to those companies. And as for his book GP Saboteurs – I stopped reading it 75% of the way through because of all the spelling mistakes – and mistakes.

        2. Agree totally!

          Independently of the content of this article, I’ve found repeteadly the same thing over a series of articles, if you ever have a difference of opinion you’re treated like an idiot that doesn’t know anything.

          Such a shame for an otherwise interesting blog …

          Hopefully some day you learn how to treat you readers Joe

  35. Hi Joe

    Rhetorical question but has there ever been a greater example of a car company shooting themselves in the foot as this? Group Lotus is like an automotive freak show that you’ve just got keep watching to see what might happen next.

    As you point out (as a grown up) I might add, it’s not unusual for people to have many different roles in their working life, it’s just what happens these days.

    Anyway, you sir have my support and will continue to do so. Jalopnik wrote a good summary yesterday and included a link to the day Dany no showed on an interview with them, then freaked out with their journalists when they arranged something different. A measure of the man. http://jalopnik.com/5901091/lotus-just-turned-a-joke-into-a-pr-disaster-on-facebook

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