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Lotus to revive old team name & change engine for 2011

A Lotus Racing car driven by Heikki Kovalainen
Lotus drivers Jarno Trulli and Heikki Kovalainen (above) have struggled this year

The Lotus Formula 1 outfit have confirmed they are to take on the historic Team Lotus name next year.

Team principal Tony Fernandes has bought the naming and heritage rights to Team Lotus for the 2011 season.

"We move on to a new chapter, and as Team Lotus we will be an even more potent force - both on and off track," he said at the Singapore Grand Prix.

Lotus will use Renault engines after ending their Cosworth deal, though the new supplier is as yet unconfirmed.

Team Lotus were a leading force in the 1960s and 1970s, winning six drivers' and seven constructors' championships.

One of the most successful teams in the sport's history, they left F1 in 1994 because of financial problems before Lotus re-entered F1 this year under Malaysian ownership.

If someone tried to pass off as an F1 racing team, or even a GP2 team, then we would obviously challenge that. We have bought the name Lotus

Tony Fernandes
Lotus team principal

The renaming, revealed by BBC Sport two weeks ago, comes after a complicated struggle for control of the brand name in motor sport.

The rights to the Team Lotus name were bought by businessman David Hunt - brother of 1976 F1 world champion James Hunt - following the outfit's collapse in 1994.

Fernandes is now determined to emphasise the links between his new team and the legendary Team Lotus, which was founded by Colin Chapman and won a series of championships between 1963 and 1978.

Fernandes added: "Everyone associated with the team is looking forward to the challenges that lie ahead - even more so now we will be bringing back one of the most loved, revered and respected names in motor racing history.

"A new dream starts today - Team Lotus is back."

Fernandes' team have claimed the rights to the historic Lotus name in F1.

But Lotus Cars - owned by the Malaysian car company Proton - also has some commercial rights to the brand and intends to enter the GP2 and GP3 series next year in an alliance with ART Grand Prix.

The new team would be known as Lotus ART and run by Nicholas Todt, son of FIA president Jean Todt and manager of Ferrari driver Felipe Massa.

To complicate matters further, Air Asia, co-founded by Fernandes, has also entered its own GP2 team for the 2011 season which could lead to a line-up with Fernandes' F1 team.

Fernandes commented on the situation: "Group Lotus have decided to sponsor the ART racing team and that's fine. We don't understand the logic behind that but they are entitled to do it."

The Malaysian tycoon said if the Group Lotus team attempted to enter F1 under the Lotus banner it could open the door to legal action.

"It was always very clear that Group Lotus is a car company and Team Lotus has always been a racing team," Fernandes added.


"If someone tried to pass off as an F1 racing team, or even a GP2 team, then we would obviously challenge that. We have bought the name Lotus."

With respect to their engine, Lotus Racing were relatively happy with the Cosworth - but have been frustrated by problems with its associated gearbox and transmission.

Fernandes would not confirm that a contract with French engine supplier Renault had already been agreed but said: "We have a deal on the table for an engine. Once the time is right to announce that we will.

"We have a lot of things to tell you but we want to do it step-by-step."

After the Italian GP, Fernandes told BBC Sport: "We want to move up the grid and we want to be up there with the Red Bulls and Ferraris in years to come.

"We're not going to do that overnight but we've got to make those constant steps forwards."

Though they have no points so far this season, Lotus have been more successful than Virgin and Hispania, the two other new teams.

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see also
Lotus revive original team name
12 Sep 10 |  Formula 1
Lotus keen to silence F1 critics
31 Mar 10 |  Formula 1
Lotus celebrates 60 years of F1
06 Apr 10 |  History
Lotus thrilled by Formula 1 debut
15 Mar 10 |  Formula 1
In pictures: Lotus F1 car launch
12 Feb 10 |  People and Places
Lotus will return to F1 in 2010
15 Sep 09 |  Formula 1

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