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Page last updated at 11:44 GMT, Thursday, 11 November 2010

Group Lotus move to block 2011 Lotus Racing name change

Lotus Racing
Lotus Racing have made a steady debut season in Formula 1

Tony Fernandes' use of the Lotus brand in F1 may be blocked by Group Lotus as of next season.

The Lotus Racing team principle recently announced they would be called Team Lotus in 2011 after he purchased naming rights from David Hunt.

Group Lotus announced on Monday it's intention to block Fernandes from using the name when the current deal expires.

They say Hunt's claim to the name had 'no proper legal foundation,' and have withdrawn sponsorship of the team.

Hunt, brother of former F1 driver James, acquired Team Lotus assets, apparently including the name, when the team went out of business in 1994.

Malaysian entrepreneur Fernandes confirmed the current team's entry into F1 at the Singapore Grand Prix in 2009, using the name Lotus Racing under a year-long agreement with Group Lotus.

Group Lotus has been owned by Malaysian car manufacturer Proton since 1994, and their chairman Nadzmi Mohd. Salleh outlines their intentions in Monday's press release.

"We believe the Lotus brand to be one of the most valuable brands in Formula 1 today. We are the owners of this brand, and will take all necessary steps to protect it," he said.

"Tony Fernandes has no rights to use the Lotus brand in the 2011 Formula 1 season, and we will strongly resist any attempts by him to use our brand without our permission and will withdraw our sponsorship of the Lotus Racing team," he added.

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