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Page last updated at 16:09 GMT, Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Lotus legacy is unclaimed - Gerard Lopez

By Ross Heaton

Gerard Lopez
Lopez runs Genii Capital, who own 75% of Lotus Renault

Renault team chairman Gerard Lopez says that no current Formula 1 team can lay claim to the legacy of the original Lotus outfit.

Team Lotus went out of business in 1994, but two teams will take to the track with Lotus in their name in the 2011 season.

Lopez told BBC Oxford: "There is no claim that this has anything to do with the Lotus racing team of old.

"I don't think either group, not we or them could really lay claim to that."

He added: "This is a Lotus branded racing team that is attached to Group Lotus who manufacture road cars."

British designer and engineer Colin Chapman started the Lotus Car company in 1952.

After success with road cars, Chapman's ventures into motorsport included a first Formula 1 world championship for Team Lotus in 1963 with legendary driver Jim Clark.

Establishing themselves as one the sports' great names, Team Lotus eventually finished with seven constructors' titles and six drivers' championships before collapsing with financial difficulties.

Since then arguments over the rights to use the Lotus name in F1 have occurred between Norfolk-based Team Lotus and Proton Cars - the owners of Lotus Cars, who sponsor and will eventually purchase a stake in what was the Renault team in Oxfordshire.

Lopez, whose Genii Capital group owns a majority stake in Lotus-backed Renault team, believes any confusion among the fans is unnecessary and that the naming issues are likely to be clarified before the start of the season.

"We are sure to be called what we are going to be called and I'm not sure they will be called that way," he said. "It's pure speculation that there might be four cars using the same name."

Originally both teams were set to use same black and gold livery in 2011 but Team Lotus have abandoned those plans and will use a variation on the green and yellow colours they used in 2010.

The Lotus-backed Renault team have confirmed Robert Kubica will drive for them in 2011, but Russian Vitaly Petrov has been asked to move closer to their UK headquarters if he is to take his seat.

Lopez said: "We will sit down with them either before Christmas or just after and if he understands what we are saying and accepts a number of changes, including moving closer to the factory, then I see no reason why he wouldn't be our second driver."

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see also
Team Lotus abandon black and gold
12 Dec 10 |  Formula 1
Renault F1 sign deal with Lotus
08 Dec 10 |  Formula 1
Piquets win Renault libel verdict
07 Dec 10 |  Formula 1
Lotus naming rights row deepens
27 Sep 10 |  Formula 1
Lotus revive historic team name
24 Sep 10 |  Formula 1
Renault sell team but stay in F1
16 Dec 09 |  Formula 1

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