Lotus name row poised for winter resolution
The Lotus name row could be set for a resolution this winter, with the current Team Lotus confirming that they were now open to a change of title to avoid a clash with Renault-backer Group Lotus.
The dispute has its origins in the collapse of the original Lotus Formula 1 team in 1994, which saw the sportscar company Lotus Cars bought by Proton, while David Hunt acquired the rights to the Team Lotus title used by the F1 squad with a view to reviving it.
When Tony Fernandes set up his new F1 team for 2010, he initially used Lotus Racing under license from Proton, before acquiring the Team Lotus name from Hunt.
But when new Group Lotus boss Dany Bahar wanted to bring his firm into F1 in its own right - initially as Renault's title backer but with a view to taking on a greater role with the ex-factory operation - the Renault-engined Lotus team and the Lotus-branded Renault team were set on a confusing collision course.
Legal action failed to resolve the issue for this season, but Fernandes has indicated that he is now willing to reach a settlement.
He added British sportscar firm Caterham to his group of companies earlier this year, amid speculation that Team Lotus could run as Caterham in F1, freeing up Group Lotus to do what it wished with Renault.
"I always had a problem with 'Am I really Team Lotus?' because there's a big question mark on that," Fernandes told Reuters.
"You can't have a name and not monetize it.
"So we will have to wait and see.
"I don't think this is healthy for anyone, having Lotus Renault and Team Lotus.
"I've always had the door open and there could be a win-win for everybody."
Team Lotus CEO Riad Asmat insisted that Fernandes' words did not mean there had been a firm decision to back down in the row, but admitted the door was open.
"No decision as yet," said Asmat.
"We are still Team Lotus as you can see but as my shareholders have mentioned we are open to anything and we will see how it progresses from this point."
For either Lotus or Renault, or both, to change official names would require the approval of all the other teams in F1, as Asmat acknowledged.
"I guess there is a process that we all have to go through but as I highlighted, it is a process that we will undertake if and when the decision is made but it's something that hasn't happened yet so I can't comment," he said. ITV Sport