Kimi Raikkonen, Lotus, Melbourne, 2012

Lotus to keep name until 2017 despite losing title sponsorship

2012 F1 season

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Kimi Raikkonen, Lotus, Melbourne, 2012Lotus say they will retain their current name for at least another five years, despite losing their title sponsorship from Group Lotus.

Lotus, which previously competed as Renault, agreed a title sponsorship deal with car manufacturer Group Lotus in 2010.

It took Tony Fernandes’s Team Lotus to court over the right to use the Lotus name last year, and lost.

The team later reached reached a settlement with Fernandes’ outfit which saw the latter rebrand as Caterham and Renault take over the Lotus name.

However the loss of its sponsorship deal with Group Lotus will not mean another change of identity in F1. A team spokesperson told F1 Fanatic it could continue doing so beyond 2017.

The team added there will be no immediate changes to the Lotus branding on its cars.

Genii owner Gerard Lopez told Autosport: “The sponsorship agreement and the obligations of Lotus have been terminated. There is no option from Group Lotus to buy into F1 now – that option was taken over by us. There was one, but we have taken it over now.”

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Keith Collantine
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112 comments on “Lotus to keep name until 2017 despite losing title sponsorship”

    6th April 2012, 11:07

    My brain hurts just from reading that.

    1. Same here. I didn’t even know that Group Lotus stopped sponsoring Lotus.

      1. @slr

        I didn’t even know that Group Lotus stopped sponsoring Lotus.

        Nobody did until about two hours ago when the team announced it.

        1. Oh – I imagined they’d stopped sponsoring them weeks ago or something and I missed it.

          1. That may be true, but this is the first time it has been announced.

          2. This has actually been known for almost a month.Here is a quote from an Adam Cooper article on Speed’s website on March 13th:

            COOPER: Season Of Possibilities For ‘Lotus’

            What hasn’t been widely appreciated yet is that having won the rights to use the Lotus name in F1, Genii and the team no longer have sponsorship from Group Lotus, when we were originally told that it would be an ongoing deal.

            “We have an agreement today for the name, and as far as the sponsorship agreement is concerned, that has been cleared,” says Lopez. “We are essentially in a situation where they don’t owe us anything anymore. They’re not title sponsor, they are a name provider, they are a partner. We are working with them on a number of things. Honestly, it’s a win/win situation because it clarified a lot of things.”

            But wasn’t the whole point of the name change the fact that Group Lotus would continue to pump in funds?

            “No, they don’t have to,” says Lopez. “They were the title sponsor, and it’s actually been solved in a completely different way. They have and they don’t have to anymore, they’ve done what they have to do, to be very precise.”

            The bottom line is that the current Lotus F1 team is in a very similar situation to the Fernandes-era Lotus. It has acquired an attractive brand name which will help it to gain credibility and sell sponsorship, but is getting no financial support – and is thus promoting the Lotus road car division for free.

            “That’s essentially it, yeah,” said a smiling Lopez

          3. Thanks for that Diogenes, very interesting. Can’t say I like the way the current Lotus F1 team management thinks terribly much, if I go by that. I do wish the Enstone team good luck though.

      2. xeroxpt (@)
        6th April 2012, 16:43

        I only knew because of the engine issues Lotus had on Indy but I didnt knew had a clue about details.

    2. Total farce.

      This whole sorry affair shows how little respect they have for one of the biggest names in F1. They’re a multi title winning team, and have produced another great car this year. If only the suits were as diligent as the race team.

      1. @bleeps_and_tweak – As several other users have pointed out, Gerard Lopez has been named as a prospective buyer of Lotus Cars on a pretty consistent basis. This may be an attempt to sever all ties with the manufacturer so that he can then turn around and buy it without anyone claiming a conflict of interests.

        1. @PM I hope this or some other positive plan is in place for this that we just aren’t privy to. Too much nonsense and drama to have nothing come of the Lotus debacle.

          Glad I didn’t buy into the heated debates and arguments about Lotus last year (and that was just naming). What a waste of energy that all was.

        2. @prisoner-monkeys I’ll be honest I’ve read this article and the Telegraph link below, and I still don’t fully understand who owns what anymore.
          It just seems to be more than a little sacrilegious to have a name like Lotus, one of the most prominent in all motorsport, being constantly bought, sold, transferred etc. Add on to that the fact that the Enstone F1 team are doing such a fantastic job on the track, whilst off it they are changing hands more often than a game of pass the parcel.
          Hopefully Lopez, or someone can put all of the pieces of the puzzle back together and provide a truly secure future for what is a iconic name, and an excellent current F1 team.

    3. Lotus, which wasn’t Lotus until Lotus changed his name to Caterham, will still be Lotus despite losing Lotus as sponsor. Simple.

      1. GeordiePorker
        6th April 2012, 16:42

        ^ what he said! LOL

      2. COTD!!!!!

  2. However the loss of its sponsorship deal with Group Lotus will not mean another change of identity in F1. A team spokesperson told F1 Fanatic it could continue doing so beyond 2017.

    The team probably know better than I do on this subject, but I believe that when Group Lotus settled with Tony Fernandes last year, the rights to the Lotus name transferred to their ownership. If this is the case, then in the event that someone buys Group Lotus/Lotus Cars and they do not want to be associated with Lotus F1 – particularly if the prevailing view is that Dany Bahar’s plans led to the company’s collapse – then the team may be forced to change their name.

    1. Who’s ready to put some money on Fernandes buying Group Lotus and suing Lotus ?

      1. You would lose a lot of money if you did that sir

  3. I guess this means that Lopez wants to open up to a paying main sponsor. And don’t forget he is still in the running for actually buying Group Lotus, when the chance arrives.

    1. Agree, the F1 team take over aspirants must be keeping a watchful eye on this team.
      I would love to Virgin get out of Marrussia and put there money here instead.

      1. There’s virtually no Virgin money in Marussia these days. They have one tiny logo on the airbox and that’s it.

        1. Can’t see Virgin being interested anyway, F1/major sports aren’t really their style of advertising, too expensive and their product range is too broad.

          The team was only an experiment/vanity project, and they clearly don’t think it was worth it.

  4. This business with Lotus confuses the life out of me, even Kimi doesnt know who hes racing for!

    1. He don’t care

    2. Yeah but Kimi doesn’t care what the team is called either. So long as the car is fast.

      They could rename the team the Flying-Spaghetti-Monster (Renault) team and he’d climb aboard without so much as a raised eyebrow.

      That’s why I like Kimi. No drama, he just gets on with it.

      1. Well said! Unlike Grosjean he actually drives the car…Silly Grosjean, hw probably is more intent on smiling than the actual racing lol.

        1. that is such a dumb comment, all it shows is your hate of “Silly Grosjean”

      2. I think you could apply that criteria to any driver on the grid. They all want a fast car.

        1. Maybe excluding Ferrari for some @andrewtanner but for the most part quite true.

  5. Talk about achieving the worst outcome possible from sponsorship in F1. Group Lotus have only managed to generate bad press in this whole sad episode.

  6. There… there really are no words, are there? I almost hope Lotus goes completely user and dies a death now, much as I like the Elise. They’ve messed themselves up beyond belief.

    1. …completely *goes* and…

    2. Lets hope those rumours about Caterham buying the IP and moulds for the Elise etc. are true and they get to building those lovely cars instead soon.

  7. Another team with future financial problems on the horizon

  8. Never good news but I’m glad it’s affecting Lopez and not Fernandes. Only because I think Lopez is in a better position to react.

    I was looking forward to Unilever upping their sponsorship. No Pot Noodle F1 :(

    1. I was looking forward to Unilever upping their sponsorship

      It may happen yet. After Grosjean crashes out of two more GPs, Lotus will dump him and use Unilever money to pry Perez loose from Sauber. Their Lotus title sponsorship won’t be for Pot Noodles though, instead they’ll promote another Unilever brand – Slim-Fast 8)

      1. Either will do :D

  9. I actually dont get whats going on, is this good or bad for Lotus F1?

    1. @um1234 It’s bad news. They have lost their title sponsor. However, if they can find a team with appropriate funding it will be good news.

      1. Snow Donkey
        6th April 2012, 22:48

        Not too sure about that… Seems when proton ceased to be the owners of group lotus, Lotus GP terminated the contract rather than deal with the new owners. Also they have unlivere and microsoft money coming in, as well as room for a title sponsor. Danny Bahar was not my favorite human either. I’d say good news.

        1. Proton never cease the ownership of Group Lotus. Proton was acquired by DRB-Hicom. Group lotus was part of Proton. So, DRB-Hicom get Group Lotus as well.

  10. I have never been able to make much sense of the Lotus goins on. >confused<

  11. So now it would be safe to assume that this Lotus has no connection to the old Chapman Lotus other than name?

    1. @pjtierney IMHO, Enstone never had any connections with Hethel (Yeah, I’m using their locations as names now), and neither did Hingham. So yeah, it’s only in the name.

      1. So there is ‘Lotus’ who make the road cars, and then ‘Group Lotus’ who make racing cars, is that right? ***!? Starting to become a total joke, and destroying a name that was once on par with McLaren and Ferrari. This years car isn’t made by lotus, so why call it one? Its a Renault with major sponsorship by Group Lotus. You never heard the name ‘Mercedes McLaren’ when Merc had a large stake in that team?
        Wish teams like Toyota, Honda and BMW would come back to F1.

  12. I am absolutley sick to death of all this naming crap..

    1. This is a completely separate issue.

      1. jsw11984 (@jarred-walmsley)
        6th April 2012, 20:03

        Not really, as this Lotus wasn’t able to be called Lotus, until Lotus changed it’s name to Lotus now has no connection to Lotus but will still be called Lotus.

        It’s all in the name

  13. huh? So first Lotus sponsors renault in 2011. They change their name to Lotus. And now Lotus has dropped his sponsorship? When did this happen? So confused…

  14. Only my oppionion, but I think this entire debacle was simply a way to stop Fernades using the Lotus name and protect their brand. They never really wanted a Lotus team on the grid, but better one which they chose than another random team.

    This is backed up by them withdrawing as title sponsor. All they wanted was to use Renault to get control of their brand back. Now they have done so they are not fussed anymore.

    1. You’d have to think there would have been cheaper, less embarrassing ways of getting that result @drmouse, wouldn’t you?

  15. (1) Keeping the name without the $$$s to pay for it is just silly.

    (2) I’m sure the companies actually paying the team might want to have a say in its design. Personally, I can’t wait for the colour scheme to change.

    1. @proesterchen – It’s very difficult to change liveries mid-season. A one-off special livery, like the Red Bull Wings for Life design is okay, but Bernie likes the teams keeping a consistent livery to make it easier to identify the teams. That’s why he opposed BAR’s original plans to have one car in a Lucky Strike design, and the other in 555 colours.

      1. Bernie didn’t like the BAR idea as each car would look different. As log as they both look the same he probably wouldn’t care.

        1. That was my understanding as well.

        2. Nevertheless, it is still very difficult for a team to change their livery mid-season.

          1. @kenny – Because Bernie doesn’t like it.

      2. Midland change livery mid season when Spyker bought them (albeit they just changed red colour to orange colour only)

        1. Teams are allowed to change livery Mid-Season but they have to get permission from the FIA & all the other teams.

          This is top stop teams changing livery all the time which is something you often see in Indycar which makes it very confusing for fans (And in cases commentators) to keep track of who’s who.

          1. HewisLamilton
            6th April 2012, 16:46

            Which cars / teams have changed in Indycar?

          2. I remember Franchitti’s Target-sponsored car switches between red and blue occasionally.

          3. Which cars / teams have changed in Indycar?

            Several teams have run different liveries through the year.
            Dario runs a blue liveried car now & then (Did at Barber last weekend) & I recall him running a black livery at least once last year.

            Penske changed Helio & Briscoe’s livery a few times in 2010/2011.

            Its qui