Click to view our fantastic subscription offers

Instant access to the F1 paddock

You have 10 views remaining

You have read 5 stories this month. After 15, you will need to register or subscribe.

Register with us for free to view 30 stories a month.

Or subscribe to AUTOSPORT+ for unlimited news stories and access to our exclusive subscriber-only content.

Our commitment to quality journalism

We've introduced metered access to AUTOSPORT which will ensure that the majority of our visitors can continue to view the site for free. But we think that is worth a small investment from those who use it most, so that we can continue to send the leading experts in their field to motor racing paddocks all over the world to break the latest news and produce the most compelling interviews and race reports.

Every visitor gets 15 free page views per month. Once you reach the limit you can register to get 30 views or choose one of our value-for-money subscription packages to continue viewing and to get additional access to a range of features including:

  • Unlimited access to AUTOSPORT with news and views from the paddock
  • Enjoy AUTOSPORT+: subscriber-only analysis, comment and top-quality pictures
  • Get AUTOSPORT magazine in a digital format on your computer or iPad every week
  • Full access to FORIX - the world's best motorsport statistics website

We greatly appreciate your continued support to keep AUTOSPORT at the forefront of motorsport coverage, and we look forward to welcoming you as a new subscriber.

Glenn Freeman Editor
Find out more about our subscriptions

Lotus dispute gets March court date

Tony FernandesThe dispute over the Lotus name in Formula 1 will now go to trial much earlier than originally expected, after a High Court judge today pushed for a swift resolution to the matter.

Although Mr Justice Peter Smith rejected a bid by Group Lotus for a summary judgement on one of the naming matters at a hearing on Monday, he told legal representatives that the situation needs to be settled as quickly as possible.

He has now pencilled in a March 21 date for the trial to begin - which means it will commence the week before the second race of the season in Australia.

With an intention to have the trial wrapped up in 10 days, the Lotus name row should be settled in the early stages of the 2011 campaign. It had originally been likely the situation would drag on beyond the end of the season.

It is understood that the March 21 trial will hear all the legal matters relating to the dispute between Team Lotus, which is run by Tony Fernandes, and the road car company Group Lotus.

The row revolves around what Team Lotus claims was an early termination of the five-year licencing deal it originally had with Group Lotus to run a Lotus team, plus issues relating to its right to use the Team Lotus moniker in F1.

Although the judge's decision to bring an early trial does not provide any indication about which party will win in the court case, one legal expert said the refusal to grant a summary judgement was an early triumph for Team Lotus.

Tim Lowles, an associate partner at Collyer Bristow, one of the UK's leading motorsport legal experts, said: "The summary judgement application was made by Group Lotus, and it was a fairly gutsy application to make.

"You have to be fairly confident when you make an application like that, and it would appear to me, as I was not in the court, that the judge did not decide to get into the nuts and bolts of the application. He felt it better to decide all the issues at a proper hearing on March 21.

"If anything, it is a victory for Team Lotus because Group Lotus has not been able to bring the claim to an end. However, all the issues remain in the air, and there has been no further clarity as to the issues involved in the dispute."

  More news  
Read the AUTOSPORT Digital Edition
Visit the shop
See highlights from 60 years of AUTOSPORT
Paddock insight from group F1 editor Jonathan Noble
Grand Prix news updates from F1 editor Edd Straw
Breaking news feed
Live commentary feed
Boullier: Lotus name a massive boost
Lotus name row officially over
Boullier welcomes new start for team
FIA confirms teams' name changes
F1 chiefs approve team name changes
Ferrari won't block Lotus name change
Proton: No plans to sell Lotus stake
Renault backs F1 team name change
Lopez set to buy into Group Lotus
Team Lotus poised to change name
Group Lotus 'more committed than ever'
Team Lotus allowed to keep name
Lotus name row verdict on Friday
Hunt hits out as Lotus case begins
Team Lotus hits back at Proton
Fernandes hopes Lotus row ends soon
Renault frustrated by Lotus name row
Group Lotus upbeat over naming row
Team Lotus confident over naming case
Court hearing will not resolve Lotus row
Lotus naming case to begin next week
Trulli: Lotus dispute has motivated team
Bahar: Lotus row can avoid court
Chapman family backs Group Lotus
Fernandes denies Bahar offered deal
Group Lotus relaxed over Renault name
Q & A with Dany Bahar
Bahar: Lotus sought Fernandes tie-up
Renault not claiming Lotus heritage
Proton: Success vital for Lotus in F1
Q & A: Fernandes on Lotus name row
Team Lotus to keep green livery
Group Lotus hints at full team takeover
Bahar: Two Lotus teams 'no problem'
Team Lotus still bullish over name
Lotus F1 plans receive Proton support
Lotus unveils F1 plans with Renault
Gascoyne perplexed by Group Lotus
Fernandes still wants to keep Lotus name