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F1 NEWS 

Group Lotus 'more committed than ever'

Lotus Group sponsors Renault in F1 in 2011Group Lotus CEO Dany Bahar says his company remains more committed than ever to Formula 1 following the verdict over the naming row with Team Lotus.

A British court ruled out that Team Lotus could continue using its name in Formula 1, while granting Group Lotus full rights to use 'Lotus' and its roundel both in the sport and outside of it.

Despite Bahar insisting that having two Lotus in Formula 1 will be confusing, he says his company remains fully committed to its partnership with Renault.

"The judgement grants Group Lotus the rights to use the name 'Lotus' and the Lotus roundel on their own within F1, we are, therefore, even more committed than ever before to our long term plan within the sport," said Bahar in a Group Lotus Q & A released on Thursday.

"The Judge also found that Team Lotus, run by 1Malaysia Racing Team, has the right to continue to race in F1 under the name Team Lotus and using the Team Lotus roundel.

"As a consequence, it is inevitable that the similarity of the names Lotus and Team Lotus will cause confusion not only amongst F1 supporters and the wider public, but also amongst F1 commentators who use the word 'Lotus' interchangeably for both teams as demonstrated throughout the season so far.

"With the full support of our parent company, Proton, we are seeking leave to appeal so that this point can be clarified for the benefit of all interested in F1.

"With regards to our involvement with Lotus Renault GP, as Lotus we stand united with Genii Capital and have every confidence in the future success of Lotus Renault GP."

He also said all of Group Lotus's ambitious plans in motorsport have now full financial backing thanks to the help from parent company Proton.

"One of the most critical elements of this support has been assisting us in securing the funding for our future plans," Bahar added.

"I am happy to confirm that this is now all complete thanks to Proton's help and, together with Proton, we can focus on completing the five year business plan to return Group Lotus to profit.

"We have an incredibly strong relationship with Proton, they support us 100 per cent and frankly this is really important for a company like ours.

"Part of the business plan is the joint development of a global small car platform meaning that for the first time in the Proton Lotus history, the relationship will be mutually beneficial. This alone should demonstrate how close we are."

He added: "Everyone always asks about F1 but for us, it's not just about F1, given that motorsport in general is a key ingredient to our marketing strategy. We have always been and will always be an automotive brand that is associated with racing.

"We want to win though, not just participate. But we don't expect everything overnight, we start slowly and gradually build up our presence in a way that makes sense for our business. Look at our involvement within IndyCar, we started last year with one car, now we have three and from next year onwards we'll be offering engines. People always question the cost but, believe me, if we couldn't afford it we wouldn't do it."

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