Find out more about our subscriptions

Team Lotus poised to change name in 2012

Team Lotus logoTeam Lotus and Renault chiefs have dropped firm hints that the Lotus naming row could be resolved at the end of this year - leaving the way clear for both outfits to be renamed.

After a long fight over the use of the 'Team Lotus' name in F1, speculation is mounting that the Hingham-based outfit could be set to use a new name from 2012, with Renault adopting the Lotus moniker.

Although the matter would still need to go through official channels for the team and chassis names to be changed, the team bosses of both outfits have suggested the situation is moving forward to ensure there will only be one Lotus team in 2012.

Renault boss Eric Boullier said: "I just saw in the paddock that [Group Lotus CEO] Dany Bahar was talking nicely with [Team Lotus boss] Tony Fernandes, so I guess there is a settlement that has been done.

"We will see. Changing the name of the team/chassis can have some complications with sponsorship and obviously with TV money, so it is a matter we have to raise when we have all the elements in our hands."

Group Lotus sponsors the Renault team and has made no secret of the fact it wants to rebrand the team and rename it as soon as it can.

For Fernandes, who won the right to use the Team Lotus name after the matter went to court, he believes his outfit may be better off using one of the brands that he owns - with it possible the outfit could adopt the Caterham Team AirAsia name that its GP2 outfit has.

Speaking to AUTOSPORT, Fernandes said: "I always had a problem with 'am I really Team Lotus?' I always said that era was theirs, we were just bringing it back under new ownership. It was up to the fans whether they liked us or not.

"But there was a business behind it as well. You can't have a name and not monetise it. Effectively we are marketing someone else. I don't think this is healthy for anyone Lotus Renault, Team Lotus, whomever.

"I've always said that protecting the brand is paramount and it's not me that started all this. I didn't have a claim, they (Group Lotus) had a claim. And they lost that case. But I've always had the door open and it may be a win-win for everybody and we walk away.

"I also always said we wanted to be in the car business and I never hid that fact. And now we have Caterham."

And as well as the likely name change, Team Lotus is also set to move factories next year with it evaluating a switch to either Silverstone or the former Arrows and Super Aguri facility at Leafield.

Fernandes added: "I think the best scenario is that the cars leave for Australia next year and come back to a new home. There's no two ways about it. But Hingham will always be there, because we've got composites and we're developing a technology and engineering division."

  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
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
Lotus dispute gets March court date
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