Fernandes to discuss Caterham F1 future

Team Lotus boss Tony Fernandes says his outfit will soon add more sponsors and work out how to incorporate Caterham into his Formula 1 plans, now that the Lotus naming row has been resolved

Fernandes to discuss Caterham F1 future
Team Lotus boss Tony Fernandes says his outfit will soon add more sponsors and work out how to incorporate Caterham into his Formula 1 plans, now that the Lotus naming row has been resolved.

The High Court delivered its verdict on the Lotus naming issue on Friday - when Mr Justice Peter Smith declared that Team Lotus was allowed to keep its name and use the Lotus chassis moniker in F1.

That decision has been welcomed by Fernandes, who says that the ending of uncertainty about his future plans means he can now start working out how best to integrate his Team Lotus and Caterham interests.

"I'm very happy," Fernandes told AUTOSPORT. "This is the final piece of our strategy jigsaw now. We have the Team Lotus name, we have the F1 team, we have goodwill, we have the roundel and we have the jewel in Caterham.

"This decision gives us the strategy to move forward, which we are very, very happy about. We will use the F1 team to provide the car company with exposure, and we are looking at bringing out a couple more brands.

"It's good to get this decision out of the way. And, as tough as it was, I am very happy with the outcome because we would not have got Caterham if this trouble hadn't started."

Fernandes revealed that his outfit will soon announce some major new sponsors now that the naming issue has been resolved - and that he expected further commercial opportunities to open up for him.

"We already have Dell, and we have signed up another big sponsor which we will announce before the Canadian Grand Prix," he said. "There are other sponsors out there who said they wanted to wait until after the court case, so I am hopeful of more in the future."

Fernandes said that the team would sit down soon to sort out how best to incorporate Caterham branding into F1 - with him hoping to have his Team AirAsia GP2 outfit renamed as Caterham as soon as the Valencia round next month.

"We have to see how we work in Caterham and how we maximise the F1 team," he added. "But we are pretty set now - we are green and yellow.

"I plan to include Caterham into the GP2 name and we will be applying to the race organisers for a name change. Hopefully that can be done by Valencia."

When asked how much the Caterham brand would be used in F1, Fernandes said: "There will be some form of bringing it in, but I don't have the answer yet.

"We were waiting for the judgment and it is good we now have clarity. I would like the decision to be a team effort and I will sit down with the senior team members and shareholders and see how it moves forward. Hopefully by Silverstone we can see what we want to do."

Fernandes also said he was not worried about the prospect of Group Lotus attempting to appeal the court's decision.

"They have to get to approval for the appeal to start with, and that may not necessarily be agreed. The shareholders at Group Lotus may also not want to throw another couple of million pounds at it," he said.

"But it is an odd one when you claim victory and then decide to appeal if you are happy with the outcome. We are happy with the outcome, but I suppose desperate men have to do desperate things."
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