A fight for the rights to use the Lotus name in various forms of motorsport could be looming between three parties interested in using the name.
Speculation has suggested that Lotus Racing boss Tony Fernandes had purchased the rights to use the Team Lotus name from David Hunt and that an announcement will be made this weekend in Singapore – where the team is also expected to confirm that it will run with Renault engines in 2011.
However, a report by Speed TV
has revealed that Group Lotus – a separate entity from the race team – put an application before the Intellectual Property Office back in July to use the name for a range of activities, while Team Lotus Ventures – Hunt's business – did similar last month.
The revelation comes on the back of an interesting development in GP2, following the release of the teams to have secured an entry into the sport for the three-year period starting in 2011.
Fernandes has secured an entry with Team AirAsia will provide the latest link between the Lotus F1 programme and the Junior Formulae, with Lotus Racing-backed outfits also competing in both the Renault World Series and British F3.
However, Group Lotus will also have involvement in the series – and in GP3 – having entered into a partnership with leading team ART, which will see the team run as Lotus ART in 2011.
With Group Lotus seeking to expand its motorsport activities, having already started to back Takuma Sato in the IndyCar Series, it remains to be seen who will secure the rights to use the Team Lotus name.
What does seem certain however is that Team Lotus is unlikely to feature in an F1 announcement this weekend.