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Lotus under pressure to end name row to secure Renault power

If Tony Fernandes still wishes to secure Renault power for Lotus in F1 2011, he may well have to back down in his very public naming rights row with Proton, it seems...
Lotus Racing is reportedly under some pressure to end its ongoing dispute with Proton over the iconic 'Team Lotus' name that it wishes to acquire in 2011 – or else risk Renault changing its mind on its long-mooted engine-supply deal.

Since Lotus officially terminated its initial three-year agreement with 2010 partner Cosworth last month, a much-touted tie-up with Renault has been eagerly-anticipated – but thus far, no announcement has been forthcoming. All that has been confirmed is a gearbox and hydraulic arrangement with current world championship leaders Red Bull Racing.

The reason behind that, it has been mused on grandprix.com, is that Renault is distinctly uneasy about the very public and protracted legal row between Lotus Racing team principal Tony Fernandes and Malaysian manufacturer Proton, who own Group Lotus and recently withdrew the AirAsia founder's right to use the Lotus licence in F1 as they ostensibly have racing plans of their own.

That, it would appear, was the catalyst for Fernandes to purchase the rights to the Team Lotus name from David Hunt, brother of the late former F1 World Champion James Hunt – rights that Proton questions.

The sticking-point is that Renault is reputedly interested in an alliance with Proton, who ended their working relationship with VW in 2007 and have since described another partnership as 'vital' as they endeavour to significantly boost their overseas sales figures in the Middle East, China, India and south-east Asia. grandprix.com reveals that there is already a deal for the Proton Savvy to benefit from the 1.2-litre engine used in Renault's Clio and Twingo.

Another fact yet to be confirmed – but taken as a given – is that both Heikki Kovalainen and Jarno Trulli will stay put into a second season alongside each other at Lotus, with the experienced Italian conceding only: “I cannot say anything about staying, except that it will probably happen.”

Related Pictures

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Sunday, Qualifying, Robert Kubica (POL), Renault F1 Team, R30
Friday Practice 2, Robert Kubica (POL), Renault F1 Team, R30
Friday Practice 1, Jarno Trulli (ITA), Lotus Racing, T127
Friday Practice 1, Heikki Kovalainen (FIN), Lotus Racing, T127
18.02.2010 Jerez, Spain, Tony Fernandes, Lotus F1 Team, Team Principal - Formula 1 Testing, Jerez, Spain
18.02.2010 Jerez, Spain, Tony Fernandes, Lotus F1 Team, Team Principal - Formula 1 Testing, Jerez, Spain
Maurizio Arrivabene (ITA), Team Principal, Scuderia Ferrari 
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27.08.2016. Qualifying
Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing RB12.
27.08.2016. Qualifying
Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB12.
27.08.2016. Qualifying
Jolyon Palmer (GBR) Renault Sport F1 Team RS16.
27.08.2016. Qualifying
Kevin Magnussen (DEN) Renault Sport F1 Team RS16.
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Kevin Magnussen (DEN) Renault Sport F1 Team RS16.
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Esteban Gutierrez (MEX) Haas F1 Team VF-16.
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27.08.2016 - Free Practice 3, Esteban Ocon (FRA) Manor Racing MRT05
27.08.2016 - Free Practice 3, Romain Grosjean (FRA) Haas F1 Team VF-16
27.08.2016 - Free Practice 3, Kevin Magnussen (DEN) Renault Sport F1 Team RS16
27.08.2016 - Free Practice 3, Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB12

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IanM - Unregistered

October 26, 2010 9:04 PM

I remeber back when David Hunt purchased the Team Lotus brand and it all seemed clear cut then. Proton and others could have made a bid for it anytime since then. All this just seems sour grapes that they have missed their chance to Tony Fernandez. Would love to understand more why they question David Hunts title to the Team Lotus brand to see if it has any substance. And what power does has the malaysian govt say it will resolve the issue. All seems a contrived power play from global car manufacturers who are run by people who do not understand any F1 history of what Chapman achieved with his beloved Team Lotus

PistonBroke - Unregistered

October 26, 2010 9:53 PM

If "Group Lotus" bought 20% of "Team Lotus" then at least they would have a finger in the pie, more credibility , a say in the team, and marketing push for their road going cars.

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