David Hunt, the man who held the rights to the Team Lotus name prior to selling them to Tony Fernades, has hit out Group Lotus' decision to move into F1 with the Renault team.
Hunt's decision to sell the rights to the name has led to arguments between Group Lotus and Fernandes, with the car maker claiming it owned the rights and they were never Hunt's to sell. Group Lotus also withdrew the licence it had given Fernandes for 2010 and then announced plans to team up with Renault to form the Lotus Renault GP team.
With the announcement also including an image of a Renault R30 in black and gold colours, the prospect has been raised of two teams carrying the Lotus name appearing in similar liveries on the grid in 2011.
However, Hunt said he felt Group Lotus was in the wrong for the way in which it has approached its F1 entry and said he could see the teams being effectively 'at war' during the coming year.
“I think it's silly, whatever angle you look at it,” he told the Norwich Evening News
. “Talk about confusing the public. Group Lotus and Proton know the truth of the history [of the Lotus name in F1] and of their legal position in respect of the Lotus brand in F1. Even Dany Bahar knows.
“I know some liken it to the situation with Red Bull, where they also own Toro Rosso, but politically and commercially it's all controlled by one entity. With the two Lotus teams, there would be one with all the rights, and one which has none. So apart from the punch up it would cause in the courts, they are not going to be singing from the same hymn sheet. They are going to be at each other's throats all the time.”
Hunt added that the apparent support for Fernandes' team over the new Group Lotus effort suggested that Proton could have made an error in agreeing to the move.
“Even if Proton and Group Lotus were to succeed with their extraordinary agenda, they would actually score an own goal,” he said, “because, judging by what the fans say, the damage they would do to their brand is pretty plain.”