The bitter and embarrassing Team Lotus/Group Lotus naming row is expected to finally reach a resolution next week, it has been reported – with both sides still resolutely adamant that it is them in the right.
The trial got underway in London's High Court just days ahead of the F1 2011 curtain-raising Australian Grand Prix last month, and German publication Speed Week
claims that a verdict is due to be delivered on 20 April – next Wednesday.
The ongoing confusion was evident at Sepang last weekend for the Malaysian Grand Prix, with world championship leader Sebastian Vettel referring to Nick Heidfeld's R31 that he unexpectedly saw in his mirrors at the start of the race as a 'Lotus' – when the car is in fact merely sponsored by Group Lotus – whilst runner-up Jenson Button asked Heidfeld in the post-race press conference, 'What do we call you now?' to which he was told 'Lotus Renault GP'.
Ahead of the weekend, Team Lotus team principal Tony Fernandes reiterated his conviction that his
is the only true Lotus entry on the starting grid, taking a thinly-veiled pop at Group Lotus in asserting: “We are enormously proud of what we have achieved in just 18 months, and we have done it through hard work and dedication, not by buying seemingly instant success through stickers on a car.”
Meanwhile, the airline entrepreneur has confirmed the date for Sir Richard Branson's air stewardess dare, after the British billionaire lost the season-long Lotus/Virgin bet last year as to which of the two teams would wind up as the best-placed F1 newcomer. The 60-year-old will serve on a special AirAsia flight on 1 May, with a DJ and Eddie Jordan performing on-board and all money raised going to charity.