Group Lotus says it remains committed to F1 despite a change in its sponsorship arrangement with the Lotus F1 team.
In an astonishing statement released on Wednesday evening hitting out at rumours about the future of the company, the manufacturer insisted it remained the title sponsor of the Enstone-based team under the 're-shaped' agreement.
It also revealed that Group Lotus still holds the rights to purchase a ten per cent stake in the team despite reports suggesting otherwise.
“Lotus F1 Team and Group Lotus have reshaped their commercial relationship earlier this year,” the statement read. “The new governance agreement signifies the continued commitment of Group Lotus to the team and the sport.
“Group Lotus' branding and marketing rights and subsequent activities remain unaffected by the new agreement until at least 2017. Alongside continued branding and title partnership status, Group Lotus is also the exclusive master licensee for all Lotus F1 Team merchandise.
“The new agreement was reached following Group Lotus owners Proton providing team owners Genii with a £30m loan which is repayable within three years. In order to secure the loan Genii used 100% of the F1 team's assets as collateral meaning that under the conditions of the loan agreement Proton have been given full title guarantee to all plant, machinery, show cars, computers, office and the Lotus F1 Team headquarters.
“In addition Proton retains the rights to purchase 10% of the F1 team. Another 10% share option will be activated if the team default on their loan obligations with Proton.”
The statement, which also attacked various members of the F1 paddock, can be read in full below:
Group Lotus statement – 12 April:
Never let the facts get in the way of a good story….
Take a little look at what we found online. Don't you think it's funny? We do. We had a good old giggle. After all, we love a bit of self irony, just as well really. Although it's funny, this one's not accurate but then again, why let the facts get in the way of a good story? The inconvenient truth is – surprise, surprise – we have never said that there are no problems at Lotus.
So whilst lots of people obviously feel the need to comment on Lotus' current situation in the absence of proper facts or evidence, we can't ignore these particular mistruths any longer even if we would like to, so we have decided to turn a negative into a positive and use this hilarious piece of 'art' to set the record straight regarding the status quo at Group Lotus and try to return a little stability to a fast changing situation.
False rumour #1:
Dany Bahar is no longer CEO of Group Lotus.
Rubbish – Dany Bahar still is.
False rumour #2:
Dato' Sri Syed is no longer Managing Director of Proton.
Again rubbish. He still is.
You can thank good old Tony Fernandes for these two. Don't take everything he tweets too seriously – perhaps he's still frustrated about owning Caterham instead of Lotus and the fact that he fights HRT and Marussia instead of Mercedes and Ferrari in F1.