The man who masterminded Group Lotus' return to F1 has been suspended from his role as CEO following complaints about his conduct.
While it gave no further details about the complaint, Lotus revealed that Dany Bahar had been relieved of his duties by new owner DRB-Hicom with immediate effect.
As well as being behind Group Lotus return to F1 with Renault, and at the centre of the war of words over use of the Lotus name with Tony Fernandes, Bahar introduced the brand to the wider world of motorsport, engineering tie-ups in almost every senior series, ranging from GP2 and GP3, via IndyCar and the Renault World Series, to sportscars in both the ALMS and Europe.
He also had ambitions away from the racetrack, with plans to introduce as many as five new Lotus road models. They were to have been built by Proton but, following the company's acquisition by DRB-Hicom, that dream has been put firmly on the backburner, particularly in the wake of the latest developments.
“Group Lotus plc can today confirm that, following an operational review, chief executive Dany Bahar has been temporarily suspended from his role to facilitate an investigation into a complaint about his conduct made by Lotus' penultimate parent company, DRB-Hicom Berhad,” the DRB-Hicom statement said.
“The penultimate holding company would like to stress it is business as usual at Lotus. We fully support the company and will continue to support Lotus in its business endeavours and development.”
While Lotus took the decision to trim its IndyCar commitment by two teams - and is being sued by a third - the company's relationship with F1 also took a bizarre turn a few weeks back, when it was revealed that the team running under the famous name would no longer be sponsored by it. However, the two Lotus F1 cars continue to carry branding for the Malaysian-based operation....