Chapman family backs Group Lotus

The Chapman family has now officially come out in favour of Group Lotus in the ongoing battle over the use of the famous name.

They have also made it clear that they did not want to see the Team Lotus name back in F1, and imply that they had been told by Lotus Racing that its name would not change.

When Lotus Racing was announced the family was totally behind the project, but things changed when the war over the name stepped up a gear in the autumn, and it became apparent that Group Lotus was planning a deal with Renault.

It was soon suggested that the family had withdrawn its support of Tony Fernandes, but Colin Chapman’s son Clive declined to comment when asked by this blog some months ago.

He did however mention that Group Lotus’s ambitious plans included a museum, or ‘heritage centre’ at Hethel, which would become a home for the fabulous Classic Team Lotus collection which he curates – something that Fernandes clearly could not offer.

A statement by Clive issued on behalf of the family reads as follows:

“The Chapman Family is impressed by the exciting developments underway at Group Lotus, and it is very grateful to Proton for the significant investment that is being made, to secure a strong future for the excellent workforce at the Hethel factory.

“In 2010 the Chapman Family and Classic Team Lotus have been pleased to support Group Lotus in many ways.  In consultation with Proton, this included supporting the use of the Lotus name in Formula One, which was licensed by Group Lotus.

“The Chapman Family was impressed by the achievements of Lotus Racing as a new team, and appreciated its respect for Team Lotus history.  However, then its license to use the Lotus name was terminated and things changed.

“During 2010, the Chapman Family, as and when appropriate, made it clear to those involved that it would prefer that the Team Lotus name should not be used in Formula One.  Indeed, assurances to this effect were received.

“The Team Lotus identity represents the motor racing legacy of Colin Chapman, and this was preserved by the Chapman Family and invested within Classic Team Lotus.  The association by Group Lotus with Team Lotus history is much appreciated and entirely appropriate, especially as it is in keeping with how things were in Colin Chapman’s time.

“The  Chapman Family is looking forward to continuing to give its support to Group Lotus, which is the ongoing Lotus entity created by Colin and Hazel Chapman.  After all, the Lotus marque is the responsibility of Group Lotus, and Hethel is the home of Lotus.”

16 Comments

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16 responses to “Chapman family backs Group Lotus

  1. uh oh. Honestly – why are they getting involved?!
    I wouldn’t want my name associated with Danny Bahar

  2. Fulveo Ballabeo

    If the Chapman’s no longer own anything Lotus, then why do they even have a say? Sentiment is nice, bit if it worked in business, Asian/Middle-Eastern Tilke-dromes wouldn’t be replacing classic European circuits.

    Separately, Fernandes has built businesses. Bahar has built vapor. The smart money has to be on Fernandes.

    • CTP

      Indeed, they shouldn’t have sold the rights to the name “Team Lotus.”
      I smell a big fat Malaysian cheque just being deposited in the Chapman Family Trust bank account.

      • Cyclops_PL

        They never did. Colin Chapman created Lotus Engineering which built sports cars. Two years later it was split into sports cars company and racing team – Team Lotus. Around 1990-1991 the whole Team Lotus, not only the name, was sold to former employees Collins and Wright. The team ended up in David Hunt’s hands in 1995 but never actually materialized in a real racing project (he tried to collaborate with Pacific Grand Prix) . The last race for the real Team Lotus was in 1994. The team was officially closed and Hunt remained with ONLY brand name.

        This story is relevant to today’s mess in several aspects. First of all, saying that Lotus Racing or Lotus Renault GP are successors of Team Lotus is a lie. None of them is. Period. The second thing – the team being closer to be rightful user of Lotus imagery (not “Team Lotus”) is Lotus Renault due to direct continuous link with Chapman’s Lotus Engineering from 1952 (Lotus Engineering, without Team Lotus, was turned into Group Lotus, which changed owners several times to be bought by Proton in 1996. Now this Group Lotus buys shares in the Renault F1 team and we have Lotus Renault GP). The Fernandes team does not have such connections, it only owns the brand name Team Lotus bought from Hunt, and previously raced as Lotus Racing thanks to the license from Proton-owned Group Lotus. Business-wise the team is 1 Malaysia F1 Team.

        Now the trick is, that court may decide that at the moment of Team Lotus ceasing to exist in 1994, the image rights to all Lotus activity became exclusive for it’s parent company which was… Group Lotus, since there was no other entity formed from Team Lotus. Now what is sure, is that Group Lotus CAN race as Lotus and use Lotus imagery and legacy, and no court will decide otherwise. What is not sure is whether Tony can race with Team Lotus name, because it can infringe IP rights of Group Lotus. So court may decide that despite legally owning the name, they can’t use it since the name is connected to the image which is intellectual property of Group Lotus.

        All in all, Tony Fernandes seems to have nothing, the Lotus name row seems to be a lost cause for him. He can only win the lawsuit for earlier termination of the license and get some hefty damages. And that’s it. What he has is a decent racing team, bunch of good guys, but it’s NOT Lotus. And he should deal with it.

        Side note – look at Tony’s twitter and Lotus Renault GP twitter. And think again, who’s not behaving here. I didn’t see any insults to Tony from Bahar’s guys. Other way around? Oh there’s plenty, and it’s not cool. I want the pragmatic adult Tony Fernandes, not the stubborn, pesky kid Tony Fernandes.

  3. John

    For me Team Lotus died when Collin and Warr couldn’t keep it going. The rest of this is about Proton trying to sell cars on the heritage of Lotus and Fernades doing the same thing to market a F1 team. After all these years now Clive Chapman has something to say, maybe he should have been a little vocal when it mattered 15 or so years ago.

    • Williams4Ever

      For me Team Lotus died when Collin
      >> Tin Hat users group maintain that Colin didn’t die. He is somewhere in South America after the debacle of project he was executing for Govt agency and he owed lots of monies to Govt….
      So in that sense its valid movement to keep status of Team lotus unconfirmed just like the death of its founder

      http://forums.autosport.com/index.php?showtopic=44187

  4. GQsm

    F****** sellouts.
    They can stick Colins cap up their ars* if this is how easily they can be bought.

    Colin ran a small tight knit grass roots team, no way on earth would he side with Bahar-Renault (none entrepreneur, all corporate dollar) in this debacle compared to Fernandes’ ground up race team.

  5. Ash

    I wonder if Bahar made the Chapmans an offer they couldn’t refuse — a home for Classic Team Lotus if they sang from Bahar’s hymnsheet, and a swift termination of the licence to use “Lotus” and the CABC badge if they didn’t.

    I’ll be very glad to see the back of that nasty blow-dried spiv when his financial house of cards collapses…

  6. I don’t care what Tony & Mike’s team is called, I like the cut of their jib. It’s a shame after all their loyalty to the Lotus racing heritage.

  7. jim

    I love it. Before, the Tony backers were saying “The Chapman family approve”. Now it’s “WGAF what they say”. :lol:

    Joe Saward must be having a super Christmas, what with just about every claim he’s made for zealously backing TF’s 1 Malaysia, over Group Lotus having been wrong.
    All he’s got left is “Some people don’t like Dany Bahar”.
    I gotta imagine Joe will be having his feet stepped on again next year… :P

  8. Peter G

    Honestly, does any one really care?
    LOTUS died back in the early 90′s. Their great days were from the mid 60′s to the late 80′s .

    Its not LOTUS, whether its Tony Fernandes or Danny Bahar.
    PROTON are a joke anyway.

  9. 4u1e

    Oh, it’s just a mess, isn’t it?

    Given the ugly way it’s panning out, I agree with the Chapmans that it’s best that the Team Lotus name stay out of it all. However, the strong impression is that they’re being used to try and win over fans to Group’s side, and since fans aren’t stupid that may well backfire.

    And do we really believe that if Group do (somehow) get the rights to use Team Lotus, that they will not do so?

  10. Stone the crows

    Clive Chapman? Is that the same Clive Chapman that gave Tony Fernandes his father’s cap to throw in the air if/when they won a race? Hypocrites! The Chapman family was good to go with team Lotus I, until they got a better offer, and now team Lotus I is illegitimate because they say team Lotus II is the real deal. Follow the money, the Chapmans got a better offer after someone else found out there was a real interest in a resurrected Lotus Formula One team.
    Tony Fernandes ought to fight tooth and nail to keep the Lotus Brand for one more year then give the team his own sirname, and let Renault deal with the two-faced Chapman family.

    • I think the same about Chapman’s family. Two-faced family, giving their interest on money, and not honour, or just what’s Lotus brand, and all. Far away from Colin Chapman’s philosophy. Maybe more risky on track, but at least, led by passion…

      On the other hand, I don’t think one team or the other deserves the Lotus name. Team Lotus should be kept far away from motorsport as soon as the original team died.
      Now, it’s just an ego battle, between Bahar and its too-good-to-be-true marketing plan, and Fernandes who has been f*cked up by the whole Malaysian troops.

  11. Its just messy…..Lotus died a long time ago

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