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It was soon suggested that the family had withdrawn its support of Tony Fernandes, but Colin Chapman’s son Clive declined to comment when asked by this blog some months ago.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