The efforts of Tony Fernandes to hang on to the Team Lotus name have clearly suffered a blow after his key countrymen backed the Group Lotus/Renault F1 deal.
Crucially he does not have the support of the former Prime Minister, who had earlier backed his project. A Lotus statement quotes Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Proton advisor as saying: “This is an exciting development which delivers strategic benefits to both Group Lotus and Proton. I fully support the partnership.”
Meanwhile Dato’ Sri Mohd Nadzmi Mohd Salleh, Chairman of Proton, said: “We know that Group Lotus has much to offer Formula 1 and vice versa. After careful consideration, we believe this arrangement will be fruitful, both from a commercial and marketing point of view.”
Lotus has also revealed more of the background behind the deal: “Group Lotus plc will acquire a major equity stake in the team from Genii Capital. The transaction represents a partnership between Group Lotus and Genii Capital and signifies the beginning of a more comprehensive strategic alliance between the two organisations.
“The partnership between Lotus and Genii brings the ability to quickly incorporate new technologies from F1 cars into Lotus road cars including hybrid technology, Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems, aero advancements and lightweight materials. Genii, an investment holding company with a portfolio of automotive technologies, bring non-F1 technologies such as lightweight braking systems, variable compression engine technology and on board software systems to the partnership.”
Meanwhile Carlos Ghosn, Chairman and CEO of Renault, said: “This multi-partner alliance will bring a new dynamic to the team and enable it to compete with the sport’s best from next season.”
Gerard Lopez added: “For Group Lotus, access to Formula 1 opens up new marketing opportunities and a major platform for business exchanges and development. In this regard, Genii Capital possesses shareholdings in, and direct access to, cutting edge companies in the automotive industry. Our tie-up with Group Lotus and Proton, which will enable its future road car ranges to take advantage of significant new technologies, is a natural step.”