Malaysian VIPs back Group Lotus deal

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.”

6 Comments

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6 responses to “Malaysian VIPs back Group Lotus deal

  1. Redstorm

    I will never root so hard against a team as I will the Proton group. TF does the hard work and then Proton decides they should reap the rewards? I don’t think so…

  2. jim

    A couple folks seem to have sand in their Cha-Chas, over Group Lotus making Tony Fernandez change his team’s name. Get over it. 🙄 They licensed the name to TF for a year, and then pulled it so they could race under their own banner. Group Lotus is “Lotus”.

    And am I the only one that finds it strange that TF, MG and the rest at 1Malaysia racing are constantly making derogatory comments about the folks they are going to court with???
    Isn’t the 1st thing a lawyer will tell you when facing legal action always “SHUT UP”???
    The way they’re spouting off, makes me think they know they don’t have a legal leg to stand on, and are just trying to get their shots in while they can. Either that, or they have no lawyers what so ever…

    • 4u1e

      You may be right – you certainly are right that the best advice is to keep quiet – but Group Lotus have been making a lot of technically incorrect statements in public about the former ownership and history of Team Lotus, which also seem to be aimed at bolstering a somewhat shaky legal position.

      Much as I would love to see a real Lotus back at the track, this seems more like a duo of Dr Frankensteins squabbling over the findings at the graveyard. Let Lotus rest in peace!

    • Mark

      Jim,

      Apart from MG questioning whether or not Group Lotus could afford to run in so many racing series at once, I haven’t spotted any derogatory comments from MG, TF or anyone claiming to speak on behalf of 1Malaysia / Team Lotus.
      Please could you point me in the direction of those comments? I’d be interested to read them. Thank you.

  3. Black Knight

    Anyone know if a firm UK court date has been set to sort this out ? It needs to happpen – yesterday. I’m certain that FIA and FOM can’t let this go to the grid in Bahrain. Bahar’s approach to this could backfire pretty badly if the court honours the Lotus F1 purchase of the F1 rights. Proton bought Group Lotus and negelected to fully acquire the Team Lotus rights. Pretty big miss I would say – one of these team will be running a new livery and trying to save face. A potential sponsor can’t go near them until this is sorted.

    • 4u1e

      What worries me is that legally they may actually be OK – Group Lotus is coming in as a shareholder and sponsor, not as a team in its own right. If that doesn’t contravene whatever exactly Team Lotus’ rights are, then we really could have two sets of Lotus Renaults next year.

      Bernie does like things nice and tidy (BAR didn’t get very far with an asymetric paint job…) so I guess pressure will be brought to bear. However, will he choose to put the pressue on a largish automotive manufacturer, of which F1 is in short supply, or on the owner of one of the second tier teams he’s been so disparaging about recently?

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