Fernandes and Hunt now in dispute over Team Lotus name

The chances of Team Lotus retaining the rights to use the name after the legal battle that starts today have taken a serious knock.

The Daily Telegraph reports that Tony Fernandes is now in dispute with David Hunt, the man who acquired the Team Lotus name at the end of 1994 and agreed to sell it to Malaysia1, the parent company of  the then Lotus Racing, last September.

However, Hunt claims that the deal has not been completed as agreed. Without his support in court the team’s case is massively compromised.

Hunt told the Telegraph: “When we had to make the Team Lotus staff redundant in 1995 I made a promise to them and the fans to return it to F1 in the hands of a worthy custodian, and initially I had high hopes that Tony, Din and Nasa (Fernandes’ partners in Team Lotus) were going to tick the boxes.

“What angers me is that I have, in good faith, worked extremely hard on the build-up to the hearing because I believed Tony would honour our January agreement.

“He’s apparently ‘changed his mind’ at the 11th hour, by his own admission, now that I’ve done so much work on his company’s behalf, and he’s trying to renegotiate by offering new terms which are, frankly, ludicrous.

“All I’m looking for is for Tony to stick to his word and honour our agreement. If he doesn’t, then regrettably I don’t see why I should continue to provide assistance and this trial won’t be the last battle he’s facing, even if he wins.”

Update: After the story broke a team spokesman told the Telegraph: “Team Lotus has an agreement with David Hunt which was signed by both parties. David Hunt has tried to renegotiate that agreement, which Team Lotus is not prepared to do.”

2 Comments

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2 responses to “Fernandes and Hunt now in dispute over Team Lotus name

  1. posimosh

    Adam, Is mr. hunt the type of bloke that would try to maximize his presumably sizeable profit in this case by putting some ‘extra clauses’ in whatever purchase agreement he and Tony have? Seems to me this is the case or Tony is waiting to see how the court case shakes out before paying hunt off for the lotus rights. The way I see it Tony wouldn’t owe David anything if the rights end up being worthless (aka Proton wins). I guess what I’m asking is, does this sound like the act of a desparate/ greedy man? Team Lotus, in any case must have told hunt what is going on with regards to whatever payment schedule they agreed on. Something smells fishy and I am wondering if you have heard of anything specific? Dropping this news on a sunday night just in time to make the print deadline for Papers in your part of the world, let alone all of the radio and tv shows about sports. This will doubtlessly be regurgitated by various talking heads and will likely be unchallenged by team lotus as it seems that they have a gag order regarding the legalities of the case…

  2. David Myers

    Lotus won’t be able to say much at the moment because the matter is sub judice. I’m not sure what Hunt is trying to achieve by pulling this, and he certainly should not have gone public unless he is trying to discredit Fernandez and influence the outcome of the case in some way. Perhaps Proton have suddenly offered him a ridiculous sum of money for the Team Lotus name? Either way, it’s another unfortunate event in this ongoing saga. Lotus were my favourite team when they were around the first time, and I have no problem seeing the current Lotus team as a revival of the old name. I find Dany Bahar’s behaviour to be a bit on the egomaniacal side. Lotus should be allowed to be called Lotus, and Renault should continue to be Renault. It’s ridiculous.

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