Group Lotus and Team Lotus have agreed to drop their court actions and resolve their legal dispute in a five-a-side football match in Kuala Lumpur next Wednesday.
Sources say that the idea was suggested to Tony Fernandes by Her Majesty the Queen when the Malaysian entrepreneur received his CBE at Buckingham Palace yesterday. Fernandes, a life long fan of West Ham United, immediately agreed.
The Air Asia boss contacted Group Lotus CEO Dany Bahar through his lawyers and, against expectations, a deal was concluded by last night. Proton is said to be relieved that the potentially damaging court action is over.
The match is to be played at 8pm in the Malaysian National Stadium in Bukit Jalil – where the Queen herself opened the 1998 Commonwealth Games – and will see driver squads from each team in action, both sides having the option to field substitutes.
Lotus Renault has Vitaly Petrov, Nick Heidfeld, Bruno Senna, Romain Grosjean, Fairuz Fauzy, Ho-Pin Tung, Jan Charouz and recently announced F1 demo driver Nicolas Prost, while Team Lotus will field charity football veteran Jarno Trulli, Heikki Kovalainen, Karun Chandhok, Davide Velsecchi, Luiz Razia and Ricardo Teixeira.
Lotus Cars has requested permission to add IRL contender Takuma Sato after Ferrari refused to let Lotus ART GP2 driver Jules Bianchi participate.
The Queen reportedly told Fernandes yesterday that she was disappointed that the Lotus name has been dragged through the mud in recent times.
Although Her Majesty is not noted as a keen follower of motor sport she is known to be a fan of the Lotus marque thanks to her children. Princess Anne used to own a Europa before replacing it with a Reliant Scimitar, and while better known as an Aston Martin man Prince Charles briefly owned an Esprit in the 1970s. His mother is believed to have occasionally borrowed it for evening drives around London, and is rumoured to once been stopped for speeding on Park Lane.
It’s thought that Bahar agreed on the basis that he can regain a Royal Warrant for the company, and is hoping that either Prince William or Prince Harry will take delivery of an Evora.