by clicking the arrows at the side of the page, or by using the toolbar.
by clicking anywhere on the page.
by dragging the page around when zoomed in.
by clicking anywhere on the page when zoomed in.
web sites or send emails by clicking on hyperlinks.
Email this page to a friend
Search this issue
Index - jump to page or section
Archive - view past issues
GP Week : Issue 62
THE Malaysian government-owned Lotus Group has emerged as a potential saviour of the BMW-Sauber F1 Team. The news, first reported on autosport.com, comes amid reports suggesting that any potential buyout of the team will have to be completed within the next fortnight, as the FIA has to allow any replacement 13th team enough time to adequately prepare for the 2010 F1 season. It has long been known that Peter Sauber and Mario Thiessen's focus on a deal to save the team has been centred in Malaysia, with the country's government-owned Petronas oil and gas company a long-time partner of the BMW and Sauber F1 teams. The Malaysian government, through its national auto brand Proton, also owns the Lotus car brand (through its majority shareholding in the Lotus Group) and it is thought that there is now sincere interest on the part of the Malay officials to link Petronas and Lotus for a full backing of a takeover bid for the team. Lotus cars announced that it had recruited former Ferrari brand manager Dany Bahar as CEO last week, and it is believed that Mike Gascoyne, who had been behind a move to bring the Lotus name back to F1 through Litespeed's attempted F1 entry earlier in the season, might also come on board to the project if the buyout goes ahead. Gascoyne was able to convince David Hunt, brother of 1976 F1 champ James and the current owner of the F1 'Team Lotus' name, to join his Litespeed F1 bid any Gascoyne involvement in the BMW buyout has the potential to allow a tie-up between the Lotus Group (which owns Lotus Cars) with Team Lotus (F1). Without Hunt's permission to use the Team Lotus name, however, there is still a chance that Lotus could return to F1 by badging customer engines as 'Lotus' power units, thus circumventing naming the squad Team Lotus, but keeping the brand involved with a potential team name of Sauber Lotus. This is not the first time that the Lotus name has been entertained by an active F1 team in recent years. GPWeek understands that an approach was made by former F1 Team Chief Aguri Suzuki to purchase Lotus Cars (via the majority shareholding in Lotus Group) from the Malaysian government towards the end of 2006, with the intention being to link the brand with his eponymous F1 team. Super Aguri (or Team Aguri Lotus as it may have been renamed) had even drawn up extensive livery designs for the 2007 season, which would have recreated the iconic British Racing Green and yellow stripe colour- scheme, so synonymous with the Lotus F1 cars of the 1960s. Again, by not naming the team as Lotus, but rather by badging engines or naming the brand as a sponsor, Suzuki could have potentially dodged legal complications with Hunt. Could BMW-Sauber become Lotus in 2010? F1 NEWS >> 9