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GP Week : Issue 102
For your daily dose of Formula 1 news ... F1 NEWS >> A legal battle has erupted between Group Lotus and Tony Fernandes’ 1Malaysia Racing Team (the official company name of Lotus Racing) over the rights to use the Team Lotus name in Formula One next year. With Group Lotus having refused to extend the licensing agreement with 1Malaysia to use the Lotus Racing name Fernandes bought the rights to Team Lotus from previous owner David Hunt, only for Group Lotus to claim all rights to the Lotus name in motorsport. “Following that termination [of the Lotus Racing license], ... 1 Malaysia Racing Team ... [does not have] the authority of Group Lotus to use any ‘Lotus’ brand in the 2011 Formula One season. This includes the use of the brand ‘ Team Lotus’,” read a statement from Group Lotus. “Group Lotus believes the rights [to Team Lotus] to have no proper legal foundation, a fact of which Mr Fernandes (left) was well aware when his company purchased them.” Group Lotus owner Proton said it would take all steps necessary to protect its right to the Lotus name, but Lotus Racing’s CEO Riad Asmat was quick to deny Proton’s claims to the Team Lotus name, insisting the Malaysian- owned firm had admitted to not owning the Team Lotus rights last year. “When we signed our licence to compete as Lotus Racing with Group Lotus, they were very clear that we could not make any reference to Team Lotus as they had no rights at all to the Team Lotus name,” said Riad. “In fact, in the licence agreement between 1Malaysia Racing and Group Lotus the use of the Team Lotus name is expressly prohibited as they had agreed contractually, as long ago as 1985, that they had not rights to use that name.” 1Malaysia Racing has already begun proceedings in the English High Courts to reaffirm its rights to the Team Lotus name, and in the meantime discussions have been held between the two parties with a view to agreeing on a future coarse of action for Lotus Racing. The team said an announcement would be made in due course. Group Lotus and Lotus Racing go head-to-head over Team Lotus rights 11