F1 team Lotus Racing is taking a naming dispute with Malaysian carmaker Proton to London’s High Court.
After terminating the team’s license of the Lotus Racing moniker, Proton on Monday vowed to challenge boss Tony Fernandes’ intention to call itself Team Lotus in 2011.
Team Lotus, separate from the Proton-owned British sports car maker Group Lotus, was sold to Fernandes by David Hunt, who acquired the name when the original team folded in the 90s.
But Proton said: “We are the owners of this brand, and will take all necessary steps to protect it.”
Lotus Racing has now responded to Proton’s statement.
“We have today issued proceedings in the English High Court for a declaration that Team Lotus Ventures has the rights to use the Team Lotus name and everything associated with that brand in relation to formula one,” announced team chief executive Riad Asmat.
He said he was confident the court will permit the use of the Team Lotus name because Group Lotus “recently tried to revoke the Team Lotus trademarks at a hearing … but they were unsuccessful”.
And “When we signed our licence to compete as Lotus Racing, (Group Lotus) 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”, added Asmat.
Asmat also confirmed that a small team sponsorship by Proton, worth about 1.5 per cent of the team’s 2010 budget, is ending.
“Personally I think it’s odd that our colleagues at Group Lotus have not embraced what we are giving them — a global platform for creating huge awareness and great value for their operations, all at no cost to them,” he added.
On Twitter, team boss Fernandes commented: “Funny how after we deliver a formula one team that’s professional and has promise, everyone wants a piece.
“But this is great because all the facts will come out and the shareholders and government will see the real story.”
© RIF | GMM