Tony Fernandes has hinted strongly that he will drop the Team Lotus name for his formula one team ahead of the 2012 season.
The Malaysian entrepreneur has been locked in a bitter dispute with Renault sponsor Group Lotus but won the legal right to keep deploying the name for his Hingham-based team.
But Fernandes, also the owner of the AirAsia airline, has subsequently bought the British specialist sports car maker Caterham and renamed his GP2 team Caterham Team AirAsia.
He said at Monza: “I always had a problem with ‘am I really Team Lotus?’ because there’s a big question mark on that.
“You can’t have a name and not monetise it. So we will have to wait and see … I don’t think this is healthy for anyone, having Lotus-Renault and Team Lotus.”
F1’s Enstone based team, currently widely known as Renault, might also be heading for a name change, with the Guardian newspaper reporting that sponsor Group Lotus could finally be set to buy in.
The report said current owners Genii are “reportedly in discussion about selling the team”, with Lotus “in pole position to get it”.
© RIF | GMM