Fernandes: “Bahar never visited Lotus Racing”

F1 Fanatic round-up

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Team Lotus (formerly Lotus Racing) principal Tony Fernandes says Group Lotus chief Dany Bahar was never interested in working with his team.


Tony Fernandes: "We’re not silly and emotional and childish about it??" (Adam Cooper)

"We have done exactly what we said we would do. The whole relationship with Proton soured with the arrival of Dany Bahar, and it was very clear that he had his own agenda, and that didn’t include us. He never visited Lotus Racing, he never came and saw what we were building, he thought Mike Gascoyne was old school.”

Dallas-based contractor picked for Austin F1 racing venue (Austin-American Statesman)

“As general contractor, Austin Commercial will be in charge of assembling contractors and overseeing construction of the venue, which will include a 3.4-mile track, facilities for race teams, grandstands for 120,000 fans, and other hospitality and entertainment components that have not yet been announced.”

Scott Speed Files Lawsuit (Fox)

“NASCAR driver Scott Speed filed a $6.5 million breach-of-contract lawsuit Friday afternoon against Red Bull Racing, the team that released Speed following the 2010 season.” Speed drove for Toro Rosso in F1 in 2006 and 2007.

Charles Sale (Daily Mail)

“There is no obvious replacement for the BBC’s Formula One commentator Jonathan Legard (right), who is paying the price for a perceived lack of chemistry in the TV booth with Martin Brundle. One possibility being mooted is Brundle and David Coulthard, close friends and former business partners, teaming up in the commentary box.”

Comment of the day

Despite only getting their circuit ready days before the race, the Korean Grand Prix organisers won an FIA award for promotion. Jarred Walmsley offers an explanation:

Maybe the FIA is trying to show us that they do have a sense of humour after all?
Jarred Walmsley

From the forum

An interesting story spotted by Magnificent Geoffrey: Mark Webber’s home town is currently underwater.

Coming soon

I’m going to interview Cosworth’s Mark Gallagher next week so if there’s anything you want to know about the new engines rules for 2013 or Cosworth’s plans for 2011 please post any suggestions in the comments.

Happy birthday!

No F1 Fanatic birthdays today. If you want a birthday shout-out tell us when yours is by emailling me, using Twitter or adding to the list here.

On this day in F1

Jack Brabham won his second world championship title in the United States Grand Prix at Sebring. The final round of the 1959 season was held very late in the year, three months after the preceding race at Monza.

Brabham ran out of fuel on the final lap of the race but fortunately for him his championship rivals Stirling Moss and Tony Brooks were out of the picture. He pushed his car over the line into fourth place.

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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61 comments on “Fernandes: “Bahar never visited Lotus Racing””

  1. I know it’s the off season and there isn’t much news but I’m already bored of the whole lotus/lotus saga.

    1. The next big debate will be what shade of white the Sauber livery is because their sponsors want their own colour

      1. Speaking of livery colour, I stole this link from autosports forum, it is a patent for Lotus Racing (now Team Lotus) to use British Green and Yellow from last year, but is still valid for next year, so it stops any F1 team using the colour scheme on their cars – ie Lotus Renault are legally obliged to use anything but British Green and Yellow.


  2. I wanna know why they’re not using twin turbos as is the modern trend. By the time they introduce them I imagine It’s likely to be 2015/6, which won’t be leading the manufacturers, it will be following them.

    1. As I understand it… Twin turbos is the trend for larger engines, where the extra swept volume produces a larger ‘lag’ effect. For smaller engines such as the mooted 1.5/1.6 it’s not a problem.

  3. The Austin Statesman web site now has a lot more F1 coverage than a) it used to or b) any other US paper web site I’ve seen. It might all be canned stories but it’s got a front page drop down link. This is unusual in the US in my memory. Hope it attracts interest and support in TX.

    1. Great to hear they are active in reporting about it. Would be great to have a solid basis for F1 in Austin and Texas to build on.

  4. I’m 100% behind Fernandes on this one. Bahar’s actions would make even Flavio blush. It’s not so much that he wants the Team Lotus marque, that I can understand that as he sell Lotus cars.

    It’s more the way he skews the history of Team Lotus’s F1 history and uses it as promotion when it’s common knowledge that Group Lotus never ever ever built an F1 car is something I simply get my head around.

    1. Also because of all this coverage of the story, people that did not know before know now.

  5. Why not Ben Edwards as a commentator? He does the review DVDs and he commentates other series and does a decent job of it.

    1. Mr Edwards, sir, is that you? :)

      I hope you’ve settled your differences with the BBC about you doing other series too. That was what stopped you last time.

      1. ah, ok I didn’t know that I had had a disagreement with the BBC. That would make sense I guess.

        I’ve really enjoyed listening to my work in the GT1’s and wondering why I wasn’t being linked with F1, I reckon I’d do a pretty good job of it.

  6. No obvious replacement? The BBC have an excellent (and widely popular) replacement right under their noses in the shape of one Mr David Croft.

    1. Quite so. Saying there’s no obvious replacement just sounds like they’re trying to be nice to Legard, which if they are planning on giving him the heave-ho is a bit rich.

      Interestingly I’ve met three different and unlinked people who all say he’s an interesting, knowledgeable and nice chap in real life, and personally I’ve no problem with his commentary: he’s a mile better than Murray ever was (though not quite as funny).

  7. Even the office cleaner would be better then Legard!

    1. “And the broom goes round the final ben, He’s lost it! He’s lost it! Fantastic!”

  8. I’m already bored of the whole lotus/lotus saga, Group Lotus Vs 1Malaysia. please… work smart and work hard, dont work hard only.
    Now who smart? when ur bought it, it’s yours and name it…

    1. The Sri Lankan
      12th December 2010, 6:44

      yeah tony should just rename the team to something else. i dont see a point in him supporting lotus anymore

      1. I would think the reason he’s doing it is 1) he now has the rights to the Team Lotus name (the one from F1 racing!), and 2) he also has the backing of the Chapman fammily. I very much doubt the former Renault team will have a ‘break glass in case of vctory’ box at the back of their garage.

  9. not to sound annoying.. but who is this Bahar guy? is he the ceo of GL or something?

    and also not to bring out the hate.. i actually quite like legard.. sure he gets a bit over the top for no reason, and he talks over brundle.. But he adds to the hype of watching a grand prix.. Each time OneHD changes to the BBC team, Legard and Brundle come on.. and i instantly know that i’m listening to the F1.

    besides, Brundle and Legard are miles ahead of the One team..

    1. is he the ceo of GL or something?

      Something like that.

    2. Danny Bahar is the CMD of Proton, who own Lotus, he was previously the CMD of Red Bull back when they were fun.

      CMD = Crazy Marketing Dude.

      1. Was it when he left when they stopped being the fun team?

        In any case, he had a stint at Ferrari between Red Bull and Group Lotus.

  10. Jarred Walmsley
    12th December 2010, 9:53

    Cheers for the COTD Keith, two now.

    I applaud Tony and his team for returning to the green and gold livery, like he said they are not being childish about it, they just want to race and are willing to take steps to ensure they stay in F1. Bahar is being very childish about the whole thing and to me it has an air of them not being allowed into Team Lotus and subsequently throwing a hissy fit and buying into Renault simply to spite Tony and his team

    1. Great way to go by Fernandez. Keep the iconic BRG (beeing green et all, LOL), keep the fans happy – 77 % wanted to keep the BRG/yellow livery and avoid all association with sublimal tobacco marketing. And making Bahar look like a fool as well.

      1. Jarred Walmsley
        12th December 2010, 20:22

        Exactly, Group Lotus also trying to use gold and black plays very nicely into Fernandes’ hands, he keeps the fans happy while at the same time making himself appear the better man by being more mature about the whole livery thing.

  11. Nice, so now Tony is admitting his upset because Bahar went with the support of Group Lotus somewhere else… like a kid who’s no longer getting toys from his rich uncle. Sad.

    1. Tony has a right to be upset. Group Lotus reneged on a 5-year deal with him to develop an F1 team. Seems Bahar does not have much patience and wanted to buy into a winning team immediately. It will be interesting to see how this plays out, and to see if Bahar lasts longer at this job than his last two jobs.

    2. Bahar upset Tony intent 2 change Lotus R to Team Lotus.

  12. Are Cosworth allowed to make changes to their engine for 2011, and how far do they think they were behind the other engines this year(if at all)?

    DC isn’t a commentator, he does ok as a pundit but he doesn’t really have the flair for television.

    I’m sure the BBC has plenty of talent we’ve never heard of that they could promote to the role, it’s unfortunate but I think Crofty would probably prefer to stay at 5 Live.

    1. But couldn’t the same have been said about Martin Brundle before he started on ITV’s F1 coverage?

      Why not go the Have I Got News For You approach and have a different person paired with Martin each race?

      1. Brundle was always very good with words though, I think it would be better to have a one driver/one commentator pairing also.

        And dont get me started on HIGNFY, they never should have sacked Angus Deayton.

  13. Keith, how about asking Cosworth what they think about the current and future rev limits.

  14. Despite wanting Legard out, i dont want the Crofty/Davidson partnership splitup. They work wonderfully well together with a great chemistry, and with Karun Chandhok coming in as a guest for FP is wonderful stuff. Regardless of who the beeb get in for next year, it wont change me using the redbutton to listen to David & Ant (unless they pinch Crofty ofcourse).

    1. How about giving Karun Chandhok a shot at the TV gig ( if he can’t get a decent drive)?
      He’s proved he knows his stuff with Crofty and Davidson and he has a damn good sense of humour. If he could get along OK with Brundle they might make a cracking team.
      I totally agree that it would be criminal to split Crofty and Davidson up !

  15. Anyone else tired of Fernandes and his little games? He likes to take the moral high ground on everything, only he’t not in reality – second to the black and gold idea but claiming it as his, catty remarks about tobacco, forcing fans to choose between the teams, creating the whole team lotus IP issue, slagging off Bahar each chance he gets, the catty little tweets etc etc… the guy is no angel, he just shouts loudest so people listen to him more.

    1. Sorry, but how did he create the IP issue? Group Lotus had a long standing disagreement with the owners of Team Lotus already, and they then decided to be silly about the team they allowed to race with their own name, creating problems for said team because they wanted to do it themselves for whatever reason; given that, I don’t find it surprising Fernandes went to talk with Team Lotus to keep his working branding instead of giving up.

      1. He created it by buying Team Lotus, which was a dormant entity until 2011. As it stands in 2010, he had a Group Lotus license, it was terminated and that was the end of the story, or at least it should have been. He could have walked away but instead he’s started a Lotus vs Lotus war by putting Team Lotus back into the mix. He knew this would create a real mess (hence why he didn’t use it in 2010), and he knew this will drag the name of the brand thru the mud, and yet, he proceeded. So if you ask me, the guy has a shiny nice veneer but beneath that he is a ruthless person, and he is the agressor in this situation now.

    2. Aramis, I disagree with your assessment of Fernandes.

      Group Lotus withdrew its support from him and the F1 team when it decided to buy into an established team instead. Fernandes didn’t create today’s IP issue, that was created by Proton failing to do due diligence on the history of Lotus, and then failing to follow up once they knew they did not have the rights to the Team Lotus name.

      1. Well I would have to disagree because Team Lotus were not in F1 in 2010, nor for the last two decades almost. The trademark has cobwebs all over it by now. So there was no Lotus vs Lotus situation in F1, or at least there wouldn’t be if Fernandes hadn’t gone out of his way to bring in Team Lotus.

        I mean if someone doesn’t want you to represent their brand anymore, well that’s disappointing, but that’s life, but that doesn’t mean you go reviving up a competitor look-a-like brand with dormant of the shelf IP, that’s the actions of a vindictive person in my opinion.

        I mean seriously, why not just run under a different name? Why create all this negativity and drama? It’s so silly to push it to a Lotus v Lotus situation but at the end of the day he is the one who pushed it to that, Group Lotus can withdraw their support, a little harsh, but fair, they are the risking of using some else’s IP, but Fernandes can’t let go and he is destroying Lotus in the process, it’s really selfish childish in my opinion.

        1. I’m sorry Aramis, but a less balanced and tendentious view of the situation vis-a vis Lotus I’ve never read. You are perfectly entitled to an opinion but one should try to have a modicum of fact to back up your argument. I see here lots of opinion backed by very little fact.

          1. Well leon I don’t see you laying out no facts here either.

            Is it not a fact that Fernandes raced under Group Lotus license this year that was terminated?

            Is it not a fact that after that happened there would only be 1 Lotus team next year (Lotus-Renault GP).

            Is it not a fact that but for Fernandes actions of then pursing the ‘Team Lotus’ IP there would be no Lotus vs Lotus problem in 2011.

            Botton line, don’t build your patio in some else’s backyard, this is what Fernandes did this year with basing his racing team around Group Lotus IP that he did not own. The attempt now to move everything under Team Lotus banner has only aggravated the situation.

          2. Jarred Walmsley
            12th December 2010, 20:30

            Well that would be all well and good Aramis, if Tony Fernandes’ actually purchased the rights to use the Lotus F1 team from Group Lotus which he didn’t all he did was purchase the rights to use the Lotus Racing name (i.e any racing not the F1 team just racing) as a gapstop for him to acquire the Team Lotus name from David Hunt.

            So, basically Fernandes has the F1 team and Group Lotus has a car manufacturer that sometimes races its road cars.

            Fernandes did not create the issue. Bahar did by being arrogant about the whole thing and throwing a tantrum

        2. Aramis, perhaps you are trivializing the business importance of breaking a contract. Fernandes created the F1 team with Group Lotus’s cooperation as part of a 5-year plan. It seems that the new Group Lotus CEO, Bahar, who arrived in Sept/Oct 2009, did not see things the same way and contrived a way to break the contract this year, without compensation it appears. The manner of breaking the contract is now the subject of a court case.

          Fernandes operated in good faith under the Lotus Racing name for 2010 and didn’t seek the Team Lotus rights until he was dumped by Lotus Group. Understandably he wants to continue with the Lotus name as he has been creating his F1 reputation with it. Surely if Group Lotus wants him to use another name, they should be talking to him and offering him some kind of trade-off.

          1. Mvi, just cos Fernandes says it was contrived does not mean it was, don’t believe everything people say, especially when they have clear vested interests.

            Anyway, who cares if Fernandes wants to continue with the Lotus name, he can’t, it’s not his! It’s Group Lotus’ name. It’s so incredibly arrogant to think that you are entitled to someone else’s IP. OK, so he got this decrepit Team Lotus trademark and dusted that off in the hope of now overriding Group Lotus’ IP rights in F1, again, the arrogance of it all is astounding. I mean this is not a fight about Air Asia, this is Fernandes trying to stop Lotus being Lotus. I’m just astounded that he has the nerve to literally try and kick Lotus out of F1 because his little operation is actually the ‘real’ Lotus, it’s comical.

  16. yea its more useful on bigger engines, but manufacturers are putting them on smaller engines now as well in order to downsize the size of the engine whilst maintaining low end grunt. they’ve said they will introduce them, just not at first. if they’re going to do a job, they should do it properly

  17. Lotus doesn’t deserve Proton… simple as.

  18. Hi Keith,

    Suggested Cosworth questions:

    “Did the new teams added value to the grid in 2010?”

    “What kind of KERS systems (flywheel etc) is Cosworth being prepared for?

  19. Brabham won his first WDC on this day, actually:)

  20. Has Legard been officially dropped?

  21. Off topic Keith but i’m having problems with the forum loading up, both on Chrome and IE. Dunno if this is the same with anyone else. Says in the corner it’s sending requests, but it fails and keeps repeating.

    1. Thanks I’ll have a look.

  22. Team Lotus do not have an engine next year.
    The contract for Renault engines is between 1Malaysia and Renault F1.
    Just because Fernandes supposedly bought the Team Lotus trademark which is as yet not registered to him he did NOT buy Team Lotus history.

    Team Lotus history ended in 1994.

  23. As funny and experienced Coulthard is, I can never really imagine that gentle Scottish voice of his getting anywhere near as excited or dramatic as a commentator should do. I suppose this is a box Legard does tick – not that I want him commentating however.

  24. This Lotus CEO Bahar seems to be a petty dolt. Instead of being grateful that Tony Fernandes is giving them tens of millions worth of free exposure through using their logo and name he had decided to do an absolutely idiotic thing and spend money that I bet Lotus cannot afford to spend in the first place to escalate a battle of egos. Lotus should be using every last time they have on R&D for refining existing models and designing future cars in a woefully underpopulated line of cars. Beyond that, they definitely need to be spending money on an anemic infrastructure of dealerships and service centers. Truly a mind boggling turn of events.

  25. I am sorry to hear this LTS vs LTS mess but, personally, I know where I can buy my future Lotuses from and my support for the manufacturer’s team is a no-brainer. Sure it does suck for Team Air Asia that the factory is backing Renault but if you have the $$$ to buy an F1 team, which team would you go for if you can’t get Mercedes, Mclaren, Ferrari & Red Bull? Use logic, not emotion, and it is a pretty easy choice.

    1. Unfortunately, this race program will probably hurt the street car division more than help it.

  26. Hope I’m not too late, but I’ve got some questions on the new engine rules.

    – will there be a development freeze, and when?
    – how many valves does an F1 engine have?
    – is valvetiming part of engine mapping? And, is it more like the Honda V-Tec system, or more like the ducati desmo system?
    – does Gallagher feel there’s enough freedom for the engineers within the limits to be creative? Maybe with optimum for Turbo / KERS? Or else?

    Ah well, regardless if I’m in time with my questions, I look forward to the article

  27. http://www.lotuscars.com/news/en/nigel-mansell

    Come on Fernandes’ boys, time to badmouth Nige for betraying the one and only true Lotus.

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