Lotus confirms 2012 name change to Caterham

2012 F1 season

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Lotus T128 and Caterham Seven, Duxford, 2011

Lotus has officially announced it will be re-named Caterham in 2012.

The FIA confirmed earlier this week Lotus had agreed to allow Renault, which is sponsored by Group Lotus, to use the name.

A statement issued by the team said: “Proton, Group Lotus, 1Malaysia Racing Team and its owner Tony Fernandes are delighted to announce that the legal dispute in the English Courts relating to the ‘Lotus’ and ‘Team Lotus’ brands has now ended amicably with the parties agreeing settlement terms earlier this month.

“The terms of the settlement are confidential but the deal sees the ‘Lotus’ brand reunited under the sole ownership of Group Lotus. This includes the rights to the ‘Lotus’ and ‘Team Lotus’ names in Formula 1 motor racing.

“1MRT will race in the 2012 Formula 1 season under the name ‘Caterham F1 Team’ and will use a ‘Caterham’ chassis.

“The deal also sees a working relationship established between the parties and they will work together on future projects in the automotive field.”

Team Lotus CEO Riad Asmat said: “We are proud of what we have achieved by bringing the Team Lotus name back to Formula 1 when many tried and although we are sad to say goodbye to Team Lotus we are excited about owning our own future and being in control of our own destiny.

“Now we have no one to be compared to. We make our own history and we will remain green and yellow.

“Now we look forward to an exciting future racing under our new team name of Caterham F1 Team. Please continue to support our very special spirit of never say die and support us on the track as we move up the field and demonstrate that the good do win.”

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Image © Team Lotus

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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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69 comments on “Lotus confirms 2012 name change to Caterham”

  1. It would be fascinating to find out David Hunt’s view on this. After he kept the Team Lotus name out of Group Lotus’ hands for so long, I wonder how he feels to have it handed over so soon by Tony Fernandes?

    1. Have Group Lotus ever properly negotiated with Hunt over the Team Lotus name? I’ve always been under the impression that they hadn’t, believing that Hunt wasn’t the legitimate owner.

      Clearly Hunt was the owner, though, and I think I read some time ago that he was willing to let Group Lotus have the Team Lotus brand, perhaps at the right price, which is perfectly fair.

      1. I’ve always been under the impression that they hadn’t, believing that Hunt wasn’t the legitimate owner.

        I believe Group Lotus’ argument was that when the original Team Lotus was closed down, it was not liquidated properly. They believed that in this case, the rights to the Team Lotus name would revert back to Lotus Cars.

        1. Which if true is incorrect.

          As it would have been proved in the court case they lost.

          As I understand it, the team (Renault as of now) is becoming Lotus. Not Team Lotus.

          1. Ah wait, disregard that, I’m wrong.

      2. As far as I understand the whole episode, first GM and later Proton more or less never even understood they were not 1 until they made the buy.

        Group Lotus never did make any realistic proposition to Hunt after they fould out “Team Lotus” was not theirs, argumenting along the way of what @prisoner-monkeys writes.
        In the past year Fernandes is supposed to have bought that name from Hunt, although details of that seem unclear as Hunt later refused to testify in favour of Fernandes team in front of the High court.
        But the fact Fernandes now transfers the rights to that name to Group Lotus would indicate, that his deal with Hunt was done.

  2. I’m glad to see the Lotus naming issue sorted out. It was an odd situation and one I felt uncomfortable with. It’s going to be strange to see Renault as the Lotus team, but fair enough now. I’m willing to go with that.

    Lotus is dead, long live Lotus.

  3. I wonder if ‘Lotus Renault GP’ will indeed change to the ‘Team Lotus’ moniker.

    Whatever the case, I wish stats sites et al. would differentiate between the 1958-1994 Team Lotus, the 2010-2011 Lotus Racing/Team Lotus, and now the 2012-and-beyond Lotus Renault GP/Team Lotus outfits.

    1. Quite.

      If they do become Team Lotus it’ll be quite a mess.

      Which history will they adopt?

      The Toleman/Benetton/Renault history

      or the

      1958-1994 Team Lotus history?

      1. I should think they’ll adopt the ’58-’94 Team Lotus history. Renault are a company with their own racing heritage and will want to keep it their own.

        I think the Toleman/Benetton timeline stayed as one (’81-’01), and then broke off when Renault bought them out, with Renault continuing on from their first stint in F1 from 1977-1985… stopping athethe end of ’85 and picking up again at the start of ’02

        What would be most interesting to see is if the new Team Lotus count the past 2 years worth of effort from Lotus Racing/Team Lotus in their records, or if they’re considered as the first two years of Team Caterham’s history.

        1. According to Forix, Toleman and Benetton were seperate entities, just as Benetton and Renault are/were. Which is a good thing.

          I reckon that the chassis name is the denominator here, not the team name, since Lotus’ first Grand Prix win was scored by a privateer entry, not by Team Lotus. Hence, Fernandes’ team’s stats would likely be counted towards Lotus’ 1958-1994 tally, and the new Enstone-based Lotus’ scores would be added to those.

          1. Not always the case though. The Footwork named chassis is included in the Arrows team stats. Same with Lotus’ chassis named JPS. And I would fully expect the Marussia stats to carry on from Virgin’s 2 years in F1.

          2. Constructor and team stats are different things. Team Lotus have 74 Grand Prix victories; Lotus chassis won 79 races, with the remaining 5 going to Rob Walker Racing (4 for Stirling Moss and 1 for Jo Siffert). 79 victories is the number Group Lotus have always quoted in their promotional materials.

      2. The present Renault (2002-2011) inherited the previous Renault chassis designation (1977-1985) and not Toleman/Benetton.

        If they had, they’d have been competing against themselves in 1981-1985, when both Toleman and Renault were on the grid.

        1. Thanks Keith. That shows how much of a mess changing team names is I guess. If they adopt the Team Lotus name and history that would mean what is essentially the same team, the Enstone team, would have a part in 4 different histories. Madness!

    2. No, they won’t. Tony Fernandes still owns the rights to the Team Lotus name. I think Group Lotus has given up on their attempts to acquire it.

      1. yup, they won’t use Team Lotus name, the FIA statement said they will stay Lotus Renault GP, but ESPN reports it as if Fernandes gave up the Team Lotus name to Group Lotus as part of the deal http://en.espnf1.com/lotus/motorsport/story/63685.html

      2. “The terms of the settlement are confidential but the deal sees the ‘Lotus’ brand reunited under the sole ownership of Group Lotus. This includes the rights to the ‘Lotus’ and ‘Team Lotus’ names in Formula 1 motor racing.

      3. He doesn’t.
        “The terms of the settlement are confidential but the deal sees the “LOTUS” brand reunited under the sole ownership of Group Lotus. This includes the rights to the “LOTUS” and “TEAM LOTUS” names in Formula 1 motor racing”

        From the press realease on Team Lotus website. Group Lotus now owns Team Lotus AND Lotus.

        1. @cyclops_pl That exact quote is already in the article.

      4. Read again @prisoner-monkeys, it seems Fernandes transfers those rigths with this deal, as quoted in the article (and in the comments above :-) )

  4. Ok name change done… Now for a even faster Caterham please to replace the Superlight R500, not just a fancy paint job.

  5. So even though Group Lotus are now Team Lotus too, are Caterham still to use the yellow and green livery that is iconic Lotus in 2012? Or will New-Lotus ditch their black and gold that’s only famous because of cigarettes, and use the green and yellow, leaving Caterham to find another colour scheme. I’m guessing if Caterham change, it’ll be to that horribly dull and rather ill-thought-out white and red Air Asia colours that they run in GP2.

    1. From the article: “We make our own history and we will remain green and yellow.”

    2. @ajokay

      are Caterham still to use the yellow and green livery

      Yes, Asmat says so in the quote in the article.

      1. Ahh, see thats where i got confused… I forget who owns which company, and seeing as Group Lotus are to become Team Lotus, i thought he was from the Group Lotus/Renault camp, and was talking about the green and yellow being on the “Renault” next year.

        I guess by the time they Melbourne hits next year, my brain would have finally figured it all out!

      2. Which is somewhat strange as classic Lotus colours will represent Caterham, and JPS colours will represent Lotus.

        1. Not really seeing that classic Caterham colours are the same as Lotus.

          I can’t see group lotus wanting to ever use the Team Lotus name now. A lot of people because of this situation know Team Lotus was not group Lotus cars. Group Lotus won’t want people accidently thinking they are not the Lotus car company. They may try to claim the team lotus history though.

          1. @the-last-pope, Group Lotus has been trying to claim Team Lotus history since ages, their whole entry to the Petronas HQ in Malaysia (and the Lotus Cars factory as well) are decorated accoringly.

            But I think they should make a cut and build a new episode of Lotus, using their own name and stick with the colours they now chose as theirs (black with a gold lining).
            I see little sense in changing to green/yellow now from a marketing point of view.

        2. @Fixy Such confusion is the hallmark of today’s world, isn’t it? Awkwardness aside, when one considers that Caterham’s backbone is Colin Champan’s Lotus 7, it becomes ever-so-slightly more apt. Slightly.

  6. This is actually a pretty good resolution for Fernandes et al I reckon. When they first came back as Team Lotus, although some people rightly had issues, I think there was a good link to the Team Lotus of the past. However, this whole affair has made that link a lot less certain now and assuming that Group Lotus/Renault do use the name next year then I expect pretty much no fan to view it as the same historical team.

    It’s been a farcical saga which has sullied a well known name within the sport and if I were at Group Lotus/Renault I’m not totally sure that I would want to use it anymore.

    1. well, they have much more in common with the old Lotus than Fernandes’ outfit, in my opinion.

      At least they are sponsored by the car makers. Fernandes’ team even runs under the Malaysian flag, which isn’t that Lotus-esque.

      None of them are Chapman’s Lotus. But at least Group Lotus builds the cars badged as Lotus, so they are more Lotus than Team Lot… oh, wait! You know what I mean!

      1. +1 well explained

      2. Fernandes’ team even runs under the Malaysian flag, which isn’t that Lotus-esque

        It’s a bit Lotus-esque since Lotus is owned by Proton, a Malaysian company.

        1. Yeah, but Fernandes’ team didn’t have a single thing tie with Proton, nor Lotus for that matter. So they ran the Malaysian flag for a different reason.

          If Group Lotus/Proton wouldn’t put the malaysian flag on Lotus. Just like Ford gave Jaguar de british flag. Otherwise they’d have named the team Ford and gone for the USA flag.

    2. When they first came back as Team Lotus, although some people rightly had issues, I think there was a good link to the Team Lotus of the past.

      Why? They had absolutely no connection to the original Team Lotus.

      1. Of course. No connection. However I feel it is easier to make a connection from a new team with no history rather than the Enstone based outfit, which, to me, I will always associate with Benetton/Renault.

        Ultimately no one can make a real claim and it would have been a lot better had Fernandes gone with something original to the sport.

        1. @supernicebob I agree with this summary. Neither can make any genuine claim to own the past successes but 2010 Lotus at least was a new team with aspirations to follow in the footsteps of Team Lotus, not just a rebadged Renault.

          For similar reasons I think a lot of people are unfairly dismissive of Toyota’s years in F1. Despite spending a lot of money doing it I think they deserve respect for building an F1 team from scratch and not just following the trend of buying up and renaming an existing constructor (ala Honda, Jaguar, BMW, Mercedes, Renault and 2012 Lotus). F1 needs new teams and respect is due to HRT, Virgin and 2010 Lotus for giving us that recently, without them the three car team might already be a reality.

          1. Don’t forget that Jaguar was a Ford brand and Ford heavily backed the Stewart team right from the start.

      2. Being a Formula 1 team with a green and yellow livery based in Norfolk, something which the Enstone outfit fail at on two counts.

  7. I was already confused, and this doesn’t help me either. :)

    There are so many Lotuses, it’s hard to keep track of all that.

  8. Green and yellow are pretty common colours for Caterham too. Remember Caterham was born out of a Lotus car.

    1. There are rumours (or were before Team Lotus confused things and purchased Caterham, probably partly as a back-up, partly as an attempt to rub Group Lotus up the wrong way) that the Elise in its current- or more likely 1st generation- guise is a candidate for being revived through Caterham.

      1. @matt90 I wondered if the quote above was referring to the old Elise becoming the latest Caterham.

        “The deal also sees a working relationship established between the parties and they will work together on future projects in the automotive field.”

        1. I skimmed that bit. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if that’s what happens.

  9. So the fans of the team need to buy new teamwear each year. What a wise way to make profits :)

    1. We should sell that idea to football clubs, they’ll love it for sure!

  10. About time to be honest.

    “The deal also sees a working relationship established between the parties and they will work together on future projects in the automotive field.”

    That intrigues me though. Wonder what it could be?

    1. @andrewtanner
      Caterham Elise could be a future possibility. I’d heard rumours even before the companies became F1 rivals. At the very least there have been motoring magazines suggesting it would be a good idea.

      1. The Elise is pretty close to being the ideal car for Fernandes’ business strategy for Caterham too (OK, that’s not quite true, it’ll need modifying to be a bit more robust if he’s going to market it to the swelling professional classes in the developing world, but it’s a good basis).

  11. I thought that buying Caterham was a bitter move, an attempt to wind up Group Lotus by buying something linked to part of their heritage. I thought that it would ruin any possibility (if the rumours were even true) of Caterham producing either the current or mkI Elise in the future (in much the same way they bought the rights to the Seven). but it looks like it may have been a master-stroke. With a name like Caterham, the brand can maintain some prestige, even if it doesn’t have F1 heritage. So he probably bought Caterham with every intention of eventually caving to Group Lotus, giving them full rights, in return for either money or some deal for the newly acquired Caterham, and he now has a more complete brand that actually produces its own sportscars with the potential to grow into something producing more of a range of specialist ex-Lotus cars.

  12. I Love The Pope
    9th November 2011, 15:31

    This is why I do not bother following teams. I follow the drivers. The whole constructor thing does nothing for me, and probably for few outside the actual teams.

    Now, don’t get me wrong. I would love it if I could actually follow teams. But aside from Ferrari and McLaren, there really aren’t any stable teams.

    1. Don’t forget Williams ;)

  13. It’s just a name change. But it’s surely going to better from here on.

    If they used the orange colour the Seven comes in that would have been awesome.

  14. I hope they’ve reached an agreement also for their GP2 teams: with Caterham and Lotus ART both green and yellow it is hard to tell them apart for casual fans. Logic would suggest the Lotus sponsorship livery to be black and gold like their F1 team, and Caterham GP2 to have the same livery as Caterham F1.

    1. Is Caterham yellow and green in GP2? I thought they were red and white…

      1. No HS, they started out as AirAsia team in white with red, but changed that to a green/yellow livery during the year (after the team changed to Caterham AirAsia).

  15. As a long time Lotus supporter this final resolution leaves me with conflicting feelings. Fernandes I have always thought has done a great job with real spirit and I don’t think he has disgraced the Lotus name at all. On the other hand I hated Group Lotus sponsoring a team (Renault) rather than being a constructor in their own right, and their general attitude to Fernandes. But spiritually if not legally, Team Lotus and Group Lotus should be one and this finally joins the two together as it should be, even if far too late and after a year’s acrimony.
    Caterham nee Team Lotus I am sure will continue to improve and I will continue to support them. Lotus nee Renault on the other hand I would like to see as part of the car company rather than just sponsored, to do well and continue to innovate (I loved the front exhausts even though a dead end). But I have to say at the moment they seem to be a team falling apart and I fear the future of the Lotus name in F1 might be very short lived.

    1. @JimN given the other constructors were convinced by Group Lotus and Genii, that their bond is strong enough to warrent calling the actual chassis “Lotus” (instead of something like Genii, Gravity or another GenII owned name), might mean that a deal for GenII and GL to agree on participation of the one in the other should be on the tables already.

  16. Still no news on who owns Group Lotus now? Or what has happend to Danny Bahar? None of this could have happened if he was still around.

    1. Yes, I think its likely there will be a few more annoucements to come from them involving a new Manager/director and possibly ownership ties with the Genii/Enstone team in the near future (or whenever its seen fit to announce thes things)

  17. I simply don’t understand any of this… Why is Renault Lotus… and who is Team Lotus or Lotus… and why is this even happening. I have deliberately ignored this weird mess for 12 months hoping it would magically reveal itself in time, but I’m none the wiser.

    I need a damn diagram! Anybody…?

  18. Lotus is now owned by Group Lotus, Renault are the engine supplier.
    The name Team Lotus is also now owned by Lotus.

    Team Lotus have now morphed into Caterham.

    I’m sure someone will correct me if I’m wrong

    1. The Lotus Renault F1 team is owned by Genii. Group Lotus belongs to Proton. It remains to be anounced whether Genii have bought Group Lotus from Proton and sacked Danny Bahar (creator of all this mess).

      Team Lotus is now Caterham. Correct.

  19. When this whole naming nonsense began, I was annoyed that Bahar tried to cash in on what Fernandes was accomplishing. Right around the middle, when both parties were calling each other names, I was more in favor of Lotus Renault, given how Fernandes and Gascoyne were shooting off their mouths. That right there made my view towards Team Lotus less favorable. But, once the case went to court, and there was silence, I was starting to warm back up to Team Lotus. I believed they should have had the rights to use the Lotus name from day one.

    Personally, I’m glad that Team Lotus will be called Caterham. At least they aren’t trying to ride on the coattails of the old Lotus. It feels better to have a brand new team build up their own persona, rather than try to be someone they weren’t from the beginning.

  20. still things are not clear on who will own the spirit of Colin Chapman & his legacy or have they both destroyed that in this dumb battle of egos. Since Catterham was previously owned by Lotus, will that make Tony sleep well at night knowing he still owns some connection to Lotus/ Chapman… and why is that necessary for a 1Malaysian Racing to have a connection, does it give any marketing benefits or any performance benefit?

    1. Caterham was never owned by Lotus.

  21. Why they going to change the name lotus sounds better than Caterham.

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