Well, its now official. The rumors had been out there for a while, and we even tried to make some sort of sense of them back a few weeks ago on our podcast. Group Lotus has purchased, with the assistance of Genii Capital, a share in the Renault F1 team. During the 2011 season, the team will be known as Lotus Renault GP and will sport the black and gold livery that Mr. Fernandez’s Lotus F1 Racing had previously announced that its team would be using.
The partnership between Lotus and Genii brings the ability to quickly incorporate new technologies from F1™ cars into Lotus road cars including hybrid technology, Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems (KERS), aero advancements and lightweight materials. Genii, an investment holding company with a portfolio of automotive technologies, bring non-F1™ technologies such as lightweight braking systems, variable compression engine technology and on board software systems to the partnership.
Group Lotus CEO Dany Bahar said: “I can think of no better platform for automotive brand communications than motorsport and F1™. We’re well aware that there has been a lot of controversy around the usage of our brand in F1™ and I’m delighted to be able to formally clarify our position: We are Lotus, and we are back.” — excerpt from the Group Lotus plc press release.
Well, it doesn’t get any clearer than that. That last statement is a slap in the face and a challenge to Team Lotus owner Tony Fernandez. Mike Gascoyne would not be cowed, however, and had several retorts on Twitter.
And we at Team Lotus are in F1 to design, build and race F1 cars from our home in Norfolk, and in the future to win as a Team, bring it on — @MikeGascoyne
It does seem that Team Lotus will be relenting on their intent to use the black and gold scheme promised earlier. In a fan poll, the green and yellow won a super majority of the vote, so at least that will help mitigate some of the potential confusion between the new Lotus Renault GP and Team Lotus. Either way, its certain to give us and other commentators PLENTY to talk about during the 2011 Formula 1 season. 🙂 I don’t think this whole mess is over quite yet.