Chapman Family Back Group Lotus in Name Row
The family of the late Lotus founder Colin Chapman have given their support to Group Lotus in the on going legal battle against Tony Fernandes over the use of the historic marque's name in Formula One. Last year Fernandes received the blessing of both Group Lotus and their owners Proton, as well as the Chapman family to run his new F1 team under the Lotus name. However, the sports car company has now decided to revoke its licensing agreement with Fernandes, instead choosing to enter into a long-term partnership with the Renault team, which from 2011 will be renamed Lotus Renault GP. However, Tony Fernandes acquired the rights to the 'Team Lotus' name from the late World Champion, James Hunt's brother, David, who bought them originally when the team folded in 1994, which has triggered several legal actions. Group Lotus are now set to contest Fernandes' right to use the Team Lotus name in court, and the Malaysian entrepreneur is looking for compensation for Group Lotus' decision to end its licensing agreement early. Colin Chapman's son, Clive Chapman who had lent Fernandes the black cap his father used to throw in the air when his team won a race has spoken out in a statement saying his family had supported Lotus Racing only while the team had the support of the car maker. "The Chapman Family was impressed by the achievements of Lotus Racing as a new team, and appreciated its respect for Team Lotus history. However, then its license to use the Lotus name was terminated and things changed," Chapman continued further saying, that Group Lotus' actions were more in the spirit of the original team than Fernandes'. "The association by Group Lotus with Team Lotus history is much appreciated and entirely appropriate, especially as it is in keeping with how things were in Colin Chapman's time." Adding that his family were looking forward to giving continued support to Group Lotus "The Chapman Family is impressed by the exciting developments underway at Group Lotus, and it is very grateful to Proton for the significant investment that is being made, to secure a strong future for the excellent workforce at the Hethel factory," However, he also made it clear that he would rather the 'Team Lotus' name, which his father established in 1958, did not return to Formula One. "During 2010, the Chapman Family, as and when appropriate, made it clear to those involved that it would prefer that the Team Lotus name should not be used in Formula One. Indeed, assurances to this effect were received. The Team Lotus identity represents the motor racing legacy of Colin Chapman, and this was preserved by the Chapman Family and invested within Classic Team Lotus."