Renault: Lotus tie-up stronger than ever
Renault says its partnership with Group Lotus, which includes title sponsorship, is more solid then ever – despite rival Team Lotus being allowed to keep its name.
Group Lotus had tried to stop Team Lotus from using the ‘Lotus’ name in F1, but the High Court did not accept its claims. The matter is now likely to go to appeal.
Even though that means there are two ‘Lotus’ teams in F1, Renault team principal Eric Boullier believes that the legal issues have only served to strengthen his sponsors’ commitments to the future.
“There is no change for us, which is very good,” Boullier told AUTOSPORT about the implications of the Lotus court case on Renault. “It has actually reinforced our partnership very well.
“The matter is more or less an issue between Team Lotus and Lotus, even if there is talk about it going further and going legal. I don’t want to get involved with it because that is not my part.”
He added: “Regarding my part, what is clear is that some part of the misunderstanding and confusion has been cleared.
“Thanks to this, it has clearly reinforced the involvement of Lotus Cars and Proton in our company. We have a seven year sponsorship agreement with a title sponsorship level, which is a lot of money, and that is the best that we can dream to have.”
Boullier also hit back at rumours over the Monaco weekend that Renault was in financial trouble, with a report suggesting it owed money to its parent company Renault.
“It is very funny how stories can blow up like this and constantly come back,” said Boullier. “It is maybe not a coincidence, but there is some old guard from Renault here [in Monaco] so maybe they keep spreading rumours on their own.
“This journalist [who wrote the story] did not come and see me to ask if it was true or not, and I am ready to do it whenever he wants – to open my books for him.
“Like any business, we have some loans for our own business and our own investment, but we don’t have any debt now to Renault in 2011.
“We have a multi-year contract and a special agreement between us and Renault, like when you pay your mortgage back. We have some pending loan payments for the future, but that is for the future – it is not for this year. We have absolutely no issue at all. Everything is fine, perfectly fine.”
AUTOSPORT understands that Renault owners Genii Capital secured the purchase of the final 25% in Renault with a multi-year loan from the French car company – which requires payment of 5 million Euros this year, 6 million Euros in 2012 and 7 million Euros in 2013.
Fernandes defiant over use of Lotus name
Tony Fernandes has denied he will have to change the name of his Formula 1 team or the chassis for his cars.
Despite the Malaysian millionaire Fernandes retaining the rights to the Team Lotus name after a court battle with Group Lotus, Formula 1 chief Bernie Ecclestone has suggested the actual chassis might need to be called something else – perhaps Caterham – in 2012.
Fernandes, however, denies this to autohebdo.fr: “We have the spirit of Team Lotus and the team has always raced with the Lotus chassis name. We are not changing.”
Jarno Trulli of Italy and Team Lotus drives during the Monaco Formula One Grand Prix at the Monte Carlo Circuit on May 29, 2011 in Monte Carlo, Monaco.
F1 : Malaysian Formula 1 team boss aims to keep using Lotus name on chassis
Tony Fernandes has denied he will have to change the name of his Formula One team.
Despite the Malaysian millionaire Fernandes retaining the rights to the Team Lotus name after a court battle with Group Lotus, Formula 1 chief Bernie Ecclestone suggested the actual chassis might need to be called something else, perhaps Caterham, in 2012.
Fernandes, however, denies this.
"We have the spirit of Team Lotus and the team has always raced with the Lotus chassis name. We are not changing," he is quoted in French by autohebdo.fr.