Group Lotus will no longer sponsor the Formula One team that bears its name. But – as F1’s perpetually bizarre ‘Lotus’ saga takes another twist – the Enstone based team, formerly Renault, will continue to be known as Lotus in the coming years.
Last year, and in 2010, ‘Lotus’ was the name of the team that is now called Caterham, but a bitter dispute soured that relationship as the Proton-owned car company Group Lotus ended the naming license and made its own bid to enter F1. Group Lotus’ new foray blossomed in 2012 with Renault’s renaming to Lotus, amid speculation team owner Genii was keen to get more involved with the iconic sports car marque.
When asked recently about his team’s relationship with Lotus, Kimi Raikkonen answered clumsily on the Top Gear motoring programme: “Well it’s, er, it (the car) is not a Renault. Lotus is just a sponsor.”
The Autosport website revealed on Good Friday that the sponsorship deal has been “terminated”.
However, “We are happy to carry the Lotus name as we believe it is a good name for F1,” explained team owner Genii’s Gerard Lopez.
“So Lotus are still Lotus despite no longer being sponsored by Lotus?” the Telegraph’s Tom Cary wittily surmised on Twitter.
And in yet another twist, Lopez refused to rule out a scenario in which Genii actually takes over Group Lotus.
“We don’t know yet, because we really do not know what the new owner wants to do with it,” he said.