F1 panel approves name changes, 2012 calendar

The F1 Commission on Thursday approved name changes for three Formula One teams ahead of the 2012 season.

Next year, Team Lotus will become Caterham, Renault will be called Lotus, and Virgin will adopt the name of its Russian supercar partner Marussia.

Brazilian Livio Oricchio wrote in his O Estado de S.Paulo column that the Renault team no longer has “anything to do with the French carmaker” and in fact owes money to the Boulogne-Billancourt marque.

And the Telegraph reports that although Virgin will now be known as Marussia, Sir Richard Branson’s brand “will continue to pay money” to the team.

“As part of the new deal, believed to be for four years, Virgin will not have any equity but will continue to pay sponsorship”, the report added.

The changes – voted on by the 26 members including Bernie Ecclestone, Jean Todt, race promoters, teams, manufacturers and sponsors – are pending the approval of the FIA’s World Motor Sport Council meeting in December.

Also discussed in Geneva was the 2012 calendar, with events in Austin, Korea and Bahrain reportedly in doubt and Turkey apparently hoping to slot back in with a reduced sanctioning fee.

But a source close to Texas’ scheduled 2012 US grand prix reports that the F1 Commission confirmed next year’s calendar as originally published by the FIA.


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