Date: 11th April 2012 at 11:41am
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Group Lotus have terminated their title sponsorship of the Lotus Formula One Team.

It’s just the latest twist in the saga that has haunted F1 since the name Lotus returned to the sport.

One of the most boring and confusing episodes of Formula One branding was brought to a close at the end of last year after the conclusion of the legal dispute between Team Lotus [owned by Tony Fernandes] and Group Lotus [owned by Proton].

That was resolved by Team Lotus becoming Caterham and dropping the Team Lotus badge while still racing in the colours of British racing green, while Lotus Renault GP who had continued to race as Renault who had previously owned the team, with black and gold livery made famous by the John Player Special sponsorship of Lotus in the 1980’s became simply known as Lotus for the 2012 Formula One World Championship.

However financial difficulties have seen Sportscar manufacturer Group Lotus and parent company Proton sold to Malaysian automotive conglomerate DRB-Hicom.

The changes have brought to an end the agreement that was in place to see Lotus buy into the Lotus F1 team with Genii Capital, however that agreement and its sponsorship deal have now been ended.

‘The sponsorship agreement and the obligations of Lotus have been terminated. There is no option from Group Lotus to buy into F1 now – that option was taken over by us. There was one, but we have taken it over now.’ Genii owner Gerard Lopez told Autosport Magazine.

But despite the news, Lopez is currently determined to keep the Lotus name in Formula One, while also using the opportunity to maximise sponsorship opportunities for the team.

‘We are happy to carry the Lotus name as we believe it is a good name for F1, When we changed the name from Lotus Renault to Lotus, it opened up the door for a title sponsor. So if you take into account the fact we signed Unilever, probably the biggest sponsorship agreement this year in F1, and we signed Microsoft, which is huge news as it is a brand that has never been in F1 before, we have a wide space for sponsorship.

‘If we sign a title sponsor now, we will end up with a better cash flow situation than this team ever had before.’

 

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