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Team Lotus will return to Formula 1 after a 16 year absence … sort of. While two cars scheduled to run in the 2010 season will proudly wear the Lotus name, the team will actually be owned and operated by Litespeed, a U.K.-based Formula 3 team.

Team Lotus rights holder David Hunt has allowed the company to use its name, in part due to the many ties Litespeed has with Lotus and its past Formula 1 efforts. Litespeed founders Nino Judge and Steve Kenchington are both former Lotus engineers.

Additionally, former Team Lotus driver Johnny Herbert will be involved in the project as an ambassador for the team and a manager for the drivers.

The new Team Lotus has also announced that vehicle design is being overseen by MGI and its owner Mike Gascoyne, a native of the Lotus stomping grounds in Norfolk.

"Team Lotus is synonymous with great British engineering and F1 innovation … both of which easily demonstrate why ex-Lotus personnel would want to bring this championship-winning name back to the formula," said Judge in an interview with AutoSport. "Litespeed was born from a similar British background."

"David Hunt has been the custodian of the name for so many years and we thank him for entrusting us not just with its safeguard but, more importantly, its development in the racing world of tomorrow."

Team Lotus started in Formula 1 in 1958 after great success in the F2 series. Over the years some of the greatest drivers in motorsports raced for the team including Stirling Moss, Emerson Fittipaldi, Mario Andretti, Nigel Mansel, Nelson Piquet, Mika Häkkinen and of course Ayrton Senna. The team won seven World Championships with its last race win coming from Senna in 1987. It continued on into the 1990s but struggled financially and on the track before it pulled from F1 at the end of the 1994 season.

More: Lotus Returns to Formula 1 … in Name Only on AutoGuide.com
 

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...i thought this was only in-application at this point, with no FIA decision to be made until friday?..
 

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Woo Hoo! I hope they are allowed in. I remember the old days of F1 with Lotus involved. Exciting considering what Brawn GP has done this season.

Nadeem
 

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I got a big problem with this. In the other thread, Spacepig said it better than me, so I'll quote here:

Spacepig said:
When did anyone tell Brawn the same thing? Ross Brawn had the class and the self-conviction to put his own name on the car, and now he's building one hell of a legacy based on that name. Maybe in 20 years or whatever Brawn GP will be as storied and famous as Williams or Mclaren. The point is, he will have earned it. He didn't go out and buy the rights to Vanwall or Cooper and slap someone else's name on the car to try to create some fake heritage and history.

I've got no problem with Litespeed, but they should have some integrity and self-respect and call themselves Litespeed. Or if they have suddenly realized how stupid and banal that name is, they can come up with a new one of their own choosing. Whatever. But it's embarrassing that they can buy the name Lotus from some scavenger who bought it out of bankruptcy, and now they get to claim Chapman's legacy as their own. It's not theirs, and it's not David Hunt's to sell either.

If they get in, the official record books will show that these guys are the fourth winningest team in F1 history! You think that's right? Well I don't. I think it's fakery. They have nothing to do with Team Lotus, Colin Chapman, Lotus Cars Ltd, Classic Team Lotus, Lotus Cars USA, the Chapman family, or anyone else remotely connected to that heritage.

Hopefully the FOTA teams stay in. Because if they do, Litespeed most likely won't get one of the three remaining spots, and they can leave Team Lotus in the history books where it belongs.
 

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First thing that hit me was that Jim Clark wasn't mentioned as one of the greatest racing drivers associated with team Lotus.
 

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First thing that hit me was that Jim Clark wasn't mentioned as one of the greatest racing drivers associated with team Lotus.
And Stirling Moss never drove for Team Lotus, either. He drove for Rob Walker as a independent.
 

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It does state that the individuals have a background working for Lotus as engineers and more. Maybe they played a part of the past team or design, etc. From that standpoint maybe in their minds they never left Lotus and are proud to put it back in the spotlight of F1 which can help the Company from a marketing point....unless they suck.

Its hard to shake the association with Lotus once you have been bitten with the bug.
 

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let see,

a new team, based in norfolk from a company founded by ex lotus engineers, that will be managed by a former team lotus driver.

why not.


im sure, especially if it starts to go well, that lotus will want to be involved at some level- however small. i suspect they already are.


its not as if there arent plenty of other teams at different levels baring mnf names but independant.

i for one, no matter how remote the lineage was, would rather see the lotus name once again on a f1 car tearing around a track, than left to the dusty history books that nobody even reads now.


i think this could be a good thing for lotus.
 

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My main concern is what if the Evora/Esprit does incredibly well and in 3 or 4 years time Lotus has the money to look into fielding their own actual team, what name do they use???
 

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Looks like the folks at Group Lotus are none too happy about this:

Group Lotus press release said:
10th June 2009

Team Lotus and 2010 Formula 1

Group Lotus plc and its subsidiary Lotus Cars Limited, the manufacturer of the iconic Lotus Elise and global high technology engineering consultancy, are not connected or affiliated to, nor in any other way associated with the newly announced "Team Lotus" that has submitted an entry for the 2010 Formula 1 championship. Group Lotus plc will take all necessary steps to protect its name, reputation and brand image.

Lotus will continue to focus on the tremendous worldwide opportunities that exist for its core businesses. Lotus Cars has recently launched the stunning new Evora 2+2 global sportscar to great acclaim and deliveries to the first customers are imminent. The company is pulling all stops to ensure production meets demand. Lotus Engineering, one of the market leaders in automotive green transport solutions, is currently working with many of the world's vehicle manufacturers on state of the art projects with plans of growth in its international targeted markets such as Malaysia, China, USA and India.

ENDS

About Lotus
The main operating subsidiary of Group Lotus plc is Lotus Cars Ltd, which has two operating divisions - Lotus Engineering and Lotus Cars. Lotus Engineering is an internationally recognised automotive engineering consultancy based in Norfolk, UK. Global facilities include those in Michigan (USA), Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), China and offices in Germany and Japan, with rapid expansion in new territories such as South East Asia.

Lotus Engineering provides comprehensive and versatile consultancy services to many of the world's OEMs and Tier 1 suppliers, offering a full engineering service from initial concept and project design through development and integration of the complete vehicle to meet all worldwide markets and customers to full production. This includes third party 'niche vehicle' engineering and manufacture worldwide.

Lotus Cars builds world class, prestige, high performance sports cars for sale in 37 countries. These include the iconic Lotus Elise, and the Exige and Europa. Lotus’ latest model, the Lotus Evora, goes on sale from Spring 2009. Lotus is a global high-tech company, expanding rapidly and committed to driving forward technology for both Lotus Cars and its Engineering clients, spearheading research into such areas as hybrids, electric vehicles and renewable fuels.

For more information about Lotus please contact:
PR Department; Group Lotus plc,
Potash Lane, Hethel, Norfolk, UK, NR14 8EZ
Tel: +44(0)1953 608264;
Email: [email protected]
 

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Looks like the folks at Group Lotus are none too happy about this:
...that's not my take on it at all - it reads more like a direct legal disclaimer posted to protect their trademark, nothing more...

Group Lotus plc and its subsidiary Lotus Cars Limited, the manufacturer of the iconic Lotus Elise and global high technology engineering consultancy, are not connected or affiliated to, nor in any other way associated with the newly announced "Team Lotus" that has submitted an entry for the 2010 Formula 1 championship. Group Lotus plc will take all necessary steps to protect its name, reputation and brand image.
...this is probably an essential statement since both group lotus and team lotus operate within the motorcar industry...
 

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...that's not my take on it at all - it reads more like a direct legal disclaimer posted to protect their trademark, nothing more...



...this is probably an essential statement since both group lotus and team lotus operate within the motorcar industry...
I see where you're coming from. It certainly doesn't sound welcoming to me anyway.
 

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...that's not my take on it at all - it reads more like a direct legal disclaimer posted to protect their trademark, nothing more...



...this is probably an essential statement since both group lotus and team lotus operate within the motorcar industry...
Actually, Autosport reads it the same way I read it...

autosport.com - F1 News: Lotus company not behind 'Team Lotus'

Lotus company not behind 'Team Lotus'

By Mark Glendenning Wednesday, June 10th 2009, 19:49 GMT

Group Lotus plc and its subsidiary Lotus Cars Limited have moved to distance themselves from the recently-announced "Team Lotus" that has submitted an entry for the 2010 Formula 1 world championship, and signaled that they are prepared to take action to protect the Lotus brand name.

British Formula 3 squad Litespeed, which was founded by former Lotus employees Nino Judge and Steve Kenchington, announced last week that it wished to enter F1 next year under the Lotus banner.

Permission to use the Lotus name had apparently been granted by rights-holder David Hunt, however the Lotus company challenged that in a statement released today.

"Group Lotus plc and its subsidiary Lotus Cars Limited, the manufacturer of the legendary Lotus Elise and global high technology engineering consultancy, are not connected or affiliated to, nor in any other way associated with the newly-announced 'Team Lotus' that has submitted an entry 2010 Formula 1 championship," the statement said.

"Group Lotus plc will take all necessary steps to protect its name, reputation and brand image."

The news follows a similar statement issued by the Brabham family last week indicating that it intended to challenge Formtech's plans to enter F1 using its name.
 
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