If you’re perplexed by the intricacies of Group Lotus’ legal battle against Team Lotus, you won’t like resolution. After two months in court, a judge has issued a verdict that may well be just as confusing as the entire quagmire itself.
As the result of a court ruling, Team Lotus — owned by 1Malaysia Racing Team and not related to Group Lotus — must pay damages to Group Lotus for using the Lotus Racing name in F1 motorsport. According to the verdict, only Group Lotus’ F1 team — currently known as Lotus Renault GP — has that right, along with the right to use the famed black-and-gold John Player Special paint scheme on its race cars.
But here’s the interesting twist: although Team Lotus was found in the wrong and owes some money to Group Lotus, the team can continue to compete in F1 as Team Lotus. Although it no longer can use the black-and-gold paint scheme once planned for the 2011 season, the organization can still race — and like its Group Lotus rival, will use Renault-sourced engines next year.
Confused yet? The ruling also notes that Group Lotus — which owns Lotus Cars and is subsequently owned by Malaysian automaker Proton — has the full ownership of the Lotus name, and continue to use it in both F1 and on road cars. That may prove touchy for the Team Lotus group, seeing as it recently purchased Caterham Cars — which continues to build vehicles evolved from the Lotus Seven — and hinted the tie-up could yield new special-edition models or new vehicles.