The family of Colin Chapman has thrown its support behind Group Lotus's ambitions with the Renault team, after expressing its view that it would prefer the Team Lotus name not to return to Formula 1.
With no end in sight to the naming dispute that will see the Group Lotus-sponsored Renault team going up against Team Lotus in F1 next year, Lotus founder Colin Chapman's son Clive has now made his views clear for the first time. In a statement issued on Thursday on behalf of the Chapman family by Clive, who is managing director of Classic Team Lotus, he says he is fully behind the efforts of Group Lotus CEO Dany Bahar.
Although previously he gave his blessing to the efforts of Lotus Racing when it had a deal in place with Group Lotus to use the name, he claims the situation is different now that the squad's licensing deal with the road car company has ended.
"The Chapman family is impressed by the exciting developments underway at Group Lotus, and it is very grateful to Proton for the significant investment that is being made, to secure a strong future for the excellent workforce at the Hethel factory," stated Chapman. "In 2010 the Chapman family and Classic Team Lotus have been pleased to support Group Lotus in many ways. In consultation with Proton, this included supporting the use of the Lotus name in Formula 1, which was licensed by Group Lotus.
"The Chapman family was impressed by the achievements of Lotus Racing as a new team, and appreciated its respect for Team Lotus history. However, then its license to use the Lotus name was terminated and things changed."
Tony Fernandes' operation is taking Group Lotus to court over the termination of its licensing deal. While that matter is ongoing, the squad purchased the Team Lotus name from its owner David Hunt in a deal agreed in September so it could rebrand the team.
The Team Lotus name is the moniker that Colin Chapman's F1 team originally ran under, and his son says the family would like its name not to be used in F1 again.
"During 2010, the Chapman family, as and when appropriate, made it clear to those involved that it would prefer that the Team Lotus name should not be used in Formula 1. Indeed, assurances to this effect were received," he said. "The Team Lotus identity represents the motor racing legacy of Colin Chapman, and this was preserved by the Chapman family and invested within Classic Team Lotus. The association by Group Lotus with Team Lotus history is much appreciated and entirely appropriate, especially as it is in keeping with how things were in Colin Chapman's time.
"The Chapman family is looking forward to continuing to give its support to Group Lotus, which is the ongoing Lotus entity created by Colin and Hazel Chapman. After all, the Lotus marque is the responsibility of Group Lotus, and Hethel is the home of Lotus."