Group Lotus says it is confident that it will prevent Tony Fernandes from using the Lotus name in Formula 1 when their dispute hits the courts in March.
Britain's High Court on Monday demanded that the dispute over the use of the Lotus name in F1 should go to trial as soon as possible, with a March 21 court date having now been laid down. Although Fernandes' Team Lotus group viewed the judge's decision as a triumph, because he failed to give Group Lotus the summary judgment it sought, the car company says it is equally positive about the development.
In a statement issued on Tuesday, Lotus said: "Group Lotus and Proton are delighted with the outcome of yesterday's hearing in which the judge ordered a full trial of this matter to be heard as soon as possible given the proximity of the start of the new 2011 Formula 1 season in a few weeks. The trial has been fixed at the English High Court for March 21, 2011.
"Group Lotus and Proton have been made aware of the press release issued by 1Malaysia Racing Team (1MRT). It is completely incorrect and a misrepresentation of the judge's decision suggesting that Group Lotus' application was "thrown out."
"No decision was made on Group Lotus' application. The judge proposed that the better procedural route was to order a speedy trial of all the issues in dispute in the case. 1MRT initially resisted the Judge's approach to resolve all matters quickly and before the start of the 2011 Formula 1 season but the order was subsequently made and the first available date was March 21."
Group Lotus also remained positive that it would ultimately win the case.
"Group Lotus and Proton have always held the view that this matter should be resolved as soon as possible in the interests of Formula 1 and the fans," added the statement. "We therefore welcome this decision and look forward to the full trial.
"We are confident that at the trial Group Lotus will succeed in preventing 1MRT, Mr. Fernandes and his companies, from using the Lotus name in Formula 1 once and for all."