The dispute over the Lotus name in Formula 1 will go to trial much earlier than originally expected, after a British High Court judge today pushed for a swift resolution to the matter.
Although Justice Peter Smith rejected a bid by Group Lotus for a summary judgment on one of the naming matters at a hearing on Monday, he told legal representatives that the situation needs to be settled as quickly as possible. The judge penciled in March 21 as the date for the trial to begin – which means it will commence the week before the second race of the season in Australia.
With an intention to have the trial wrapped up in 10 days, the Lotus name dispute should be settled in the early stages of the 2011 campaign. It had originally been likely the situation would drag on beyond the end of the season. It is understood that the March 21 trial will hear all the legal matters relating to the dispute between Team Lotus, which is run by Tony Fernandes, and the road car company Group Lotus.
The dispute revolves around what Team Lotus claims was an early termination of the five-year licensing deal it originally had with Group Lotus to run a Lotus team, plus issues relating to its right to use the Team Lotus moniker in F1. Earlier today, Fernandes posted via his Twitter feed that he did not expect the larger issues to be addressed in court until November. (Click here