Team Lotus and Lotus Renault GP are set to be forced to wait for a Formula 1 Commission meeting to find out if their plans to change their names for 2012 will be approved after Ferrari, Sauber and HRT requested the matter be debated formally.
Team Lotus hopes to be renamed as Caterham for next year, with Lotus Renault GP team wanting to take the Lotus moniker as part of an increased involvement in the team from the Malaysian-owned, British-based sports car manufacturer.
For the changes to be approved they need to win support from 18 members of the 26-strong Formula 1 Commission, which is made up of teams, Bernie Ecclestone, FIA president Jean Todt and representatives of race promoters, engine manufacturers and sponsors.
In theory, the approval could have been given swiftly with a fax vote of the F1 Commission – especially with members of the Formula One Teams' Association having indicated recently that they would not block the move. However, sources have revealed that Ferrari, Sauber and HRT have now asked for clarification on the situation and a proper discussion in the F1 Commission about the implications of the name changes.
It is understood there is concern about the consequences of allowing teams to change names easily, because of the damage it could cause to F1's brand image if squads are regularly being called something different. Should the discussion result in the F1 Commission not approving the name changes, then Team Lotus and Renault would have to decide if they stick with their current titles or, if they opt to change names anyway, lose television rights income.
Sauber CEO Monisha Kaltenborn believed that it was only right that the matter be discussed when the F1 Commission next gets together.
"The name change is within the competence of the F1 Commission and I think we will deliberate it there," she said. "We don't want to comment any more on that matter."