Renault F1 chairman Gerard Lopez believes neither his team's association with Group Lotus nor rivals Team Lotus' purchase of the famous name gives either squad the right to lay claim to the heritage of Colin Chapman's legendary effort.
With the battle over the Lotus name set to drag on for months following Group Lotus' decision to go its own way and become title sponsor and shareholder of the Renault team, Lopez reckons that neither of the two Lotus efforts should be linked with Chapman's previous success. He says his own team is quite simply a partnership with a car maker to help it sell cars.
"We have a very pragmatic approach to this," he said in an interview with Britain's BBC on Tuesday. "We have been discussing with Proton and Lotus a number of projects that are outside of F1, and we have been doing so for a year and a half. [Talk about] F1 came with them no longer having a contract with 1Malaysia Racing, and they proposed for us to work together.
"For Group Lotus and Proton, it made a lot of sense. The result of that as far as we are concerned [is that] I don't think we can lay claim, and Group Lotus cannot lay claim, to the kind of extension and continuity of Mr. Chapman's racing team.
"I think the claim made by Group Lotus is quite a simple one, which is, this is a Lotus-branded racing team that is attached to Group Lotus who manufacture road cars. And that is it.
"There is no claim that this has anything to do with the Lotus racing team of old, which is not the case for 1Malaysia Racing. And that is where the confusion arises – neither group, neither we nor them, can really lay claim to that."
Lopez said that his business-like view on the use of the Lotus association gives him no concern about the fight over the name in the future. His team is already sticking with Renault chassis, and Lotus is merely a title sponsor rather than taking over the full name of the team. Renault is, however, running in black-and-gold colors that were made famous by the old Lotus team.
When asked if the battle with Team Lotus worries him, Lopez said: "No, it doesn't – for the very simple reason that we are sure to be called what we are going to be called and I am not certain they will be called that. So it is pure speculation that there might be four cars using the same name."
Lopez added that the target for his team in 2011 was to battle for wins.
"If we don't have race wins next year, I would be disappointed, or at least if we don't fight for them," he said. "Who knows where we will be in the championship, but the objective is to win races."