• Lotus naming rights

Fernandes rejects $10m offer to settle naming dispute

ESPNF1 Staff
February 13, 2011 « Schumacher concerned about Mercedes' development | »
Tony Fernandes: 'The proposal by Proton would have bankrupted the company' © Sutton Images

Tony Fernandes has rejected a $10 million offer to settle the ongoing naming dispute over who has the right to use the Lotus name.

"It was £6 million for an out of court settlement," he told AFP. "Of course I would like to end it but the proposal by Proton would have bankrupted the company. We could not accept it."

Fernandes said that 250 jobs along with substantial investments by shareholders were at risk. "We never created the situation. We had a five-year agreement. Proton thought they can bully us out. We honestly worked hard to revive the Lotus name in F1."

The court hearing to decide the outcome is scheduled for March 21, but Fernandes said he was open to sensible offers and while it dragged on, potential investors were being put off. "I hope it will end soon," he said. "The legal row does not help. That's for sure."