• Lotus naming rights

Lotus lose support in name battle

ESPNF1 Staff
March 21, 2011 « Hamilton won't accept mediocrity | »
The full hearing for the Lotus name battle begins at London's High Court today. © Sutton Images

The dispute over the Lotus name in Formula One has taken another turn as Team Lotus has lost the support of the name's previous owner David Hunt.

Hunt sold the 'Team Lotus' name to Tony Fernandes but The Telegraph reports that he is now preparing to sue the Malaysian, alleging that Fernandes has yet to pay for the name. With the court battle with Group Lotus having resumed on Monday, the report says that Hunt is "refusing to assist Team Lotus in court", and sees "potentially some serious holes" in Fernandes' case.

"He's apparently changed his mind at the eleventh hour," Hunt said. "He's trying to renegotiate by offering new terms which are, frankly, ludicrous."

Lotus denied the claims, however, instead alleging that it was actually Hunt who was backtracking over the previous deal.

"Team Lotus has an agreement with David Hunt which was signed by both parties," a team spokesperson is quoted in The Telegraph. "David Hunt has tried to renegotiate that agreement, which Team Lotus is not prepared to do."

Fernandes had bought the name to Team Lotus when relations with Proton deteriorated, having previously had the backing of Group Lotus. When Proton bought in to the Renault team, however, it wanted the name back in order to call it Lotus-Renault GP.

An initial hearing took place towards the end of January, but both sides are back in court today to attempt to settle all claims. The complexities of the case mean a final decision could take some time to reach, with any grounds for appeal ensuring it will still take some time to resolve.