• Lotus naming rights

Hunt gives Lotus support for Melbourne

ESPNF1 Staff
March 27, 2011 « HRT denied race entry due to 107% rule | »
Tony Fernandes' team are racing under the Team Lotus name for the first time this weekend © Sutton Images

David Hunt has leant his support to Team Lotus, less than a week after it was reported he would sue team principal Tony Fernandes.

A Telegraph report said that Hunt - the previous owner of the Team Lotus name - would not support Fernandes in court. However it now appears that Hunt has had a change of heart, giving the team his blessing ahead of today's season-opening Australian Grand Prix.

"This is an emotional weekend for me," Hunt said in a statement. "The journey has been long and hard and, as many know, it's not yet quite over, which is why I've been unable to travel to Melbourne to witness the event to which I've been dedicated since 1995 when I promised the loyal Team Lotus staff and fans that we would bring it back to Formula 1. I therefore wish to thank the many Team Lotus fans around the world who have kept faith and encouraged me over the years, and to wish the new Team Lotus staff both in Melbourne and back in the UK, who are now charged with creating a new chapter of success in the marque's history, the very best of success for this weekend."

As the legal battle over the Lotus name in Formula One began at London's High Court on Monday, Hunt has admitted the legacy of Colin Chapman's team needed protecting.

"Sitting in a London courtroom all week listening to unpleasant legal wranglings has, however, reminded all present of the towering impact on both the racing and road car industries made by Colin Chapman. His presence dominates the room. Whatever the legal issues over his legacy 30 years after his death, racing was his love, Team Lotus the 'jewel in the crown' of his business empire, and Formula 1 the arena in which all of his extraordinary qualities and talents were most passionately unleashed and expressed.

Living up to 'Chunky's' unique legacy is a big task, but I know the boys and girls of this new Team Lotus relish the challenge and I wish them well in keeping the Chapman racing spirit alive and adding to the marque's glittering history."