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Group Lotus becomes title sponsor of RenaultF1

ESPNF1 Staff
December 8, 2010 « Stuck praises 'heroic' Webber | »

Genii Capital Chairman and RenaultF1 majority shareholder Gerard Lopez has revealed that Group Lotus will be the title sponsor and a major shareholder in the rebranded Lotus Renault GP Team in 2011.

ESPNF1 revealed last month in an exclusive interview with Lopez that Renault had been ongoing discussions with Group Lotus concerning title sponsorship and he confirmed the new partnership today. It means the team's colours next year will be in the iconic black and gold that Ayrton Senna raced in for Lotus.

"We are delighted that we can now go public with the news that we will be racing as Lotus Renault GP in 2011," Lopez said. "It is extremely exciting to begin a new era for the team in partnership with Group Lotus, and we will continue to enjoy a strong relationship with Renault over the coming seasons. It is a tribute to the excellent work this year by the team in Enstone that we have been able to attract both major sponsorship and new investment for a very bright future."

Group Lotus CEO Dany Bahar in turn expressed his delight at the deal, which again partners the famous Lotus brand with Renault engines. "I can think of no better platform for automotive brand communications than motorsport and F1 is the very pinnacle of open-wheel racing. We're well aware that there has been a lot of controversy around the usage of our brand in F1 and I'm delighted to be able to formally clarify our position once and for all: we are Lotus and we are back."

The team is still set to reveal the identity of its second driver to partner Robert Kubica in 2011 but Lopez told ESPNF1 that the announcement would probably be made in the first two weeks of December.

The announcement also throws into question what Tony Fernandes' team will be called next year, with the outfit insisting it has the rights 'under licence' to use the Lotus name. Despite the license having been revoked, a naming dispute has erupted and with Fernandes' team also using Renault engines, sources say it too intends to be called 'Lotus-Renault' next season.

"Dany Bahar [Group Lotus CEO] has done us a favour," team boss Fernandes wrote on Twitter. "Never felt better about our future and Team Lotus. Looks like they [are] trying to hijack our black and gold idea. Funny, first meeting I had was in the Lotus room. Wonder if Dany is going to try and sponsor that."