Lotus made a less than successful return to F1 in 2010, after being out of the sport since 1994. However, it seems there will be lots of Lotus F1 cars on the grid for the 2011 season.
So apart from Team Lotus (formerly known as Lotus F1) which is a privately owned team, Group Lotus has bought a stake into the Renault F1 team to create Lotus Renault GP. So while there will be two Lotus F1 teams on the grid, only one will get factory support.
Works team chairman Gerard Lopez said, “We are delighted that we can now go public with the news that we will be racing as Lotus Renault GP in 2011.”
For fans it will be hard to spot which is which, because both teams will be using livery inspired by the JPS sponsored racing cars from the 1970′s, and since both teams are also using Renault engines, their performance should be about the same also. So expect an inner battle between the two Lotus F1 teams.
But there will also be a battle outside of the track. Group Lotus wants to pull the Lotus out of Team Lotus, as it wants to be the only team with this name. Tony Fernandes, owner of Team Lotus, says he will be fighting to keep the name, pointing out that Lotus’ F1 operations have historically always been separate from their road car business.
This matter will be dealt in court next year. Until then, expect a battle of the back markers between these two similar looking and similar sounding teams.