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Published - Sunday, 12 December 2010

Team Lotus Now To Race In Green & Gold

Sunday December 12th

Team Lotus has decided to revert to green and gold colours in the latest twist in the ongoing dispute between themselves and Group Lotus. This is a variation on the green and yellow colour scheme they used in their debut season in 2010 when they competed as Lotus Racing.

Tony Fernandes announced last month that Team Lotus would race in black and gold next season - a move that was greeted with huge enthusiasm by fans and supporters. The livery echoed the iconic John Player Special colours whioh Team Lotus raced in the 1970's and 1980's with great success.

However, the shock announcement last week that Group Lotus had bought a stake in Renault F1 and that the renamed Lotus Renault GP team would race in black and gold in 2011 has resulted in this turnaround. Renault F1 has said the agreement with Group will run until at least the end of the 2017 season.

Team Lotus boss Tony Fernandes said it made no sense having four cars in the same black and gold livery. 'Whether they copied us or we copied them is beside the point now. The point is what makes sense. Having two Lotus brands on the grid is no issue. Four black cars looking the same is silly and one has to relent.'

His decision comes after his chief technical officer Mike Gascoyne asked the team's fans on the social network site Twitter what colour scheme the team should use in 2011. The vast majority voted for green and yellow - the original Team Lotus colours. Fernandes added that the association with a tobacco brand - the advertising of which is of course banned - had also made him think twice. 'There has been a lot of negativity about being associated with a cigarette brand,' said Fernandes. 'There was a strong lobby building up against us promoting a cigarette brand. So everything happened very quickly.'

Meanwhile the dispute between Team Lotus and Group Lotus over the rights to use the Lotus name in F1 rumbles on. Both sides are suing the other in the High Court and no final verdict is likely to be reached until well into the New Year. Let's hope things are settled before the opening Grand Prix at Bahrain on March 13th.

The chief executive officer of Group Lotus, Dany Bahar, said: '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.'

Team Lotus boss Fernandes responded on his Twitter page: 'Dany Bahar has done us a favour. Never felt better about our future and Team Lotus. Looks like they're trying to hijack our black and gold idea.'

Team Lotus technical officer Mike Gascoyne commented on his Twitter site: 'Lotus, just like buses; you wait for ages and then two come along at once. Rest assured, we are Team Lotus and we are here to stay.'


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