Proton cuts ties and withdraws Lotus sponsorship with 1Malaysia Racing Team

The revocation however will only take effect staring next season which means they will still be using Lotus Racing until the end of the season where they will be 4 races left. What is going to happen in 2011 remains to be seen at the moment. According to the press statement, Group Lotus will terminate the license to use the Lotus brand by the 1Malaysia Racing team starting from the 2011 season and for any future Formula 1 seasons because of the ‘flagrant and persistent breaches’ by the team. This, Proton claims is damaging to the brand.

The Lotus Racing team recently announced the name change after Fernandes bought the rights to use the name Team Lotus which belonged from a business which was previously owned by David Hunt called Team Lotus Ventures Limited, which allowed them to have exclusive rights to use the name. Proton has disputed this and claimed that Hunt had in 1994 failed to acquire the ‘Team Lotus’ name which Fernandes knew fair well before hand.

Hence, the 1Malaysia Racing Team or any other company associated with Fernandes would have no authority or rights to use the Lotus brand in any way starting the 2011 season. The companies named here includes Tune Group Sdn Bhd or Team Lotus Ventures Limited. Datuk Sri Nadzmi Mohd Salleh, the chairman of Proton Group, the owner of Group Lotus said that they will be taking ‘all necessary steps’ to protect Lotus from being misused or used by any unauthorized person, be it Fernandes or anyone else when the next season kicks off.

He also said that with Lotus being one of the most valuable brands in Formula 1, they will ensure that no one tries to use the brand without their permission. Proton will be withdrawing their sponsorship for the upcoming season and if that happens, the name of the team and its whole set up will also have to follow suit.