The team principal of 1Malaysia Racing Team, Datuk Seri Tony Fernandes said that the acquisition of Caterham Motors recently will not have any implications whatsoever on the Formula 1 outfit as yet and that they will still be using their Team Lotus brand for racing in the Formula 1 this season. Team Lotus recently bought Caterham Motors which made famous the Seven sports car and many are looking at Team Lotus on what they plan to do next. Many are predicting that this was part of a plan by Team Lotus to change its brand name following the dispute over the ‘Lotus’ word with national carmaker Proton who owns Lotus Cars and is currently racing using the Lotus Renault banner.
Some call it ‘Plan B’ for Fernandes as there is a high possibility that 1MRT could lose the battle with Proton and if that happens, at least they could revert to another name, possibility Team Caterham which is also a big name in the motorsports arena. Fernandes however dismissed the claims saying that they are going ahead with Team Lotus at the moment although Caterham would be one of the sponsors which will be embossed onto the car.
Fernande said that ideally, the best possible situation would be to combine the two brands. He also likened the current situation (of having 2 Lotus names in F1) to that of Manchester United and Manchester City and that both clubs, although sharing the same name would have their own identity and directions so it is not unusual.
He also said that there is no regret that the partnership between Proton and 1MRT did not materialized the way they wanted it to. In fact, it was like a blessing in disguise for 1MRT who at the start had wanted to do ‘many things together’ with Proton and with that out of the way, they have seek alternatives and so far, the results have been more than encouraging. With that, Fernandes said that if he knew that things would be this good, he would not have taken the initial step (to work with Proton). In fact, it is simpler and more profitable in many ways. At the moment, Caterham has yet to make its name into Team Lotus as a title sponsor in F1 but they are looking into trying to join the GP2 if regulations allow it.