Monza, Italy, Sept 12, 2011 (AFP) - The Lotus team is set to give up its name and allow Renault to be-renamed using the Team Lotus title next year after Lotus owner and team chief Tony Fernandes told reporters on Monday that a deal was likely.
In an interview with Autosport he said: "I always had a problem with 'am I really Team Lotus?' "I always said that era was theirs. We're just bringing it back under new ownership. It was up to the fans whether they liked us or not," said Fernandes, who also owns English premier league club Queens Park Rangers.
He added that he believed the lengthy legal dispute over the use of the Lotus name in Formula One was likely soon to be resolved and said he was keen to move his team - probably re-branded to include the Caterham car firm, which he owns, in its name - out of Norfolk, the original and traditional home of Lotus. "I think the best scenario is that the cars leave for Australia next year and come back to a new home," he said.
"There's no two ways about it." But Hingham (in Norfolk) will always be there, because we've got composites and we're developing a technology and engineering division."
It is believed that the name of the 'new' team will be Caterham Team AirAsia, as used by Fernandes' GP2 team. According to paddock sources, Fernandes is considering moving his team to either Silverstone or Leafield, once the base for the Arrows team. Renault, sponsored by Group Lotus, could become the only team with Lotus included in their name.
Fernandes added: "I've always said that protecting the brand is paramount and it's not me that started all this. "I didn't have a claim, they (Group Lotus) had a claim. And they lost that case. But I've always had the door open -- and it may be a win-win for everybody and we walk away.
"I also always said we wanted to be in the car business and I never hid that fact. And now we have Caterham."