LONDON: A title sponsorship agreement between loss-making Malaysian-owned sportscar maker Group Lotus and Lotus F1 has been cancelled but the team will race on as Lotus, owner Gerard Lopez said on Friday.
Lopez, whose Genii Capital runs the former Renault team that has Finland’s Kimi Raikkonen and France’s Romain Grosjean as drivers, told the autosport.com website that “the sponsorship agreement and the obligations of Lotus have been terminated.
“There is no option from Group Lotus to buy into F1 now,” added the entrepreneur.
Group Lotus had agreed their title sponsorship deal with the British-based team in 2010, and it was supposed to last until the end of 2017 with the ultimate aim of becoming co-owners along with Genii.
The car company is owned by Proton, which has been sold by Khazanah to DRB-Hicom.
The sponsorship development is the latest twist in a long-running and convoluted saga involving one of the sport’s most illustrious and successful brand names harking back to the team founded by the late Colin Chapman in the 1950s that chalked up 79 race wins.
Aviation entrepreneur Tan Sri Tony Fernandes entered Formula One in 2010 with Lotus Racing, changing the name to Team Lotus for 2011 after a falling out with Proton and Lotus Group, who had their own plans with Renault. — Reuters