Lotus Returns to Formula 1
Group Lotus, Renault and Genii unite to create new F1 team
By: Carl Malek
Group Lotus and Genii Capital rocked the Formula 1 world today by announcing that they have agreed to a new partnership, which will mark the return of Lotus to Formula 1 racing. Forming as a result of Renault selling their stake in their F1 team to Genii which in turn gave a majority stake to Group Lotus, the new team now known as Lotus Renault GP will retain the use of Renault racing engines but will sport brand new livery sporting the trademark black and gold of past Lotus racers. The team has released a image of what the car could look like with the new livery in place when the team begins operations next season. The final driving lineup for the new team has not been finalized as of yet, but Polish racer Robert Kubica has been confirmed as one of the drivers the team will use. Kubica had a very productive 2010 season while at Renault F1 earning a second place spot in Australia and a pair of third place spots in Monaco. Kubica also finished above 7 time world champion Michael Schumacher in the points race besting the legend by a staggering 64 points. With the new season kicking off in Bahrain on March 13th, will this new partnership rekindle the spirit of Lotus's past racing successes? or will it be all for nothing? Only time will tell especially in Formula 1
Full Press Release Here
Group Lotus plc and Genii Capital are pleased to announce a partnership which will see the Renault F1 Team renamed as ‘Lotus Renault GP’ from the start of the 2011 racing season onwards. The association heralds the return of a highly successful Formula 1™ association between Lotus and Renault from the 1980s. Lotus’ racing pedigree and heritage coupled with Renault’s technology in Formula 1™ will set the united team on a path to future success.
Group Lotus plc will acquire a major equity stake in the team from Genii Capital. The transaction represents a partnership between Group Lotus and Genii Capital and signifies the beginning of a more comprehensive strategic alliance between the two organisations.
The partnership between Lotus and Genii brings the ability to quickly incorporate new technologies from F1™ cars into Lotus road cars including hybrid technology, Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems (KERS), aero advancements and lightweight materials. Genii, an investment holding company with a portfolio of automotive technologies, bring non-F1™ technologies such as lightweight braking systems, variable compression engine technology and on board software systems to the partnership.
Group Lotus CEO Dany Bahar said: “I can think of no better platform for automotive brand communications than motorsport and F1™. 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: We are Lotus, and we are back.”
Dato' Sri Mohd Nadzmi Mohd Salleh, Chairman of Proton, Lotus majority shareholder, said: "We know that Group Lotus has much to offer Formula 1™ and vice versa. After careful consideration, we believe this arrangement will be fruitful, both from a commercial and marketing point of view."
Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Proton advisor and former Prime Minister of Malaysia, said: "This is an exciting development which delivers strategic benefits to both Group Lotus and Proton. I fully support the partnership."
Carlos Ghosn, Chairman and CEO of Renault, commented: “This multi-partner alliance will bring a new dynamic to the team and enable it to compete with the sport’s best from next season.”
In addition to this, Genii is also offering Proton the ability to leverage on its existing business relationships in Russia and other parts of the world, as a means to expand Proton's global reach. Through Genii, Proton can also potentially access advanced automotive technologies by virtue of Genii’s association with Mangrove, a venture capital group.
Gerard Lopez, founding partner of Genii Capital, said: “For Group Lotus, access to Formula 1™ opens up new marketing opportunities and a major platform for business exchanges and development. In this regard, Genii Capital possesses shareholdings in, and direct access to, cutting edge companies in the automotive industry. Our tie-up with Group Lotus and Proton, which will enable its future road car ranges to take advantage of significant new technologies, is a natural step.”