PETALING JAYA: A court battle is looming over the ‘Team Lotus’ name which is linked to the country’s first locally-backed Formula One team.

On Tuesday, Lotus Racing chief executive officer Riad Asmat denied Proton Holdings Bhd’s contention that Lotus Racing had no right to use the ‘Team Lotus’ name and said they intended to clear the issue.

“We have, therefore, today issued proceedings in the English High Court for a declaration that Team Lotus Ventures has the rights to use the Team Lotus name and everything associated with that brand in relation to Formula One™,” he said in a statement on Tuesday.

“As Tune Group has now bought Team Lotus Ventures, it means we can now use the Team Lotus name for 2011 and beyond. We are all delighted we can go into 2011 with total confidence in what we own, and what we can take to the track.

“However, given that this is contested by Group Lotus we think now is the time to clear this matter up so there can be no further arguments,” he said.

Riad explained that while the team raced as Lotus Racing in its maiden Formula One season this year as a licensee of Group Lotus, it had no bearings for the next season as the license expires end of this year.

He saId they were excited to use the name Team Lotus from next year which had been their dream all-along.
“The license debate is a non-issue. It is a simple license attached to a one-year sponsorship deal with Proton for 2010... Unfortunately, we never reached the point where we discussed extending that one-year deal.

“Racing under the Team Lotus name from 2011 means our licence with Group Lotus has now come to an end. In reality, this has nothing to do with how we will go racing in 2011, as the ownership of Team Lotus has been clearly defined for many years,” he said.

It was reported that the team had acquired the ‘Team Lotus’ brand from owner David Hunt, a former British racing driver who owned Team Lotus Ventures Ltd.
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