Lotus, the manufacturer, is back
Norfolk-based Group Lotus plc and Genii Capital have forged a partnership that 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 F1 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."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.• PHOTOGRAPH SHOWS: The new Lotus Renault GP car