Battle for Lotus is bad for everyone says voice of Formula One
Martin Brundle believes only one team should compete in Formula One under the Lotus marque next season.
King's Lynn's new lead commentator for BBC's F1 coverage, at Snetterton yesterday to take in the �3.5m redevelopment of the circuit, gave his verdict on the sport's most bitter close-season battle.
Tony Fernandes' Hingham-based constructor has been rebranded as Team Lotus from the coming season, while Hethel car manufacturer Group Lotus has bought a title sponsorship of the Renault F1 team, which has been renamed Lotus Renault GP. And with both sides set for a legal battle over who can command sole ownership of the Norfolk marque, fans face a whole load of confusion which, according to Brundle, will be good for nobody.
'It's a bit messy and I'd like them to sort it out, for the sake of Lotus and for the sake of the fans, before they get to the first race,' said Brundle. Meaning just one Lotus team in 2011? 'Yes,' he added. 'It's not good, is it? I'm a car dealer basically, that's what I grew up doing, and the golden rule is never confuse your customer – and I think that's what's happening at Lotus at the moment. The situation is difficult to understand and I've learned to just wait a little bit on these things and see how it all washes out – and also to walk down the pit lane on the Thursday of the first grand prix and see who finally turns up, who's on it and who's doing what.
'I thought Lotus Racing did a tremendous job in 2010, I like Tony Fernandes' approach and genuine enthusiasm for the sport; it's nice they're there at Hingham. I'm confused they're promoting the brand of another company. Obviously Group Lotus have come steaming in looking for the high ground. I can see their point of view and it makes more sense to me.
'The Chapman family (of Lotus founder Colin Chapman) has now put their weight behind it, as has Nigel Mansell. You can argue all day who has the rights to the old victories, but it seems to me the car factory are the company that are the genuine Lotus, if you like. Especially as the Chapman family has shown their support for that.'
Lotus Renault unveiled their black and gold livery at the Autosport International Motor Show in Birmingham on Thursday, while Team Lotus are now expected to continue in their green and yellow colours from 2010 – either way, not an ideal situation for any commentator.