Battle goes on for rights to use of Lotus name

Mike Gascoyne believes it would be far from the end of the road if his Hingham-based Formula One team could not use the Lotus moniker from next season.

Gascoyne and Malayasian businessman Tony Fernandes set up their F1 project almost 18 months ago with the sole aim of bringing back Lotus to motorsport's marquee series.

But a fall-out with Hethel car manufacturer Group Lotus and an ongoing court case over the rights to the Team Lotus name and image means Hingham-based Lotus Racing may have to drop the Norfolk marque next season.

The battle over use of the Team Lotus name is complicated and may yet come down to a game of Malaysian politics rather than British law – with Group Lotus owners Proton and Fernandes' team both heavily backed by the country's government.

But despite purring at the original project to bring back Lotus, Gascoyne admitted building a professional team from scratch would be enough to provide a bright future for the team, be it Lotus or not.

'There have been discussions in Malaysia,' Gascoyne told 'They're confidential as far as we understand from our side, although there seem to be a lot of stories doing the rounds.

'All I can really say is that looking at the future of the team, we have a fantastic future. We've built a great team. I think with Tony (Fernandes), Nasa and Din, we have three fantastically committed shareholders that I am very proud to work for.

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'They are absolutely determined to be in F1 for the future. They're fully committed. The team is fully behind them as well and I think the announcement that we've made – in terms of engine and gearbox supply, the windtunnel – is everything you should be doing to build up an F1 team that will be able to take on the established teams.

'I'm an engineer. For me, the job I do on Monday doesn't alter if the name changes. Ask Ross (Brawn), he's been through a couple in the last couple of years and dealt with it very well. But I'm absolutely convinced that come what may the future for our racing team is very bright indeed.'

Gascoyne's team, who licensed use of the Lotus name from Group Lotus for this season, may have to give way due to the latter's own F1 ambitions.

Renault team boss Eric Boullier confirmed at the weekend there had been talks with Group Lotus over a possible tie-up, reported to be worth �60m and would see the constructor line-up as Lotus Renault for 2011.

Boullier told Auto Hebdo in Brazil: 'There are discussions but we also have these with other sponsors and other companies.

'At the moment there are a lot of distorted rumours, but it is true there have been discussions about a possible collaboration.'