One of the main talking points off the track in the past months has been the dispute between Lotus Racing and Group Lotus. Lotus Racing is the team which entered Formula 1 this year under the leadership of Tony Fernandes. Group Lotus is the company which looks after Lotus roadcars. Now let me make it clear, i'm no expert on all the legal matters which seem to dog the dispute between these two entities over who owns the right to the Team Lotus name. Quite frankly, it has been a story which has not really captured my interest and so haven't followed or indeed understood all the details involved. Neither do i know anybody involved so would not normally try and blog about such issues!
However i came across an interesting claim, by total chance, that Renault have already sold it F1 Chassis division and it will only make engines from now on. The sale was to Lotus, which we can presume is the Group Lotus company rather than the current F1 outfit. Of course this is not necessarily true but from what i can gather, it seems a pretty solid source and is from an employee from the team so likely is true. This would mean that Group Lotus have bought at least 50% and have a majority stake. When i first seen this i was surprised as my initial thought was that the Renault name was gone bar on the engines. However without agreement from all the teams they would not be able to change their team name without loss of FOM revenue from the season which has passed. One suggestion seems to be that Lotus would be the title sponsor of Renault on the team name so the team would be called 'Lotus Renault' like Mclaren have the name of 'Vodafone McLaren Mercedes' It would be questionable thought that people would use that name regularly but rather continue to know the team and call the cars by the name of Renault. It would likely be that the Enstone factory continued with the day to day running of the team whilst Group Lotus contribution would be more based on finance.
Still holding your attention? Good. As it stands, Lotus Racing want to change to Team Lotus, using the name made iconic by Clark, Andretti and Peterson amongst others. Of course this is challenged by Group Lotus and with both sides not backing down it could come down to a battle in the courts. How that will play out is anyones guess and of course the knock on effects of a verdict falling on either side could affect matters.
How will it affect things on the track? Well more investment for the 'Renault' team helps them put more into building on their 2010 season and giving Robert Kubica a car capable of wins. Even if a cash injection is forthcoming i still expect Vitaly Petrov to keep his seat. For Lotus Racing there has been good work done already in sealing a Renault engine deal and getting hold of some Red Bull technology as well so they will want to now move up and be battling with the midfield teams and be fighting for Q2 and getting points on the board.
For a detailed look at the Lotus/Renault situation i recommend a read of http://joesaward.wordpress.com/2010/12/03/the-renault-situation/