Group Lotus Strongly Dismiss F1 Rumours

By iSportconnect | April 12, 2012

Group Lotus has reiterated their commitment to Formula One until at least 2017 whilst highlighting they are confident in finding a credible investor in the Lotus F1 team, despite the end of a title sponsorship agreement.

A Lotus report read: “Never let the facts get in the way of a good story”, Group Lotus on Wednesday sought to clarify reports regarding the Proton-owned company that it claims have been made in the “absence of proper facts or evidence”. Lotus F1 last week maintained it was committed to keeping the famous name in the sport, despite terminating its title sponsorship agreement with Group Lotus.

The team claimed the commercial agreement, along with an option for the Proton group to acquire a 50% stake in the F1 team, had been annulled. Group Lotus was recently sold, along with parent company Proton, to Malaysian automotive conglomerate DRB-Hicom. Group Lotus has stated Proton loaned Lotus F1 owner Genii Capital £30 million and that the company retains the right to purchase 10% of the team, as it sought to clear up the exact deal between the two parties.

“Group Lotus’ branding and marketing rights and subsequent activities remain unaffected by the new agreement until at least 2017,” the statement said. “Alongside continued branding and title partnership status, Group Lotus is also the exclusive master licensee for all Lotus F1 Team merchandise. The new agreement was reached following Group Lotus owners Proton providing team owners Genii with a £30 million loan which is repayable within three years.”

The statement added: “In order to secure the loan Genii used 100% of the F1 team’s assets as collateral meaning that under the conditions of the loan agreement Proton have been given full title guarantee to all plant, machinery, show cars, computers, office and the Lotus F1 Team headquarters. In addition Proton retains the rights to purchase 10% of the F1 team. Another 10% share option will be activated if the team default on their loan obligations with Proton.”

The sports car maker has also moved to vehemently deny speculation that DRB-Hicom is considering putting the company into administration as a means of freeing itself from Group Lotus’ debts, describing the reports as “rubbish”. Group Lotus said: “At no point has DRB-HICOM indicated to Group Lotus that it intends to put the company into administration. The over-active rumour mill is seriously damaging our business reputation, image and credibility but it is what it is. The simple fact is, and we haven’t denied this – Lotus is going through a very difficult phase at the moment but we are showing true fighting spirit every day in trying to keep this vision alive.”