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Team Lotus & AirAsia boss Tony Fernandes buys Caterham

By Rigval on 07 May 2011

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And suddenly out of the blue, Tony Fernandes, the Malaysian businessman who runs AirAsia airlines and that deep in turmoil F 1 team called Team Lotus, has bought Caterham. Caterham is renowned for their version of the Lotus Super 7, a very back to basics type of sports car that offers handling and performance in a package that often weighs less than 600kg. I was surprised to actually hear that Caterham needed new investors, especially since the brand has quite a following in the UK. I suppose a following isn’t enough.

Anyway, the Corven Group, who owned Caterham has stated that it has sold all its shares to Tony Fernandes. According to an interview conducted by Autocar with Mr Fernandes, “Team Lotus is a platform to promote Caterham”. The first steps of this joint advertising are 25 units of a Caterham 7 with Team Lotus livery. Imagine that, a ‘Lotus’ badge on something that sprouted from a Lotus that isn’t a Lotus. It would be like a Proton Satria GTI with the ‘Suspension Tuned By Lotus’ badging but slightly more confusing as Caterham isn’t a subsidiary of Proton like how Lotus is.

Now it seems that Team Lotus Formula 1 is really confusing as it (in a way) no longer promotes the Lotus brand due to its current legal wrangle with Group Lotus, who basically owns Lotus Cars as well as the now official Lotus Renault GP F1 Team.

Fernandes’ Team Lotus F1 which used to be the Lotus team now uses the Team Lotus name which was bought from the people who used to run the factory race team in the 1970s and early 1980s. But according to Groups Lotus, isn’t an officially sanctioned team. But somehow, Tony Fernandes does not want to be seen as the losing side and has bought a company that made a living out of producing Lotus based sports cars.

Lotus has basically moved on and do not produce a car like the Caterham 7 anymore. The most basic Lotus, the Elise is more exotic with its mid engined layout. The Caterham 7 is more traditional with no proper wind up windows and is sparsely equipped. Does this tiny thread of association with Lotus via Caterham make Team Lotus as much of a Lotus as the official factory sanctioned team? I don’t think so. They only thing I can see coming out of this is that the Team Lotus vs Group Lotus feud is still going strong.

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motorsports, formula 1 and 10 more...

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Rigval
Written by Rigval
Born in 1972. Married with a kid. Loves B-road drives and have driven cars from the 1950s to date.



 
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