Hunt Says Renault Risks Image Damages Over Lotus Deal

Renault is on the verge of being dragged into another scandal that can affect its image in the world of motor racing. That is the opinion expressed by David Hunt, the brother of 1976 world champion James Hunt, who until recently held the rights of the name “Team Lotus”. Earlier this year, he sold it to Tony Fernandes' team, after which Proton – Group Lotus' mother company – issued legal actions against the Norfolk based squad.

Back then, Proton warned the team not to use the name Lotus for the 2011 F1 campaign, as it is the British company who controls the commercial rights of the name, not Hunt. Tony Fernandes however went forward with his plans and not only announced his team will be named “Team Lotus” in 2011, but the car livery will also feature the marque's iconic green and gold colors.

As you all know, Renault recently sold its share in its F1 team to Genii Capital, after which the Luxembourg based company sold half of the entire Enstone squad to Group Lotus. That led to the controversial situation in which both teams – Lotus Renault F1 Team and Team Lotus – benefit from the same engine supply, same colors and same Lotus name.

Have the sponsors on Renault's car all been warned what they are in for and the damage that might occur to their brand through association of what is effectively a declaration of war by Proton?” wondered Hunt, according to the Norwich Evening News.

And given Renault still have a suspended sentence tied to them after bringing the sport into disrepute (for crashgate) in 2008, are they doing so again by deliberately and willfully confusing the public over the Lotus brand? I think it's silly, whatever angle you look at it. Talk about confusing the public,” he added.

His comments were responded quickly enough by Genii Capital's Gerard Lopez, who revealed that Renault is not in any danger of ruining its image, as the very boss of F1 Bernie Ecclestone gave the go ahead for the Group Lotus transaction.

As far as we're concerned (F1 chief executive) Bernie has been involved and obviously this happened with his blessing,” he said, according to the Daily Telegraph.
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