Team Lotus Denies Offer from Group Lotus

Team Lotus' Tony Fernandes denied allegations issued by Group Lotus' CEO Dany Bahar, according to which the British sportscar maker made an attempt to partner with the Norfolk based organization for the 2011 season, but the conditions imposed by him were unbearable.

During a media lunch event in London this week, Bahar said that Lotus' mother company Proton tried to approach Fernandes on the idea of signing a long-time commitment in the series, but the price for such a transaction was unacceptable. In turn, the prospect of purchasing part of the former Renault F1 Team came at one third of the price forwarded by Fernandes, which forced Lotus to make the decision id did.

The AirAsia owner begs to differ however, insisting that these types of accusations are totally unfunded and untrue.

There was no such thing as an offer,” Fernandes was quoted as saying by British magazine Autosport. “There is an understanding that Lotus's involvement with Renault is worth £20 million, which would therefore mean that I was seeking £60 million – which is a complete fabrication.

We never got past an initial dinner meeting. Dany Bahar and Riad Asmat met and that was it. No offers were ever exchanged. We were very open to equity sharing, working together and other combinations. We wanted it to work for the good of the Lotus brand – and it made sense to combine.”

I can state categorically that there is no way we were three times more expensive. Dany got it into his mind that Mike Gascoyne was old school and that it would take a long, long time for Lotus Racing to be a challenger at the top,” further revealed the Malaysian official.

Additionally, he responded to the attacks issued by Lotus Renault team principal Eric Boullier, Genii Capital owner Gerard Lopez and Lotus CEO Dany Bahar on the topic of image damaging for the Lotus brand.

Over the last few days I have had attacks from Dany Bahar, Eric Boullier and Gerard Lopez. Personally I think it has got a little bit out of hand and a lot of it is fabricated. How Eric Boullier can say we have fooled fans - I think that is an insult to fans. Fans will make up their own mind. If we are not up to the mark they will not give us any support. You cannot fool anyone. This will be my last statement on the matter and hopefully some common sense will arise.”
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