So Team Lotus have joined up with Caterham, the manufacturers of the Seven – formerly known as the Lotus Seven – and a classic British car manufacturer. Yep, Caterham are another Group Lotus throwaway, but still going today they sell a few hundred cars a year. Green and yellow themselves, we know that whatever happens with the court case they’ll still be green and yellow on the grid.
By announcing this a while before the case is resolved, Tony Fernandes has made a smart move. By allowing fans to get used to the connection between the two, and to get involved with and understand the history, if the team loses the Lotus name it can still maintain its fanbase in the same way. I don’t want Team Lotus to lose the name, however. Well, we’ll have to see.
On the GP2 side, Team AirAsia may be getting a rename. They won’t be able to colour themselves identically to the Lotus ART, but I hope they lose the red and white as it’s too similar to Coloni and Arden. In an interview with Autosport, Tony confirmed that there would be a GP2 Caterham team with AirAsia as the sponsor, but the change won’t occur just yet as he needs to sort out the regulations. Once this happens, they’ll be called AirAsia Caterham. The plan seems to be to take the Caterham name from karting up to GP2, and whether or not it will be in F1 depends on what happens elsewhere.
This deal was concluded quickly, but has been on the cards since December – long before the court case really got going and probably before they were even announced as Team Lotus by the FIA. Don’t think this is a Tony back-up plan. As far as I’m aware he hasn’t got one, he just goes with the flow and takes what comes.
So an exciting announcement. It won’t affect the team too much, but will help their sustainability. Their next challenge will be Turkey in nine days’ time.