London: Malaysia`s Proton, owner of Lotus road cars, will "take all necessary steps" to stop Lotus Racing team Tony Fernandes using the brand in Formula One next year, Proton said on Monday.
Fernandes announced at last weekend`s Singapore Grand Prix that Lotus Racing would compete as Team Lotus, the original name given to the outfit by late founder Colin Chapman in the 1950s, after acquiring the rights from David Hunt.
Proton disputed Hunt`s right to the Team Lotus name and said it would support Group Lotus in protecting its rights.
Proton chairman Nadzmi Salleh said: "We believe the Lotus brand to be one of the most valuable brands in Formula One today.”
"We are the owners of this brand, and will take all necessary steps to protect it.
"Tony Fernandes has no rights to use the Lotus brand in the 2011 Formula One season, and we will strongly resist any attempts by him to use our brand without our permission and will withdraw our sponsorship of the Lotus Racing team."