Bahar rules out Renault F1 name change before 2013

London: Renault plan to retain their black and gold livery next year and any renaming of the Formula One team as Lotus is out of the question until at least 2013, Group Lotus CEO Dany Bahar said on Friday.

Malaysian-owned sportscar maker Lotus last year agreed a title sponsorship deal with the team until the end of the 2017 season with the aim of becoming co-owners along with Genii Capital.

Although the team is entered as Renault F1, the French car maker sold their remaining stake in the team to Genii last year.

"We enjoy a very good relationship with our partners Genii, we are very much involved in their business, we are happy with how it`s run and as things are run properly and (are) well managed there is no reason for us to do any move," Bahar told reporters at a lunch in central London.

"We are absolutely fine as it is.

"If we decide to go for the long term (ownership) then a renaming would be an issue," he added. "But at the moment it`s out of the question and it`s not something we are pursuing. Out of the question until 2013."

Under the terms of the confidential Concorde Agreement governing the sport, team name changes have to be agreed by all teams -- something that is likely to remain an obstacle until the current version expires at the end of next year.

Group Lotus and rivals Team Lotus, owned by Malaysian aviation entrepreneur Tony Fernandes and also using Renault engines, have taken their fight over the use of the Lotus name to the London High Court.

A ruling last month, which Group Lotus are appealing, allowed Team Lotus to continue under that name while recognising that only Group Lotus could compete as just Lotus.

The judge also found that Renault were entitled to continue racing in the black and gold livery that harks back to the days of the old title-winning Team Lotus founded by the late Colin Chapman.

"I think you need consistency," said Bahar. "We like the livery in the black and gold, we use it in many road car limited editions on our side.

"It`s a nice livery that is perceived well by the people, especially on the road car side, so I see no reason why we should change it."

Renault finished on the podium in the first two races of the season, with Russian Vitaly Petrov and Germany`s Nick Heidfeld, and Bahar said Group Lotus were getting what they wanted out of their involvement.

"Although the first two results made us a bit hungry for more success, the bottom line is that we have to be very happy with what the team has achieved," he said.

"The partnership is running very well and I hope it continues to be like that. It`s about the branding of Lotus, about technology transfer. The naming issue is there, unfortunately, but it doesn`t really impact."

Bureau Report

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