Lotus teams must wait for name change

Suzuka (Japan): A bid by Formula One`s Team Lotus and Lotus-backed Renault to fast-track their change of names for 2012 has been delayed after some stakeholders in the sport expressed concern.

McLaren team boss Martin Whitmarsh, who is chairman of the teams` association FOTA, said at the Japanese Grand Prix on Saturday that a planned fax vote on the subject had been put on hold.

"There was a decision to call a fax vote of the Formula One commission and those votes were going in, the teams were supporting the name change," he said.

"But I think some promoters and others were showing some concern...it was decided yesterday that perhaps rather than try and just push it through on a fax vote there should be a discussion with everyone so they understood what was happening."

Team Lotus, owned by Asian aviation entrepreneur Tony Fernandes, are expected to switch their name to Caterham for next season after the purchase of the niche British sportscar brand.

Renault, backed by Malaysia`s Group Lotus and no longer owned by the French carmaker, are keen to be known just as Lotus and have reached an agreement with Team Lotus after a court battle earlier in the year.

"Name changes aren`t something that should be encouraged but if you`ve got two Lotus names in Formula One it strikes me that isn`t desirable, it`s not what people really need or want in the sport," said Whitmarsh.

"I think we need to find a way where everyone is happy to have one Lotus team."

Whitmarsh said a meeting of the Formula One commission was likely before the next session of the governing FIA`s world motor sport council in December.

Renault team boss Eric Boullier, who is Whitmarsh`s deputy in FOTA, said he did not think there was any big objection to the changes.

"It`s just two team name changes at the same time and some people want to make sure it`s done with the right process and the right purpose. That`s it, nothing else," he said.

Some Formula One insiders are however known to be concerned that too frequent name changes devalue the sport, while there are also issues to be ironed out concerning the rights to revenues accrued over the years.

If Team Lotus gets the go ahead, it will be their third name in as many years after entering the sport in 2010 as Lotus Racing.

Renault were previously Benetton and before that Toleman.

Bureau Report

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