TMR Team | Apr 10, 2012
  • Group Lotus no longer Lotus team sponsor
  • Team boss hopes Bahrain called off
  • Sauber names Kaltenborn as future successor
 

Group Lotus no longer Lotus team sponsor

Group Lotus will no longer sponsor the Formula One team that bears its name.

But, as F1's perpetually bizarre 'Lotus' saga takes another twist, the Enstone-based team, formerly Renault, will continue to be known as Lotus in the coming years.

Last year, and in 2010, 'Lotus' was the name of the team that is now called Caterham, but a bitter dispute soured that relationship as the Proton-owned car company Group Lotus ended the naming license and made its own bid to enter F1.

Group Lotus' new foray blossomed in 2012 with Renault's renaming to Lotus, amid speculation team owner Genii was keen to get more involved with the iconic sports car marque.

When asked recently about his team's relationship with Lotus, Kimi Raikkonen answered clumsily on the Top Gear motoring programme: "Well it's, er, it (the car) is not a Renault. Lotus is just a sponsor."

The Autosport website revealed on Good Friday that the sponsorship deal has been "terminated".

However, "We are happy to carry the Lotus name as we believe it is a good name for F1," explained team owner Genii's Gerard Lopez.

"So Lotus are still Lotus despite no longer being sponsored by Lotus?" the Telegraph's Tom Cary wittily surmised on Twitter.

And in yet another twist, Lopez refused to rule out a scenario in which Genii actually takes over Group Lotus.

"We don't know yet, because we really do not know what the new owner wants to do with it," he said.

(GMM)

 

Team boss hopes Bahrain called off

One F1 team boss has admitted he hopes the forthcoming Bahrain Grand Prix is called off.

The Times newspaper is reporting that every team is devising contingency plans for the possibility that this month's race in the troubled island Kingdom might not go ahead.

"I feel very uncomfortable about going to Bahrain," one team boss, described as a "leading" member of the F1 paddock and with representative views, told the Guardian.

"We're all hoping the FIA calls it off," he admitted.

"It seems to me that while there has been some political progress in Bahrain they're not quite ready. The best thing would be for the race to be postponed until later in the year, or even cancelled."

Ultimately, the decision will be made by the FIA, and a spokesman for the governing body has now admitted it is "constantly monitoring and evaluating the situation" in Bahrain.

Interestingly, the Guardian said FIA president Jean Todt will be in China this weekend. The teams are currently scheduled to travel directly from China to Bahrain for the second leg of a back-to-back double header.

Salman bin Isa Al Khalifa, the chief executive of Bahrain's circuit, sounds confident.

"The FIA and Bernie (Ecclestone) have never shown any doubts about our race," he told The National.

"I do see there is fear, but I just wish such people would listen to those who have the information -- maybe not us, because we as a circuit are perhaps not perceived as an objective voice, but there are other people who know the region and know the situation and they are saying that this race should go ahead."

(GMM)

 

Sauber names Kaltenborn as future successor

Monisha Kaltenborn will become F1's first ever female team boss.

That is the revelation of Peter Sauber, who at the age of 68 has hinted he might call it a day before his 70th birthday.

Indian Kaltenborn, 41, is already Hinwil based Sauber's chief executive, while Peter Sauber remains the team principal.

"I have always said that I will not be sitting on the pitwall as a 70 year old," Sauber told Der Sonntag newspaper.

"With certainty, my successor is Monisha Kaltenborn. That is for sure. When it (the handover) happens is still open.

"She will be the first female team boss in formula one history," Sauber continued. "She's been with us for 13 years, always with leading roles. I'm sure she will do the job very well."

Sauber, in fact, has already departed the pitwall once before, when he sold his team to BMW and handed over to Mario Theissen.

Somewhat reluctantly, he returned in 2010, having rescued the Hinwil based employees in the wake of German carmaker's sudden withdrawal.

"I could not jump into the breach a second time," smiled Sauber, hinting that his retirement this time around would be final.

(GMM)

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