Lotus vs Lotus goes from silly to ridiculous
16 December, 2010
Dec.16 (PVM) Tony Fernandes, boss of Lotus Racing, has denied claims by Group Lotus CEO Dany Bahar that negotiations between the two organisations came to nil due to excessive demands made by Fernandes.
Fernandes told Autosport, “There was no such thing as an offer. There is an understanding that Lotus’ involvement with Renault is worth £20 million, which would therefore mean that I was seeking £60 million – which is a complete fabrication. We never got past an initial dinner meeting. Dany Bahar and Riad Asmat [CEO of Team Lotus] met and that was it. No offers were ever exchanged. We were very open to equity sharing, working together and other combinations. We wanted it to work for the good of the Lotus brand – and it made sense to combine.”
The Malaysian airlines tycoon stated, “I can state categorically that there is no way we were three times more expensive,” he reiterated. “Dany got it into his mind that Mike Gascoyne was old school and that it would take a long, long time for Lotus Racing to be a challenger at the top. I think with the package we have got, towards the end of next season we will be not very far away from RenaultF1 and if he had been a bit more patient, given it a bit more time and been open to news then a super collaboration could have happened.”
Fernandes is clearly fed up with what he perecives to be ongoing attacks by the ‘other’Lotus camp, “It has got too much,” he added. “Over the last few days I have had attacks from Dany Bahar, Eric Boullier and Gerard Lopez. Personally I think it has got a little bit out of hand and a lot of it is fabricated. How Eric Boullier can say we have fooled fans – I think that is an insult to fans. Fans will make up their own mind. If we are not up to the mark they will not give us any support. You cannot fool anyone.”
Mike Gascoyne, Lotus Racing technical chief, said on Twitter, “Interesting to read dany Behar’s comments about wanting to work with us, don’t think anyone here noticed that!!!”
The ongoing feud – Lotus vs Lotus – has captured much of the off season column inches with the Lotus name saga set to be decided in court, while the issue of what livery each of the teams would use has also been in the spotlight.