Mike Gascoyne has labelled the overall situation ‘a great shame’, with regards to the Renault F1 Team being relabelled ‘Lotus Renault GP’ and therefore meaning two ‘Lotus’ teams will be on the Formula 1 grid this year, with his own ‘Lotus Racing’ squad now renamed as ‘Team Lotus’.
The ‘Lotus’ name made its return to the sport in 2010, with Gascoyne and Tony Fernandes introducing Lotus Racing as one of a trio of debutant teams.
However, the Renault squad has now been renamed following a buy-in from Norfolk-based sports car manufacturer Group Lotus – an entirely separate company to that of Gascoyne.
“I think it’s a great shame,” the Chief Technical Officer explained to Paul Tan’s automotive blog of Malaysia. “On one level Tony’s stressed to everyone that a team is about the people in the team and whatever we’re called isn’t going to change what we are as a team and we’ve built up that team and the fan base around the world and in Malaysia – we’ve built up that team and that isn’t going to change.
“For me as an engineer, whether you paint it green or black or pink or bright red…however fast the car goes at the first test won’t be affected at all by what the team is called. Having said that, I think we’re all intensely proud of what the team has achieved this year as Lotus Racing, bringing the name ‘Lotus’ back into Formula 1 – that can never be taken away from us.”
However, the Englishman admits that recent events have met a disappointing end.
“I think we brought tremendous value to the brand and we want to continue to do that,” Gascoyne continued. “For me, Lotus is about engineering – it’s about building, engineering and racing racing cars; that’s what Team Lotus did, it did it in Norfolk and that’s what we’ve done here in Norfolk.
“Was Colin Chapman and Lotus about branding a French car as ‘Lotus’? I’m not so sure it was; I think Colin Chapman was one of the great innovators in Formula 1 and when he brought sponsorship into Formula 1 I think he thought he’d be receiving it, not giving it out, but that’s for Tony and the shareholders to work on.
“As I say, we feel we’ve got the best shareholders in Formula 1, we’re very proud to work for them and we’re going to repay them by working hard and designing them a quicker car; they can call it anything they like and we’ll still be doing that job for them, but there is still a sense of pride of bringing Lotus back into Formula 1.”