What's in a name? More than you might think, particularly in Formula One where two teams have been fighting for use of the Lotus moniker for a couple of years now.

The battle, as you may recall, involves two outfits – neither of them directly owned by Lotus. One is based in Malaysia and licensed the name from Lotus' parent company, Proton, before subsequently "acquiring" the name from a third party that laid claim to it. The issue was further complicated when Lotus itself teamed with the Renault F1 team (which also happens to supply engines to the other Lotus team), resulting in two squads called Lotus-Renault.

The two operations have now reached a compromise. The green-and-yellow Malaysian outfit known until now as Team Lotus be named Caterham in 2012 (having bought that company recently), while the Renault team will be cleared to use the Lotus name.

The move further distances Renault from direct involvement with any particular team, stepping back to a more traditional engine-supply role with teams like Lotus, Caterham, Williams and, of course, the world-champion Red Bull Racing team.

The F1 Commission also approved a name change for Virgin Racing, which will drop the name of Richard Branson's company from its official moniker and adopt that of Marussia, the Russian exotic carmaker that bought into the team last year. All three team name changes will require official ratification from the World Motor Sport Council of the FIA, but that's seen as a pro-forma step that isn't expected to derail any plans.


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      • 3 Years Ago
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      Don
      • 3 Years Ago
      If F1 is serious about increasing its fan base in the US, it needs to get its race coverage off of Speed Channel and onto a network which is more readily accessible to the public in general. Most cable packages put Speed Channel on a premium level, involving more money...but that's what F1's been about for some years now, I suppose.
      Motorsport Fan
      • 3 Years Ago
      Oops! Wrong comment. Yes, interesting name changes in the sport. However, name changes work against brand names associated with the sport and interestingly the most followed teams are the ones with the old brand names like explained here http://bit.ly/rrnvoG
      Motorsport Fan
      • 3 Years Ago
      kj
      ccruzan
      • 3 Years Ago
      I have been a F1 fan since high school when Stirling Moss was the cream of the crop. I met him and also Phil Hill right after Phil won his title in '61. I have been to Spa and Monaco. Fabulous sport. I think better, more accessible coverage would help the fan base but a couple of competitive American drivers would do more. Also a good race venue would help. Indy is great for Indy cars and Nascar but wasn't much for F1. Good crowds but boring races and 1 non-race race. Hoping Austin will be part of the answer.
      Darren L
      • 3 Years Ago
      Wow I actually care enough about F1 to be the first... Glad the two "Lotus" teams got their names sorted out though, it's been very confusing esp. when you know about their stories.
        Phil
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Darren L
        It will be interesting to see how many responses come in. The American F1 fan is kind of a rare breed. We have a MeetUp group in NYC for any fans in the NY metro area who'd like to meet other F1 fans: http://www.meetup.com/formula1NYC/ It it nice to see that the Lotus name will stay around. That legal considerations didn't exclude this historic moniker from living on in GP racing. Lotus has one of the most storied histories in Formula One: championships with some of the most legendary drivers and many of the greatest technical innovations. Hopefully Colin Chapman is smiling somewhere in the great beyond!
      • 2 Years Ago
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      • 2 Years Ago
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