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Lotus buys Renault stake as legendary F1 name doubles its presence

Dany Bahar is the chief executive of the Proton-owned Group Lotus which has bought a stake in the Renault F1 team.
Dany Bahar is the chief executive of the Proton-owned Group Lotus which has bought a stake in the Renault F1 team.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Renault will be known as Renault Lotus GP for the 2011 Formula One season
  • The Proton-owned Group Lotus has acquired a major steak in Britain-based team
  • Team Lotus will also race in the 2011 season, in the same black and gold colors
  • It brought the legendary brand back to the F1 grid in 2010 after acquiring licence for name

(CNN) -- The Renault Formula One team will race under the name and colors of the legendary Lotus brand next year after a change in its ownership.

The team will be known as Renault Lotus GP after the French manufacturer sold its 25% stake in the team to Lotus Cars, which is owned by Malaysian carmaker Proton.

Renault will continue its involvement in the sport, but as an engine supplier rather than a competing marque.

The announcement means two teams will race with the Lotus name and iconic black and gold colors next season, with Tony Fernandes' Team Lotus retaining its place on the grid under its rebranded title.

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Fernandes used the name Lotus Racing for this year's debut season, having acquired licensing rights from Proton.

Lotus, just like buses, you wait for ages and then two come along at once
--Mike Gascoyne
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"We're well aware that there has been a lot of controversy around the usage of our brand in F1," Group Lotus chief executive Dany Bahar said in a Renault team press release on Wednesday.

"I'm delighted to be able to formally clarify our position once and for all: we are Lotus and we are back."

Fernandes insisted the future is bright for his British-based Team Lotus and criticized Bahar for electing to use a black and gold color scheme.

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"Dany Bahar has done us a favor. Never felt better about our future and Team Lotus. Looks like they are trying to hijack our black and gold idea," the 46-year-old Air Asia owner said via social networking website Twitter.

Team Lotus chief technical officer Mike Gascoyne reiterated his colleague's enthusiasm.

"Rest assured, we are Team Lotus and we are here to stay," Gascoyne said on Twitter. "Lotus, just like buses, you wait for ages and then two come along at once."

Renault, which supplied world drivers' and constructors' champions Red Bull in 2010, confirmed it will provide engines and technology to three teams in 2011.