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Group Lotus explode all over the Internet - The most talked about press release of the year

Published by Mr. C

Group Lotus issued a blistering attack on motor sport media luminaries, bloggers, tweeters and more this afternoon in what must count as one of the least professional press releases any company has ever sanctioned. The publication fires personal attacks at Tony Fernandes, Mike Gascoyne and Joe Saward, before spilling sensitive details about the company's current (lack of) involvement in Formula 1.

Coming less than a week after Lotus F1 team boss Gérard Lopez announced the termination of a sponsorship agreement between his team and Group Lotus, the company appear keen to further damage the once great Lotus brand.

The public display of anger appears, at least in part, to be prompted by a tweet sent by Fernandes two days ago.

So the story is coming full circle. The 2 guys who wasted so much money taking us to court are gone. Chairman and ceo. The tragic thing about lotus is they all tried to destroy us. Ego. If they worked with us would have been so good. Anyway we get stronger day by day at caterham.

tonyfernandes tonyfernandes

Group Lotus refute that accusation, stating "Don’t take everything [Fernandes] tweets too seriously – perhaps he’s still frustrated about owning Caterham", before then directing their fury at Gascoyne:

Do you know the latest F1 joke? Mike Gascoyne, Caterham Group’s Chief Technical Officer, has gone missing. Why? He’s looking for the 30 to 40 points he predicted for the last F1 season. Funny.

It seems no-one is safe from the wrath of whoever penned this release, as Joe Saward comes under attack for his new role at Caterham Group. The press release claims Joe "is at the root of the lion’s share of damaging rumours and misleading stories". Now that is a dangerous statement to be making in today's litigious society.

Joe recently discussed his new appointment at Caterham Group, including what his role is, full disclosure, clashes of interest and more on An Aside with Joe.

Group Lotus then turn their attention to the Formula 1 team bearing the same name, reframing what Lopez described as a "terminated" sponsorship as a "reshaped commercial relationship". Here are the gory details in full, some that I'm sure the F1 team are incredibly pleased are now in the public domain.

The new agreement was reached following Group Lotus owners Proton providing team owners Genii with a £30m loan which is repayable within three years. In order to secure the loan Genii used 100% of the F1 team’s assets as collateral meaning that under the conditions of the loan agreement Proton have been given full title guarantee to all plant, machinery, show cars, computers, office and the Lotus F1 Team headquarters.

In addition Proton retains the rights to purchase 10% of the F1 team. Another 10% share option will be activated if the team default on their loan obligations with Proton.

The statement closes with the assertion that the "over-active rumour mill is seriously damaging our business reputation, image and credibility". One might argue that in business, the best way to neuter such rumours is to deliver on promises made, to hit targets set and effectively manage the company brand.

Nothing Group Lotus has done in the past two years has contributed anything positive to Formula 1. They have succeeded only in causing mass confusion amongst fans, dragging the sport through the courts and sullying the great name that was Lotus.

Not since Simon Gillett dug a big hole in the middle of England, has one man done so much damage to motor sport. CEO Dany Bahar should hang his head in shame, a press release is no place for petty grievances.

In my view, Bahar and Group Lotus are a disgrace to motor racing.