Lotus Racing boss Tony Fernandes has reportedly been dealt a huge blow in his ongoing spat with the Group Lotus carmaker over the intended use of the Lotus name next season, with the Malaysian airline magnate apparently losing crucial support from Clive Chapman, the son of the Lotus team’s founder, Colin.
The breaking news item is apparently claimed by Jean-Louis Moncet – a well-regarded French commentator – in his regular column for the Auto Plus newspaper, where the claims the information is from “a very good source” within the carmaker’s group.
The historic carmaker is locked in a seemingly bitter legal dispute with Fernandes, who recently announced he had purchased the rights to use the Lotus name in Formula 1 in 2011 and beyond, despite Group Lotus withdrawing its permission to use the name.
Fernandes has repeatedly claimed he has the support of the Chapman family, but Moncet’s source claims that Clive Chapman has allegedly dissociated himself from the reborn F1 team.
The column also claimed that Chapman had reportedly written a letter to F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone to confirm this, and may also publically release his own media statement to this effect as well.
Fernandes’ team recently announced that it would not offer “any further comments” on the protracted battle with Group Lotus, but the issue is seemingly causing Renault – rumoured to be the team’s engine supplier for next season – to delay confirmation of its engine supply deal with the team until the conflict has come to an end.
[Original image via Lotus Racing]