Paddock whispers suggesting that Team Lotus was about to start some big sponsors – who had been holding off while the messy Lotus vs Lotus court case was being fought out – have now borne true, with the Hingham-based team announcing it has secured General Electric as a major sponsor.
GE – an umbrella company for an array of different companies – is a nice fit with Team Lotus, and is apparently particularly keen to be involved given the outfit’s association with the airline industry (through AirAsia) and in electric cars. One of GE’s corporate arms is in manufacturing airline engines and in researching alternative energy solutions, and it recently tied up a 20-year $600 million deal with AirAsia.
GE’s branding will appear on the Lotus cars and fixtures from next month’s British Grand Prix onwards, and in making the announcement, team owner Tony Fernandes confirmed that the relationship will go well beyond a conventional sponsorship deal.
“It is a resounding endorsement of the remarkable development of our team that we have unveiled a partnership of this significance with one of the world’s most eminent organisations,” he said.
“We are already exploring a number of initiatives that will bring the GE/Team Lotus relationship to life across the spectrum of GE’s interests, from future automotive electrification technologies, materials sciences, design processes and core engineering competencies to the showcasing of GE’s world class e-infrastructure capabilities throughout the global business and government communities in race and non-race markets alike.
“In short, we have a huge array of platforms to work across driven by passionate people in both organisations who can’t wait to put their collective imagination to work.”
Believed to be the fourth most widely-recognised brand in the world, GE has revenues of over $150 billion per year, and the tie-in could attract other blue-chip sponsors from across the world as Team Lotus continues to market itself as an attractive option for B2B deals.
There were rumours that Fernandes paid a visit to the town of Waterloo, Ontario, during the Canadian Grand Prix weekend. The town is home to the headquarters of the Research in Motion company that manufactures the BlackBerry. Expect to see that name associated with Team Lotus in the future…
[Image via Team Lotus]