|Speaking out: Former Lotus driver Nigel Mansell has backed Group Lotus as it teams up with Renault.
[Original images via LAT and The Cahier Archive]
Former World Champion Nigel Mansell is the latest Formula 1 figure to enter into the Lotus naming rights debate, and has lent his support to Group Lotus’ partnership with the Renault F1 team.
Mansell was one of several famous faces – including the likes of Ayrton Senna and Elio de Angelis – in the 1980s to pilot the iconic black-and-gold Lotus cars in the sport, before he graduated to Ferrari and later Williams, with whom he won the Drivers’ Championship in 1992.
Mansell’s support coincides with Team Lotus publishing the black-and-gold livery it would have run in 2011, amidst the protracted naming rights dispute between it and the Group Lotus carmaker, in addition to members of the Chapman family declaring that ‘Team Lotus’ should remain dead and buried.
“It is particularly pleasing for me to see the union of Lotus and Renault again and the return of the iconic Black and Gold colours,” he is quoted as saying.
“I am extremely grateful to Lotus and especially to Colin Chapman, who was so inspirational and almost like a second father to me and have been watching with great interest the developments that have been taking place recently at Hethel with their ambitious race and road car projects,” he added.
“I am really delighted to see that Lotus is back where it belongs competing with the best in the top echelons of motor sport.”
One imagines Tony Fernandes won’t be particularly thrilled with these comments…