We are hearing this morning that Mr Justice Peter Smith has dismissed the appeal made by Group Lotus, against the ruling which allowed 1Malaysia Racing Team to continue using the Team Lotus name in Formula One.
If you remember, after last month’s judgement, Sarah Price, Head of Legal for Group Lotus confirmed they would be appealing against the decision, saying that “Despite the detailed judgment there are issues which still require clarification and we remain committed to obtaining this much needed clarity for the many fans of the Lotus marque..”
Justice Smith said in his 388-paragraph judgement that he considered it unfortunate the case had not been settled before reaching court, and indeed believed it might be beneficial for F1 fans if the two teams kept their names and merely competed on the track – the one that did the best would “possibly be better placed to claim to be successors to the Colin Chapman mantle”.
The argument being made by Group Lotus was that such a judgement would only serve to confuse customers and fans, effectively undermining the value of Group Lotus’ continued investment in Formula One and make it difficult for them to tie the marketing of its racing activities with that of its road cars.
According to a statement on Twitter this morning from Tony Fernandes, Justice Peter Smith has rejected Group Lotus’ application for appeal and ordered them to pay interim costs to 1Malaysia Racing Team.
Tony Fernandes previously said last month that he doubted there was the stomach to pursue an appeal in Malaysian government circles, “For an appeal to succeed they need something fundamental to change, ” he said. “The judgement is clear. I don’t know if Proton (owners of Group Lotus) has the stomach to go on. I’m not concerned anyway.”
Time will tell.