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Team Lotus boss Tony Fernandes has been criticised as he returns to the British courts this week, attempting to have his name legally changed to Colin Chapman.
The Malaysian entrepreneur is already embroiled in an expensive court case with rival businessman Dany Bahar as they argue over who has the right to use the Lotus name in Formula One. Fernandes’ move to change his name is widely seen in F1 circles as a bid to gain extra legitimacy for his case, as he asserts his place as the rightful heir to the historic Lotus team, which folded at the end of 1994.
The revived Lotus operation began racing in F1 at the beginning of 2010, where they attracted plaudits from around the paddock for so successfully imitating that remarkable final season for the original team. Fernandes vowed to build on that promising start into 2011, pledging to step up a gear in his systematic pillaging of history – though few had imagined he would take such a drastic step so soon.
Mr Fernandes was unavailable for comment, but Team Lotus press officer Gloy Plopwell explained the situation to journalists at the team’s Norfolk base earlier today.
“Mr Chapman, as he now prefers to be known, is applying to have his name changed as a reflection of the fact that he fully embodies the spirit and tenacity that made the original Colin Chapman the renowned genius he was,” Plopwell said. “Furthermore, this development affords both Mr Chapman and the team stupendous momentum, which will propel them forward to a regular challenge for victories and championships as soon as the 2011 season starts, if not sooner.”
Mr Plopwell also took the opportunity to confirm a slightly amended driver line-up for the 2011 season, which will feature 36-year-old Italian veteran Ronnie Peterson competing alongside the 29-year-old Finnish driver Jim Clark.