Hardly a week goes by in F1 without some legal wrangling, court-room drama, or similar. Great news for lawyers! But not so great for the majority of F1 fans, for whom legal-jargon makes even less sense than Eddie Jordan on a sugar high. But fear not! Here at the Sett we have the Badger Barrister* to solve and explain all things legal in the world of F1…
Lotus v Lotus at the High Court
The two sides:
- Group Lotus (itself owned by Proton), sponsors of the Renault F1 team
- Team Lotus (itself owned by 1Malaysia Racing)- with team principal Tony Fernandes, and basically the team who last year were called ‘Lotus’
In 2010 Team Lotus raced under a licence (‘Lotus Racing’) from Group Lotus, which was terminated that year. This forced Team Lotus to go David Hunt (yes, James Hunt’s brother) who bought the Team Lotus name when it was wound up in 1994. Laughably, even that relationship has now turned sour, and Tony Fernandes is suing (“Kerrrching!” – an F1 lawyer yesterday) Hunt for defamation, although he doesn’t really know on what grounds.
The fun kicks off today at the High Court – as the two sides go head-to-head to ‘win’ the right to call themselves ‘Lotus’. Who cares who wins? It’s far to confusing to have two teams with the same name, so the sooner someone wins the better.
So, anyway, what is the High Court, I hear you ask? It’s an English court where high-value cases are heard initially (i.e. not at the appeals stages – which is where one side is complaining about the initial result of the case).
Both sides have instructed some fairly decent lawyers. As an aside, you always instruct a solicitor first (who prepares the documents and deals with the client) who then in turn instructs a barrister (who has the wig, and stands up in court and argues, a lot – see the BBC TV show Silk for more details). Team Lotus have a chap called Guy Morpuss QC (QC means Queen’s Counsel, or ‘silk’, aka a very senior barrister), and Group Lotus have Michael Silverleaf QC, who (according to my sources) is a “real terrier”. Watch out Tony!
Court room battle – LIVE!
Did you know that you, yes YOU, can go down to the High Court (at the Royal Courts of Justice in London, Strand, London WC2A 2LL) and watch the case unfold … live! I kid you not. A friend of mine went to see the famous Max Mosley case at the High Court – apparently it was a proper corker to behold! According to my sources, if you get to Court 61 anytime after 10:30am today (Tuesday) you should be able to grab some of the Lotus “I am Spartacus” action.
It’s expected to run for 2 weeks (though potentially not in the same courtroom – check the boards at the entrance), so there should be plenty of courtroom drama to go around.
*not a real barrister, ahem.