When news broke that Group Lotus was buying into the Renault F1 Team, one of the more popular questions was why couldn’t they just invest in Tony Fernandes’ Team Lotus. Wouldn’t that have solved the issue of a Lotus vs Lotus battle on next year’s Formula 1 grid and in the courts? Group Lotus CEO Dany Bahar shed some light on the matter at a media lunch in London.

Apparently, there were such moves, but the other side made it too difficult, and too costly for Group Lotus. “A question that has come up many times was why did you not find an amicable solution with Tony Fernandes? Well we tried,” he said.

“Let me just say when the counter proposals are so ridiculous and absurd, it makes no sense to continue these discussions. And if you can go with a top five team that is maybe one third of the cost that was asked by the other side, then that makes sense.

“We do not have the financial resources, and we don’t have the time to invest in a newly formed team that really deserves respect. By buying into an existing one which is well financed, which has the right partners in there, it was just the more conservative approach and we just wanted to fight at the top end of the grid. And that should not sound disrespectful to anyone, but we have such an ambitious plan ahead of us, we don’t want to lose time and we want to support the brand out there”.

What were the hurdles? “We were not afraid of partnering with Mr Fernandes, but as I said, there is one way that Lotus does business – and this is getting involved and not just putting the logo on the car. We need to be involved in the management. We need to take decisions together. We need to fund it together as well, which is fine, but it cannot just be that we are seen as a sponsor, we pay the cheque and everything else is run by someone else. That is something that we will never do. And even if it is a public perception, it will never happen,” Bahar clarified.

On the many arrows that are flying his way, the ex-Ferrari employee said: “Although the public perception is I am the bad guy and I am doing everything I can to sabotage them, this is complete nonsense. You cannot imagine that Dany Bahar can influence prime ministers, the board of Lotus, the board of Proton, the shareholders. There are so many people involved and it would not make sense!”