ART-Lotus GP2 linkup… what?

Last night I read and re-read the press release from Lotus announcing their partnership with ART Grand Prix, where the F1 team will provide “technical and engineering support”.

Had I read this 2 days ago, I would have thought it was an interesting deal, that no doubt strengthens the Lotus position in the junior categories they race in and gives ART a direct window upwards to the F1 heavens.  Yet after announcing Team Air Asia (basically Lotus Junior Team) as part of the 2011-2013 GP2 grid, I must confess the news baffle me.   Yes, Lotus has “history” and ART is the best team in GP2, but this?

Frèdèric Vasseur’s comments are the most confusing of all: “It is a fantastic opportunity for ART Grand Prix to be working with Lotus. The goal is clear: winning together the future GP2 and GP3 championships. I can’t wait to see the new livery of our racing cars.”….. What??

No matter which angle I try to understand, the story makes little or no sense.  First, why would ART link-up with a competitor in GP2, and maybe in a near future, GP3?  Second, why would the GP2 Series grant entry to a team that has a partnership with a current grid member?

All I can think of is we are starting to see a Red Bull-Toro Rosso type situation here, much like we sometimes saw in F3000 many years ago.  Lotus and Tony Fernandes pressured/insisted to get into GP2 to complement their junior driver program, so the ART deal seems either unnecessary at this point or just plain confusing.  Lotus will effectively “have” 2 junior teams in GP2 now.

The questions that remain are:

1. Is Lotus/Fernandes investing in ART? – seems unlikely since ART just got cash from both Crown Prince Shaikh Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa and Brazilian firm Aethra

2. Is ART (Vasseur/Todt) investing in Lotus? – hmmmm… maybe that is it?

I will keep looking into it and keep posting….

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6 Responses to ART-Lotus GP2 linkup… what?

  1. Hi was surprised too and for me makes no sense, maybe you can get some inside info to share with us! 😛

  2. i can t also understand this
    why would art , possibily the best gp2 and junior formulas team , would join forces with lotus a team that as aleady one team in gp2?

    very strange

  3. Felipe P says:

    The ART link is with Lotus Cars, not with Lotus F1 Team. Tony Fernandes only has the name Lotus F1 Team. It will be confusing, argh.

  4. LaPringle says:

    Curious connection… Can it have to do with Lotus Group having a wind tunnel and ART maybe wanting to kick-start their F1 plans again? Just a thought..

  5. Henrik says:

    Umm, we are talking about different entities. Lotus Racing/Team Lotus vs Group Lotus/Lotus Cars. Lotus Cars, which supports ART, has nothing to do with Fernandes and his F1 effort. It is a weird situation, where two brands with the same name actually start competing against each other in the motor racing scene. I guess Lotus Cars is a bit disappointed of the fact that Fernandes came to an idea to resurrect the famous brand, so that they were left out of it, so Lotus Cars is trying to counterattack.

  6. Karim says:

    Because this is not Tony Fernandes but Proton (Lotus cars owner) who joins forces with ART.

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