There is no love lost between me and Malaysia – I left that stupid country ages ago for a lot of reasons, albeit, to the detriment of my ability to be close to family (who are not stupid). And it seems that select folks in that country – not everyone, just a distinguished few – take every available opportunity to further affirm my decision to get the fuck out of Dodge. How that peninsular hasn’t crumbled into the South China Sea under the weight of all the stupidity from these people is beyond me.

Right near the top of this list are the people behind arguably the most loathsome F1 team in recent memory, Team Lotus. The team are an idea born out of egomaniacal greed and an unbridled exhibition of ill-educated thinking. A group led by some Malaysian cut-rate airline boss who decided that he needed have his ego stroked at every turn so what better way than to blow a ton of cash on a multi-million dollar grand prix team. This is how cut-rate this whole operation is: the entire aesthetic of the brand is ripped-off from Virgin. Everything. But props where props are due – this asshole was crafty enough to negotiate a license to the Lotus name from Lotus Cars. While it chapped my ass to no end that some bullshit team had now sullied what I consider the good name of Lotus, it was what it was, and the damage was done. Lotus were being represented in F1 by some cut-rate team (to go with the cut-rate airline) who had absolutely nothing to do with Colin Chapman’s legacy. Team Lotus, the F1 team, haven’t produced a single road-going car despite their namesake, they have contributed fuck-all – technology or otherwise – to the famed Lotus car company. They have NOTHING to do with the real Lotus – Lotus is a name slapped on a registration form filed in Knightsbridge to allow this stupid team to put two extremely shitty cars on the F1 grid every fortnight.

But the straw that broke the camel’s back came this week when the Lotus F1 team bought Caterham cars. Here’s a breakdown of the clusterfuck.

  • The late great genius Colin Chapman started Lotus Cars in 1952, and proceeded take part in F1 with his Lotus racing team in 1958
  • The Lotus Car company as we know it today are owned by the Malaysian car company, Proton, which bought it in 1996
  • In 2010, Air Asia bought an F1 team and entered the competition. They licensed the Lotus name from Proton, raced under the name “Lotus Racing”, and used Lotus’ historic green-and-yellow livery. Beyond that, the F1 team have nothing to do with Lotus. The team race with Renault engines. Renault are also competing in F1.
  • For 2011, the Lotus Car company decided that they’re done being spectators and want back into F1. But instead of going all-in with the Air Asia F1 team (Lotus Racing), they decided to buy into the Renault F1 team instead. The Renault team are renamed Lotus Renault GP. Thankfully, they don’t run the green-and-yellow livery also; instead they use the black-and-gold livery based on the John Player Special tobacco sponsorship from the ’80s. Are you fucked in the head yet? They’ve opted to paint their cars the color of a now-defunct former sponsor in the sponsorship category (tobacco) that is now banned from the sport.
  • In April 2011, Team Lotus F1 (the Air Asia-backed race team) bought Caterham Cars. Caterham’s flagship car, the Caterham Seven, started life as the Lotus Seven in the late-’50s, designed and built by Colin Chapman. That’s right, it was a Lotus. Which eventually got sold off to Caterham in the ’70s. And now this fake-Lotus F1 team have bought a not-quite-Lotus carmaker in a desperate bid for racing legitimacy.

Are you tracking this colossal clusterfuck of stupidity? Are you sufficiently fucked off yet? I know I am. Two Lotus racing teams in F1. Both running Renault engines. Two fuckwit companies engaged in the pettiest of transactions over a stupid name. Both teams are dragging each other to court over the Lotus name. There’s no doubt that the Air Asia assholes are banking on losing their case – so if they can’t use the Lotus name, they’re banking on being able to use the Caterham name in F1. What a fucking joke. A joke that can be traced all the way back to Malaysia on both sides.

Lotus was a brilliant brand, built up by an engineering genius and at some point, it actually stood for something good and wonderful and inspiring. Now, it’s a fucking punchline thanks to two Malaysian companies, who have pulverized it to dog shit. Dog shit laughs at the Lotus name in F1.

I weep for Colin Chapman. The man was decades ahead of his time, and he proved to be one of the single-greatest innovators in past 100 years. He built a remarkable marque and he built brilliant cars – both on the road and on the race track – to back it up. And this is what his legacy has been reduced to. Fucking hell. Sorry, Colin.