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What GE deal means for Team Lotus

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What GE deal means for Team Lotus
Jun 15, 2011, 5:57 PM

Team Lotus announced yesterday that it has closed a deal with General Electric as a "premium partner" of the F1 team and it's worth taking a closer...

Team Lotus announced yesterday that it has closed a deal with General Electric as a "premium partner" of the F1 team and it's worth taking a closer look at this deal which will put sponsorship money into the team, offer technological support and potentially provide an interesting media platform in the USA and elsewhere.

GE has worked with Team Lotus team principal Tony Fernandes' Air Asia business in the past and this is one of those deals which had been pending, waiting for an outcome in the nine month legal battle with Malaysian government backed Group Lotus.

The judge in that case found recently that Fernandes' company does have the right to compete in F1 as Team Lotus. Fernandes says that more sponsorship deals will follow so that the team "can move up the grid."

The details of the deal are that "GE branding will be seen on the Team Lotus T128 F1 cars and across the team’s entire race and factory structure from the British Grand Prix in July 2011, " according to the Lotus statement.

It adds, "The partnership with GE provides extensive brand and business benefits to both parties, giving GE a high-profile global platform to showcase advanced technologies and providing Team Lotus with leading edge technological, R&D and manufacturing resources that will help accelerate the team’s progress, on and off track."

The importance of GE is not to be underestimated. The world's fourth largest brand, the conglomerate is one of the world's largest companies, operating in such diverse fields as aviation, power generation, medical, finance and entertainment. It owns NBC Universal with Comcast.

Universal is the distributor of the Senna movie and among its TV interests it controls the Tonight Show with Jay Leno and business channel CNBC, which is ironically a partner of Lotus' rival new team Virgin Racing. It is also big in the theme park business.

The access to GE technology will be useful to Team Lotus as will its media platforms, particularly when trying to market the team - and even Caterham cars - in the USA.

Also this week Team Lotus confirmed "a deal with Williams F1 to use one of the Grove based team’s two wind tunnels from September 2011.

"Team Lotus will now be running a two tunnel programme, with the Aerolab facility in Italy working in conjunction with the Williams F1 site in the UK while work continues on the team’s own wind tunnel at Hingham. When that facility is operational all activity will be transferred to the team’s own site."
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