The Lotus Cars company has followed the Brabham family in distancing itself and threatening legal action against a proposed formula one team bearing its name. It emerged last week that 'Team Lotus' could return to the grid next year in the form of British F3 team Litespeed, who said they were granted permission to use the name from rights holder David Hunt.

Hunt, who bought Team Lotus from the bankrupt outfit at the end of 1994, is the brother of the 1976 world champion James Hunt. However, Lotus Cars Limited, the ongoing sports car maker that is based on the company founded by Colin Chapman in 1952, clarified on Wednesday that it is in no way associated with the prospective 2010 team.

"Group Lotus plc will take all necessary steps to protect its name, reputation and brand image," it said in a statement.

There was more bad news for a 2010 F1 hopeful on Wednesday, when it was rumoured that Superfund, the Austrian investment company, may have been struck off the FIA's list due to the emergence of an unpaid debt relating to motor racing of nearly €4 million.