3 Teams are applying for name changes this Thursday at the F1 Commision meeting in Geneva. The board is made up of representatives from the circuits, suppliers (EG Pirelli), each of the 12 teams, commerical rights holders and the FIA. To succeed they will need the approval of 18 out of the 26 seats at the meeting.
There is precendent with Brawn being allowed to change their name and keep the historical benefits. Teams can change their name on their own but will be treated as a new entity and lose the historical benefits which in the case of Renault is thorught to be around as much as 60 million euros.
Team Lotus wish to change their chassis name from Lotus to Caterham as they have settled with Group Lotus in Malaysia. This in theory should be the easiest as they have little connection to Lotus now and having two teams called Lotus and despite some grumblings from asia Caterham is a strong brand despite having no involvement in F1 previously. It also has a nice synergy as Caterham was created by ex-Lotus employees and made many older Lotus cars as kit cars.
The Renault team are applying to change their chassis to Lotus, this is likely to be slightly more problamatic. They will have to convince the commision that they are there for the long haul and it wont be confusing to fans. I also assume there is still quite a bit of bad blood after the whole Lotus vs Lotus thing.
Finally Virgin are applying to have the cars named Marussia as part of the Russian car manufactures increased involvment in the team. Virgin however will remain as the title sponsor of the team and will still have a large amount of branding on the car. We assume the team will be known as “Virgin Marussia” in the same way McLaren are known as “Vodafone McLaren”. It makes more sense for the car manufactuer than the sponsor to have the chassis name.
The real advantage in having the chassis name is that, it is what the car is known as and called on the TV. It is what the team is listed in the standings.
There is no word on whether HRT will want to change their name but thats entirely possible considering they are now under new ownership.
Finally its interesting that if these changes go ahead there will be 5 car manufactuers of various sizes on the grid next year: Ferrari, Mercedes, Lotus, Caterham and Marussia.