High Noon at the KL Corral

You could see it coming. Tony’s been complaining a long time about interference from some Malaysian ex-Prime Minister and I don’t think his independent stance went down well in Kuala Lumpur.

Add to this that he’s once again shown the power of the Lotus brand, having built the only decent team among this season’s rookies in barely a year’s time, and you can just wait for the Malaysian vultures to swoop in. Poor chap was operating on a licence from Protus Group so they thought they had him on a string. Is it a failure? Drop it like a brick. Is it a success? Finders keepers, then.

But Tony’s just a little bit cleverer than that. Old Colin Chapman left more than one bit of Lotus behind, and the Malaysians were either too arrogant, too dumb, or too cack-handed to pick up the other remains as well.

Fernandes: "My Lotus is bigger than yours"

So that’s what Tony did: picked up Team Lotus Ventures. Kitted out one of his Air Asia planes in Team Lotus colours to hammer the point home.

Tony said it took exactly five days for Mahathir’s boys to strike back. Not too subtly, either – they immediately revoked his licence on account of crappy T-shirt designs, and claimed theirs was the only legitimate Lotus.

That last bit remains to be seen, of course. But I’m already sitting back to watch the pissing contest unfold. I can hear Ennio Morricone’s music in the background, building up suspense. I’m rooting for Tony, of course. That lad warms the cockles of my entrepreneurial heart.

And besides, I always love a good fight.

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