Troubling signs of financial weakness are emerging from Lotus.
The authoritative German website motorsport-total.com reports that, although in the hunt for the 2013 title, the Genii-owned outfit is “struggling to survive” under EUR 120 million in debt. For example, although Kimi Raikkonen is second only to Sebastian Vettel in the chase for the drivers’ championship, development of the 2013 car is apparently all but over.
Asked also about rumours of ‘money problems’, leading Lotus engineer Alan Permane admitted to Auto Motor und Sport: “We have not much more in the pipeline for 2013. “What was planned has already been developed and will be used in the corresponding race,” he added. It is a worrying sign for a team fighting for a world championship, and pushing to keep lead driver Raikkonen on the books for 2013.
Indeed, amid rumours Red Bull and Ferrari are bidding to sign the Finn for 2014, Raikkonen admitted mere days ago that he is still waiting to be paid. “This happened last year, now again so it is not ideal,” said the 33-year-old. Lotus owner Genii announced in June that a consortium called Infinity Racing has bought 65 per cent of the Enstone based team.
But reports soon followed that the deal is not actually done, with the subsequent delay having left Lotus – and Raikkonen – waiting for the money. “We are going to reorganise the financial process of the company,” team boss Eric Boullier is quoted by the Finnish broadcaster MTV3. “We are expecting a large financial investment, which is part of the team’s future plans. “There may be some delays, but it will be repaired within a few days. It is part of the discussions and we will give Kimi all the answers,” said the Frenchman.
Boullier said he is hopeful the money issue will not cause Raikkonen to jump ship. Asked how close a deal is, he insisted: “We are not very far from it. “The package that ensures the future of the company is completed slowly, but we’ll get there. “He will get all the answers and be able to take a decision within a few weeks.”
Info: GMM, Image: Lotus F1 Team