‘Quantum’, the investment group looking to buy 35 per cent of Lotus, has denied once again that the deal is collapsing.
There is no doubt, however, that team owner Gerard Lopez’s patience is running out. “They have very little time,” he told Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport. “Either they fulfil their contractual obligations, or we must draw our conclusions,” added Lopez. The Quantum group is led by Mansour Ijaz, who after playing down speculation in Abu Dhabi recently, has now travelled to Austin with the same message. “There is no question that the deal is going to work out,” he insisted on Saturday.
Ijaz said the hefty flow of cash has been held up by red tape, and promised to apologise for the holdup by paying bonuses out of his own pocket. Lotus, however, cannot afford to simply go on hoping. It is rumoured Pastor Maldonado, with his millions in PDVSA backing in tow, is now definitely headed to Enstone to guarantee the team’s 2014 budget. “I have read that it is being reported in Venezuela that it (the deal) is done,” Lopez said, “but nothing is signed yet. He is a serious candidate for next year. “If other candidates are dropping out it’s because they have signed somewhere else,” he added. “We are taking our time, just as we did with Romain (Grosjean last year),” Lopez explained. “If what actually happened was as it was reported,” he smiled, “he (Grosjean) would now be working in the bank.”
Lopez admitted, however, that Lotus needs to secure its future financially. “I will need a sponsor,” he said. “Whether the money comes with a driver or not, I don’t care — I would also take Fernando Alonso with his sponsor.” He hit out at the press, at Lotus’ rivals and the F1 system in general for a lot of the negative stories about the team’s finances. “Some F1 journalists pretend they work for the Wall Street Journal,” he started. “But many of the these stories are deliberately put around the paddock by people who get more money from the rights holders for the same or a worse job as we do.”
Info: GMM, Image: Lotus