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Lotus future in doubt?

2014-01-16 08:33

LOTUS F1: Lotus has played down claims that it is on the verge of collapse and says everything is fine. Image: AP

LONDON, England - Lotus Forrmula 1 team owner Gerard Lopez has rubbished claims that the UK-based outfit is on the verge of collapse.

When the International Automobile Federation issued the official 2014 entry list recently Lotus' place was marked with a conspicuous asterisk, fuelling rumours of financial doom.

Speaking to Germany's Auto Motor and Sport on Jan 15 2014 Lopez said: "We just had the wrong team name on the list, the one from two years ago, I can assure you - everything is still the same."

Despite the reassurance, however, many wonder if the now terminally delayed 'Quantum' buy-in has derailed Lotus, which has turned to the lucratively-backed Venezuelan Pastor Maldonado to replace unpaid Kimi Raikkonen.


Lopez said Raikkonen had now been "partly paid" and he would get the rest but Lotus was also sitting out the forthcoming Jerez test at which every other team was expected to put the new V6 single-seaters through their paces for the first time. As on the entry list, Lotus' absence will be conspicuous.

Lopez said: "We are very satisfied with the development of our car, which will perhaps look a bit different to the others. We believe it is better to use the next few weeks in the wind tunnel, which will give us more than one test on the track."

He insists that missing Jerez would not give Lotus' rivals a head start when it came to understanding the new turbo "power unit".

Lopez said: "Red Bull, Toro Rosso and Caterham are testing (the Renault engine) and its findings will also benefit us; any changes Renault makes before the Bahrain test will also be in our car. The first real test will be in Bahrain - before that, we can find more lap time in the factory."

Reports claim that neither Lotus nor Renault ever officially announced a new deal for 2014. Does the team even have an engine for 2014?

Lopez said: "We have the Renault engine but Lotus is not just a customer of Renault. Our engineers have, for example, helped develop the kers so we've tried to agree that it is more than just an engine deal which has delayed the negotiations."

Lopez admitted of the now terminated Quantum deal: "The money never arrived, we cancelled it. For 2014, our budget is complete with our new sponsor PDVSA."
Read more on:    kimi raikkonen  |  london  |  f1  |  lotus

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