Whilst the hardy Lotus team twitter crew hosted a Q&A with Pastor Maldonado yesterday, the rest of the boys and girls in black and gold sat around wondering whether the team freight would be delivered – AGAIN. For some reason it did not arrive with the others despite the fact it is all shipped by FOM on behalf of the F1 teams.
Of course this is not a first for Lotus, who have struggled all year with paying creditors and have seen their cars impounded by bailiffs on at least one occasion. Yet, the team is now up and running as confirmed by the lotus twitter handle.
The owners of Lotus F1 are hoping to complete the sale of the team to Renault, though the timing of this event is uncertain given recent comments from Renault F1’s CEO. “Some announcement MAY be made in Abu Dhabi or MAY be made AFTER Abu Dhabi or even BEFORE Abu Dhabi”, Cyril Abiteboul revealed. “That is the sort of timing we are talking about. It could be shortly before or slightly after”.
The Enstone team’s owners representative, Gerard Lopez added, “I understand that Renault still have some things which they need to clear with Formula One and FOM (Formula One Management), but as far as we are concerned we are pretty much at a deal now.” That said, Lopez has a history of gullibility, having been repeatedly informed for several months by fake Lotus F1 investor Mansoor Ijaz that ‘the cheque was in the post’.
There is however an element of doubt as to whether the deal will finally be done, given comments made by Lotus’ CEO Matthew. “We have two options for an engine next year: either we go with Mercedes or Renault. We are progressing along that route. We’ve got two designs for next year’s car and we are pushing forward with both options.” The regulations as they stand prohibit any F1 power unit manufacturer from supplying more than four teams, and the recent announcements by Manor F1 mean Mercedes stable is fully loaded.
It could be that Manor F1’s Mercedes deal is contingent on Lotus not requiring a Mercedes power unit, although Mercedes did state they were unable to supply Red Bull Racing with an engine partly due to manufacturing capacity being reached.
So the fans of Enstone wait with baited breath for their saviour on a white charger form France to ride into town. Maybe it will be today, or maybe over the weekend, or maybe next week sometime – or maybe never. The image of a sport in crisis is never far from those at the forefront of Formula One.