Lotus F1 Team owner Gerard Lopez has spoken out about the team’s financial uncertainty following many months of reports and speculation regarding the future of the Enstone-based outfit, revealing that the deal with Quantum Motorsport was cancelled as the money “never arrived”.
Quantum, a consortium headed up by Mansoor Ijaz, was poised to ease the team’s financial uncertainty with a sizeable investment that promised to pay the money owed to Kimi Raikkonen and secure the services of Nico Hulkenberg for 2014. Ijaz appeared in Austin and said that the deal was poised to be completed, but the team confirmed at the end of the year that Pastor Maldonado had been signed for 2014, along with his large amount of backing from Venezuela. With this, Lopez has said that the budget for Lotus in 2014 is in place.
“The Quantum money never arrived,” Lopez told AMUS. “We have now cancelled the deal. 2014 is complete with our new sponsor PDVSA’s budget. We will not make any new debt.”
In a wide-ranging interview about the future of the team, Lopez also confirmed that Kimi Raikkonen had received some of the money that he was owed. The Finn publicly criticised the team at the end of last season after it was revealed that he had not been paid, and even threatened to walk away before the end of the year. Eventually, he did miss the final two races in order to undergo back surgery, but Lopez has confirmed that Raikkonen has been given some of what he is due.
“He got part of his salary, and he will get the rest,” he said.
The fact that Lotus’ future is secure and the team will be racing in 2014 will cause many a sigh of relief in the Formula One world. Having experienced many ups and downs over the past ten years, the Enstone-based outfit will be hoping that 2014 will mark a new era for the team led by the hugely impressive Romain Grosjean. However, it is likely that the rumour mill will continue to function until the E22 is lined up on the grid in Melbourne on March 16th.
Image courtesy of Octane Photographic.