Investors confident of Lotus deal
The man behind the consortium seeking to invest in Lotus is adamant the long-awaited deal will be concluded this week.
Lotus have been in talks with frontman Mansoor Ijaz since May, but six months on are still awaiting delivery of the money for a 35 per cent stake in the team.
The consortium comprises members of Far Eastern royals and Middle Eastern families, with the primary investor being a major oil and gas conglomerate in Abu Dhabi.
That particular investor chose to pay in the form of treasury bonds rather than cash due to it apparently being an easier process, only for major issues to arise which have resulted in delay after delay.
It would appear the hurdles have finally been overcome, although the proof of the pudding will be when the finances finally land in the bank account of current owners Genii Capital.
Ijaz, a trained nuclear physicist but who has worked in investment for the last 27 years, said: “We believe sometime this coming week this whole process will be completed.
“It has been real hell to get it done, but to be clear, the money exists, and our desire to conclude the transaction is without any doubt, so there is no possibility this deal will not happen.
“Whatever the problems are that have come out of this as a result, we are going to make sure the team is made whole, and by that we will pay significant bonuses to the employees for being late.”
The failure to get the deal done so far has had a spin-off effect, notably being unable to pay Kimi Raikkonen’s wages and his decision to skip the last two grands prix by undergoing back surgery earlier than planned.
Lotus have also been unable to conclude a deal with the replacement for Raikkonen, with Nico Hulkenberg their preferred target, but with Pastor Maldonado waiting in the wings.
For team principal Eric Boullier, the last few months have naturally been very frustrating.
“I hope it will all soon be resolved. I’ve been told it will. I’ve had a promise,” said Boullier.
“So for the team, for Genii, for everybody, it would be great to have this completed.
“It will be a relief and a great reward for the team, a great reward for Genii Capital who believe in our F1 team and have pushed very hard for the last four years.
“Having this completed, money wise we would be safe for more than a couple of years.
“You can then work on a proper strategy to establish the team and make everyone in the team reassured about the future.”