Lotus Chairman Gerard Lopez says the team have broken off talks with Quantum
Sponsorship money from Maldonado has given them a budget
By Mike Wise. Last Updated: 16/01/14 4:43pm
Gerard Lopez: Says Lotus future is secure
Lotus owner Gerard Lopez has played down fears about their financial future and also confirmed that attempts by Quantum Motorsport to take a stake in the team have failed.
Speaking to Germany's Auto Motor und Sport, Lopez revealed that Lotus had amassed a total of £114million in debt last year, of which around £80million was owed to Lopez's company Genii Capital.
That money has been accounted for as "marketing expenses" with the Enstone team now relying on backing provided by Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA, which sponsors new recruit Pastor Maldonado.
Concerns about Lotus's future have heightened in recent weeks, with the team announcing their intention to miss the first pre-season test at Jerez. Their official entry was also 'subject to confirmation' when announced by the FIA last week.
According to Lopez, however, "nothing has changed. We'll be there. We have a full budget for 2014 with our new sponsor PDVSA, We won't run up any more debts".
Talks with Quantum Motorsport started in June last year and although the Middle East private investment group had hoped to take a 35 per cent stake in the team - Mansoor Ijazz, Quantum's head, even went public to nominate his preferred driver line-up - Lopez admitted that they had broken down irreparably.
"The Quantum money never arrived. We broke things off with them," he said.
Lotus's cashflow concerns meant that, as well as suppliers, they struggled to pay star driver Kimi Raikkonen, who subsequently departed for Ferrari.
Lopez added, however, that, "he's got part of his salary and he'll get the rest too."
The Sky Sports F1 Online team will be providing live commentary of all three winter tests, starting in Jerez on Tuesday January 28, with live updates from trackside also on Sky Sports News.