The Lotus F1 team has fallen on some hard times. Majority-owned by investment firm Genii Capital and having little to do with the British automaker with which it shares its name, the Enstone-based outfit has been widely reported to be in serious financial trouble. The extent of those difficulties were until now unknown, but a new report from Germany's Auto Motor und Sport reveals that the team is in the red to the tune of £114 million – equivalent to $186 million at today's conversion rates.

The lack in cashflow is widely believed to have been the impetus for Kimi Raikkonen's departure from the team in order to return to cash-rich Ferrari, and was one of the major factors in selecting Pastor Maldonado to replace him instead of a more proven and accomplished driver of Raikkonen's caliber. Maldonado brings with him major sponsorship funds from Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA. In speaking with the German publication, however, Lotus F1 chairman (and Genii co-founder) Gerald Lopez revealed that the lion's share of the team's debt – £80 million or $130 million – is with Genii Capital itself, a negative balance that isn't likely to affect the team's day to day. That leaves about $56 million which the team owes to outside parties, including Raikkonen, who has yet to receive the full pay he was contracted for.

The team has opted to sit out the first test session of the Formula One season at Jerez. Its 2014 chassis isn't ready and, given the relatively cold temperatures at this point in the year, the team wouldn't expect to learn much about tire performance and degradation. As far as the new engine goes, Lopez says that any knowledge gleaned by Red Bull, Toro Rosso and Caterham at the test session will ultimately be shared with Renault and through it back to Lotus as well. Lotus engineers helped develop the new KERS system with Renault regardless, so the team already has the energy-recovery data it needs. The team will instead prepare for the second test session in Bahrain, by which point it aims to have its new car ready to kick off the season. Lopez says that it has secured the funding to offset its costs for the season ahead, and that it is working to pay down its debt.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 9 Comments
      GasMan
      • 11 Months Ago
      Modern F1 finances are such that you cannot make money running a team, even a good one. It costs over 200 million Euros to design, build, and campaign a two car team. Unless you can sign a mega sponsorship deal you are in trouble. The only top teams that can justify their racing are promoting other businesses that they own (Red Bull drinks, Ferrari and McLaren cars). Lotus is in the strange position of promoting Lotus cars that they have no real affiliation with. They carry the Lotus branding so they can make money on merchandising by playing on the historic Lotus racing heritage. I am sure Genii Capital, the team owners, would gladly remove their own branding for a real sponsor.
        apexmutt
        • 11 Months Ago
        @GasMan
        Wish Renault would pick them back up at this point.
      elijah.rawee
      • 11 Months Ago
      I'm a few hundred dollars in debt from this Christmas if it's any consolation Lotus. J/K All I can say is ... dang.
      no1bondfan
      • 11 Months Ago
      Brother, can you spare 1.86 billion dimes?
      marv.shocker
      • 11 Months Ago
      How do you lose a small fortune in racing? Start with a large one...
        Cayman
        • 11 Months Ago
        @marv.shocker
        FWIW, it's "How do you make a small fortune in racing?"
      Ben Lee
      • 11 Months Ago
      Just get the Genii and Lotus ads off the car and sell the ad space. Those are prime advertising spots. Something doesnt add up
      johnnythemoney
      • 11 Months Ago
      Former third driver Valsecchi didn't receive its pay either, which he declared himself to be basically that of a waitress. This doesn't speak much of the "investment" firm to be honest.