Renault didn't have to pay much to reacquire the Lotus F1 Team from Genii Capital, but it comes saddled with a mountain of debt.
Detractors will tell you that there's little to be applied from Formula One racing to the cars we drive, but what about the cars most of us could only dream of driving? We're talking about supercars from the likes of Ferrari and McLaren – two hugely successful F1 racing teams that have successfully made the transition into building exotic sports cars for the road. And soon there may be one more.
There have been plenty of rumors surrounding the fate of Lotus and its relationship with its longtime parent company, Proton. Some are saying that Dany Bahar has been axed as CEO, that the company is undergoing bankruptcy protection, and that its involvement in Formula One has drawn to a close. Lotus itself is hard at work quashing those rumors – attributing most to the people at Caterham – but among them we have some juicy tidbits of information regarding its arrangement with the Fo
Group Lotus will no longer sponsor Lotus F1, according to Autosport.com. The manufacturer pulled its endorsement shortly after parent company Proton announced the sale of Group Lotus to DRB-Hicom. Additionally, Proton won't purchase 50 percent of the race team as previously agreed.
Formula One driver Adrian Sutil has been convicted of assault in a trial concluded this week in Munich, Germany. The proceeding revolved around a brawl at a night club in Shanghai, where Sutil slashed the throat of Genii Capital CEO Eric Lux, co-owner of the team now known as Lotus, with a champagne flute.
An impending court trial in Germany is shaping up to be the largest parade of Formula One drivers since the 2011 season wrapped up in Brazil this past November. The proceeding pits one Eric Lux (CEO of Genii Capital that owns part of Lotus Renault GP) against Adrian Sutil (a veteran grand prix driver who most recently drove for Force India) over an alleged fight in a Shanghai night club.
Keen followers of automotive news – particularly the financial side of things – may recognize the name Genii Capital. A couple of years ago, the Luxembourg-based investment firm began acquiring an increasingly large stake in the Renault F1 team. Then, in 2010, the company partnered with F1 chief Bernie Ecclestone in a bid to buy Saab. The latter offer was ultimately rejected, but Genii was evidently not deterred.
With his stranglehold on Formula One's commercial rights firmly in place, Bernie Ecclestone is more accustomed to taking money than spending it. But after selling his prized classic car collection a couple of years ago, the F1 supremo teamed up with Luxembourg-based Genii Capital in a bid to take over Saab from General Motors. With precious little time to iron out a solid business case, Ecclestone and Genii lost out to Spyker in the Saab deal, but according to reports, that may not be the end of
To paraphrase the once great weekend update anchor Chevy Chase, "Generalissimo Saab is still dead" and appears likely to stay that way. Bloomberg reports that Spyker is the last bidder standing to pick up the Swedish brand from General Motors, although Genii Capital and partner Bernie Eccelstone apparently haven't given up yet. At this point, according to the news service, Spyker is the only party in active talks with The General as the process of shutting down Saab has already begun. Genii hope
According to a press release quoted in Dow Jones Newswires, Stefan Lofven, head of Swedish trade union IF Metall, the board of Saab has voted today to liquidate the company. Simultaneously, General Motors has announced that it has hired AlixPartners to supervise the "orderly wind-down" of the marque.
Bernie Ecclestone, the long-time Formula One impresario, has confirmed to Bloomberg that he plans to make a play to buy Saab from General Motors. The pitch is evidently part of the bid by Genii Capital that we told you about earlier today. Genii's last-minute pitch may have been the reason why GM decided to postpone a scheduled board meeting today to determine the Swedish brand's fate.
The Renault name will remain on the Formula One grid when the series resumes in 2010 thanks to a deal announced on Wednesday. There had been considerable speculation in recent months that Renault would shut down its F1 effort and follow Honda, BMW and Toyota out the door. These rumors hit a fever pitch after the "Crash-Gate" controversy and the sudden departure of primary sponsor ING.
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