Fates of Lotus, Renault and Red Bull in the balance
Sep.18 (GMM) For three very different reasons, the fates of three F1 competitors are currently hanging in the balance.
For Lotus, the big problem is money, as lawyers for the Enstone team on Friday again faced the threat of administration in the London high court over an unpaid tax bill.
While the black and gold cars were sparkling under the Singapore lights, Lotus got another stay of execution closer to home, with the London judge again adjourning the case, this time until the day after next Sunday’s Japanese grand prix.
“It is to be regarded as a final adjournment,” the judge declared ominously.
Lotus reportedly argued successfully that it should get another delay because buyout talks with Renault are still taking place.
Those talks are dragging on because Renault is still negotiating with Bernie Ecclestone about whether extra official income will help to pay for the deal.
At the same time, that delay is also frustrating Red Bull, who behind the scenes have already told Renault that they do not want to be powered by a French-made ‘power unit’ beyond 2015.
The problem is that Red Bull wants one of the best engines on the grid, but Mercedes and Ferrari are not playing ball.
Mercedes, it seems, is simply refusing to do a deal.
Outspoken Red Bull official Dr Helmut Marko said in Singapore that Ferrari is at least offering something.
“Mr (Sergio) Marchionne is a fighter. He dares to win against us,” he told Auto Motor und Sport.
It is a clear jibe at Mercedes, who while apparently unwilling to work with Red Bull are reportedly close to doing a deal with backmarker Manor.
“One has nothing to do with the other,” said Mercedes’ Toto Wolff. “From Manor there was a request for help, and if we can help a small team, we will.”
Manor, however, is already using an older Ferrari unit, and will probably be prepared to also take a ‘B’ Mercedes.
But Marko said that would not be good enough for Red Bull.
“We do not take B-spec engines. In that case we would be gone,” he warned.
Some believe Red Bull, also with a second team in Toro Rosso, would have no one to blame, with one insider likening terminating the Renault deal without lining up an alternative as like “cycling at night without a light”.
04/09/2015 Grosjean not treating Monza as last Lotus race Sep.4 (GMM) Romain Grosjean has not denied paddock speculation that, if the Renault deal now falls through, Monza could be Lotus' final appearance at a grand prix. On the one hand, the […]
01/09/2015 Ecclestone paid Lotus staff wages – report Sep.1 (GMM) Bernie Ecclestone reportedly paid the wages of embattled Lotus' 400 staff in August. The news, revealed by Britain's Times newspaper, comes after the Enstone team's equipment […]
08/09/2015 Renault helped Lotus survive tax hearing Sep.8 (GMM) Renault helped Lotus to survive a crucial court date on Monday, as the two sides continue to drive towards a team buyout deal. Financially-crippled Lotus headed straight from […]
25/08/2015 Lotus stuck at Spa as Renault decision still looms Aug.25 (GMM) For embattled Lotus, time may be running out just as Renault enters a further period of delay in its decision about the future. According to various media sources including […]
08/02/2019 Haas sponsor slams F1 conspiracy theorists Feb.8 (GMM) Haas' new title sponsor has dismissed as conspiracy theorists those who wonder about the credibility of the Rich Energy brand.
The American team's new black and gold car is […]
24/08/2015 Force India enters frame for Renault deal Aug.24 (GMM) Force India has joined in the running to become Renault's works team, it emerged after the Belgian grand prix on Sunday. The news is surprising, following earlier reports […]
18/12/2015 Carmen Jorda ‘excited’ about future with Renault Dec.18 (GMM) Carmen Jorda sounds confident she will remain with Enstone as the current Lotus team transitions to Renault ownership over the winter. Often controversially, the 27-year-old […]
27/08/2015 Lotus cars finally leave Belgium Aug.27 (GMM) Four days after the Belgian grand prix, Lotus and its black and gold cars have finally left Spa-Francorchamps. All of the Enstone team's transporters and race equipment had […]