Pagamenti in arrivo…–03/11/2013
Quantum says its Lotus Formula 1 investment deal is done
Lotus’s long-term Formula 1 future received a major boost on Sunday night when investment group Quantum Motorsports said its deal to buy into the team was complete.
After a weekend when questions about Lotus’s financial state emerged following Kimi Raikkonen’s threat to not race because he had not been paid, major progress was made in the much heralded agreement.
Mansoor Ijaz, who is the head of the Quantum Motorsports consortium that includes Middle East investors, said that his company had now completed its side of the contract and just needed final approval from team owner Genii Capital.
"There is no question that the deal is definitely happening," he said, when asked by AUTOSPORT about the latest situation.
"I will even go out as far as to say that it has now been completed from our side in terms of what has to be done."
Quantum plans to buy a 35 per cent stake in the team through new shares issued by majority owner Genii.
There are also options for it to potentially take over the entire running of the team in the future, should Genii wish to scale down its involvement.
"We have options – I won’t go into the details of those options – but the options do allow us in a fixed amount of time to take control of the team later on," Ijaz added. "We will do that in a way that is very co-ordinated with our partners at Genii."
APOLOGY TO RAIKKONEN
Ijaz revealed that the major investment deal will allow Lotus to pay off its debts, pay off suppliers – and also settle its pay dispute with Raikkonen.
As AUTOSPORT revealed earlier, Raikkonen has now reached a deal with Lotus to sort out his issues and will now race in the final two grands prix of the 2013 season.
Ijaz said he was sorry for allowing the matter to get so out of hand after meeting with Raikkonen’s manager Steve Robertson on Saturday night.
"We have apologised to Kimi," he said. "We intend to not only make sure that they are made whole, and then some, but we are intending also to compensate our employees and management team for having taken it on the chin from you guys [the media] in recent weeks."
Lotus has not yet officially confirmed the completion of the Quantum deal, but team principal Eric Boullier said on Sunday that he hoped an announcement could be made in the next 48 hours.
"I will not comment on this yet," he said. "I can’t say anything yet. I think by Tuesday. I certainly hope so."
Kimi Raikkonen to see out 2013 F1 season with Lotus as row settled
Kimi Raikkonen has reached a provisional agreement with Lotus to settle his pay dispute, AUTOSPORT can reveal, which should ensure he completes the 2013 Formula 1 season with the team.
Following a weekend of intense negotiations between the Finn’s management and Lotus owner Gerard Lopez, sources have confirmed that a skeleton deal has been put in place that resolves their issues.
Although Raikkonen had been persuaded to race in Abu Dhabi after threatening to not do so, he and his management team made it emphatically clear that he would not continue for the United States and Brazil races if matters were not sorted.
Speaking on Friday, when he revealed he had not been paid at all during 2013, Raikkonen has said: "I enjoy racing, I enjoy driving – but a big part of it is business. Sometimes when that is not dealt with like it should we end up in an unfortunate situation.
"You have to put the line somewhere, and if it goes over that… it is not really my fault any more."
That threat, and the possibility of there even being court action if Lotus was not willing to concede some ground, proved a catalyst for the situation to be sorted.
AUTOSPORT understands that on Sunday morning, following more than two days of talks, Lopez and Raikkonen’s manager Steve Robertson laid out a framework for moving forward that both parties are happy with.
As long as the deal is formally signed off by lawyers, and Lotus sticks to the points of the agreement laid out, then Raikkonen will compete in the final two races of the campaign.
Raikkonen’s presence will be valuable to the team as it is locked in a big battle with Mercedes and Ferrari for second place in the constructors’ championship.
The Finn had a nightmare weekend in Abu Dhabi, starting last after his car failed a post-qualifying floor deflection test and then retiring on the first lap.