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Posted By: James Allen  |  22 Nov 2013   |  2:03 pm GMT  |  149 comments

The curious situation surrounding the Quantum Group and its investment in Lotus F1 Team has become a little clearer with comments made by its leader Mansoor Ijaz, to our partner site in France, F1i.

Angered by an article the site had written about him not being a serious businessman due to his involvement in a semi-nude women’s wrestling video and the non-appearance of funds in the bank account of Lotus’ owner, Luxembourg based Genii Capital, Ijaz contacted the site to explain the position, explaining away the video and claiming that the money had been transferred, but had not been allowed to pass through to Genii,

“The fact is that Luxembourg isn’t considered as irreproachable by the US banking system, ” he said. ” That explains why we have had to review the operation and structure the financing differently. The money has been sent back to us and we have to make the payments using a different mechanism. That is not the work of a moment.

“We never wanted to communicate the deal in June (when Genii and Lotus announced it), it’s Gerard Lopez (Genii boss) who took that initiative. But our investment is real and you (media) will all look bad with all your insinuations, when the deal is concluded with Lotus.”

The F1 paddock is not sure what to make of Ijaz, whose Quantum fund features money from Brunei among other investors. A Google search of him brings up some surprising past experiences. But that wouldn’t make him unusual in the F1 paddock.

He was at the races in Abu Dhabi and Austin and has, on both occasions, been allowed a platform to speak to media by the Lotus F1 Team management, which is interesting.

Our colleagues at F1i believe that the deal is €120 million for a 35% stake in the Lotus F1 team, which values the business at €400 million. They say that, currently, Lopez and his partner Eric Lux are putting in €8 million per month to fund the team.

It’s certainly the case that the team has lost quite a few staff lately (a number to Caterham in particular) amid rumours that monthly pay checks have not been paid.

Kimi Raikkonen went public that he had not been paid and he has chosen to have back surgery rather than compete in the final two rounds.

Heikki Kovalainen was drafted in for the US and Brazilian GPs and will be hoping for a better run this weekend than in Austin, where he was 15th.

Lotus needs the points in a tight championship battle with Ferrari and Mercedes.

Although Quantum continue to say that Nico Hulkenberg is the name they would like to see in the second Lotus car next season, paddock rumour continues to place him at Force India for 2014. Hulkenberg was considered for the seat for the final two races and could have got the release form from Sauber, as they had admitted earlier in the season that they had not been able to pay him so he was free to moveis something came up.

However Hulkenberg wisely concluded that, with his reputation and standing greatly enhanced by his performances this year, he was on a hiding to nothing going up against an in-form Romain Grosjean in an unfamiliar car for two races, when he could qualify a Sauber in the top five on the grid anyway.

Pastor Maldonado is the likely candidate for the seat; he has left Williams and is ready for the move. However his backers, Venezuelan oil company PDVSA is understood to be asking questions about whether their $30 million will be going towards Lotus’ 2014 racing programme or paying off debts from 2013. Maldonado has been conspicuously making the point this weekend that Sauber remains an attractive alternative.

There is a potential clash with French oil company Total, an existing Lotus partner, but they are believed to be gravitating towards their relationship with Red Bull in any case.

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149 Comments
  1. James says:

    Several reputable F1 forums have done some fabulous investigate work on this subject and shed some light on why Hulkenberg turned down the a Lotus seat for Austin. & Interlagos.

    1. Peter says:

      Could you supply a link to these forums? I am interested in reading what they’ve found.

      Thank You

      1. Wonk123 says:

        http://forums.autosport.com/topic/190761-quantum-the-cheque-is-in-the-post/

        A lot of good info on here, a fair bit of speculation as well. Also, Don’t read this if your name is Joe

    2. Quercus says:

      … And. Go on then, don’t leave it hanging: spill the beans or give us some links.

    3. F458 says:

      I think he said the money would be transferred next week a month ago. Oh wait, I think he just said its going to be transferred this coming week, no he changed his mind and now thinks its going to be transferred the coming week after that……

      1. luqa says:

        “Next week- if Allah wills it” is a standard response from people of Ijaz ethnic and cultural background when they know they cannot deliver.
        When called on it, the response is: “Allah did not will it, it is out of my hands”.
        Given this guy’s previous shenanigans, I’m really surprised anyone in F1 will talk to him.

      2. Steve says:

        Spot on!

      3. pepe-le-pew says:

        Does Lotus have its own wind tunnel

    4. Clarks4WheelDrift says:

      See Hulk chatting to the Force India guys today, think he’s off there, can’t trust the Lotus situation plus they – Lotus, must be needing Pastors cash just to pay the bills!

      Still think Force India should keep Paul di Resta as well if they want the best driver lineup. Again would be a shame if he lost out to a poorer performer who has big money.

      Paul v Hulk was very close in Paul’s rookie year and would be fun to watch again, not as fun as Kimi v Fernando, but a heck of a lot better than Hulk v Guitti.

      Paul di Resta will probably be overtaken by Hulk in the champ at this, the final race. The fact that Paul is still ahead of the super-hyped Nico shows how good he has gone this year, seeing as the Sauber has been better than the Force India for the same amount of races than it wasn’t at the start of the season. In fact the Sauber right now looks better than the Force India ever was this year.

      Also wonder if Dan K has a cracking rookie season in Torro 2014 the he could replace Dan R in the big team for 2015?

      1. Bruno says:

        I agree with what you say about Di Resta, he’s in the same league as Hulkenberg and Grosjean. It’s a shame if he can’t find a drive in F1 next year. (little mistake though : Paul was in his 2nd season when he was teammate with Hulk last year, Paul debuted in 2011 with Sutil as a teammate and Hulkenberg as 3rd driver)

      2. tremur says:

        Paul was up against Sutil in his rookie year IIRC, Hulk was their 3rd driver

        Not sure about your logic re Paul being ahead of Hulk meaning anything. Two different cars, can’t compare them really

        I’m sorry to see Di Resta seeming to fade a bit, I had high hopes for him. Seems like a pretty good driver, but his comments towards the team when they screwed up a bit probably didn’t help his cause up and down the pitlane.

        Team Principles don’t want negative comments about the team obviously

  2. CYeo says:

    “we have to make the payments using a different mechanism.”

    So anyone been seen walking into Lotus’ workshop with bulging pockets full of cash?

    1. Random 79 says:

      No, but interestingly there were five dump trucks parked outside filled with nickels ;)

    2. deancassady says:

      This guy is supposed to be the money man?
      The big bucks investor?
      Be it as it may, with the international banking system, and funds transfer requirements, you’d think the guys getting the big bucks would be well aware of these issues, and be earning their ‘big bucks’ by navigating these issues effectively and efficiently, and seamlessly ON TIME!
      So when you start he hear about this and that ‘difficulties’, ’caused by someone/somebody else’, that’s just because somebody at ‘Quantum’ is not doing their job very well, or… maybe it’s all some kind of ‘talk’.
      Maybe this deal is totally legitimate, but comments like these, sound more like a public relations campaign, like a politician, come to think of it, rather than a competent ‘big bucks’ business man.
      So for now, the credibility continues to drip away on the deal, and Quantum’s ultimately surity.

      1. deancassady says:

        And in the banking business, it would be representative to say that they are ‘obsessed’ with ‘risk mitigation’ these days, more than ever.
        What they do, to ‘mitigate risk’ is create contingency plan, upon contingency plan, all the way through the plan for the realization of the deal.
        In other words, they have back up plans, on top of their back up plans, that would make your head swim, so that these reported activities, as per Mansoor, would never make it to public scrutiny, and the transfer project would be done, within… say 10% timing lag, maximum.
        We are past that, now.
        Airing out the laundry of the difficulty is NOT what ‘financing people’ like to do (normally).

      2. Anne says:

        You say “airing out the laundry” I say money laundry or tax evation or both. Why would they have backing transfer problems if everything is clear? Looking at the explanation given it sound like somenthing is not right with Quantum and how they do business

      3. Clear View says:

        Berni managed to slip 44mil across the boarders of Europe so I should imagine if it’s managed correctly ‘clean’ money can be deposited pretty much anywhere you like if you get the paperwork right!

    3. BRad says:

      What, nobody checked or knew how to properly transfer a massive investment?

      this is a classic sign of a dodgey operator, giving excuses like that reminds me of a nigerian trying to stich up a pensioner.

      F1 attracts some real questionable business deals…….just ask Bernie.

  3. TGS says:

    There is an article on yallaf1 that rips Ijaz to shreds.

    1. Sebee says:

      Why does Ijaz need to be ripped to shreds?

      Let’s say he’s just kicking the tires, or colluding with Lotus to get some other agreement into place we don’t know about. Or that he just wants to hang around the Paddock and be treated like a VIP for a few GPs. Is it against the rules or law?

      If Lotus is desperate and they are allowing it, he’s simply taking advantage of a situation. Also, let’s not forget that Lotus has been somewhat of a black box, and we really don’t know how deep the rabbit hole goes. Nor do I really care to be honest.

      Lotus is the 2014 guise is of no interest to me really. I have no attachment to Grosjean personally as a F1 fan. Kimi is in red. Allison is gone. Kubica is a distant memory. Vettel is elsewhere. So are most of the other interesting F1 personalities. What exactly is there for me to be excited or care about in relation to Lotus? Honestly? If this Ijaz deal is all there is to be excited about…yawn.

      1. Torchwood Five says:

        If Ijaz and Eric Lux have been giving Lotus an 8m euro lifeline each month, consecutively, which isn’t chump change, that would certainly allow me to let him walk around the paddock and talk to media, quite separate from the Quantum deal.

        One should not underestimate the effects of US banking laws on financial companies that are registered in the US. However, I am surprised that there is not some method to transfer money between two or more legitimate (presumably) entities without a completely separate country interfering.

      2. TimW says:

        read the story again, the 8 million a month is coming from Gerard Lopez and Eric Lux. The amount from Ijaz is zero

  4. Il Leone says:

    First thing I did was Google Mansoor Ijaz. That is indeed quite the colourful background, especially the wrestling video!

    On a more serious note, if Hulk gets the seat, then Lotus have shown that they are a proper racing team.

    If Pastor gets it, then Grosjean might want to move on in 2015 because this team will be plunging down the grid fast. They’ve already lost a lot of key personnel so I think 2014 will be make or break.

    1. Spyros says:

      According to this:

      http://grandprix247.com/2013/11/22/have-lotus-done-due-diligence-or-at-least-a-google-search-on-ijaz-mansoor/

      …Mr. Ijaz is basically a plagiarized, even more ‘grand’ version of Del-Boy. BBC should sue him.

  5. Manchesterf1 says:

    Tired of people downplaying that sauber car.

    We need more quality journalist in F1.

      1. Bones says:

        Well I think the same way regarding Sauber. Last year media talked that Perez and his ability to nurse tyres was the big deal and then this year we realized that in reality the CAR was it last year.
        Now Hulk is the main responsible and not Sauber. No matter how much u want to look at Hulk was not great against a mediocre Barrichello.
        So it makes many people to wonder where Sauber would be this season if a proven top driver would be behind that wheel.

      2. deancassady says:

        I don’t know about that.
        Sauber clearly started the year, going the wrong way, or waiting, and waiting for something they thought would materialize, which dudded out.
        Look at the apparent change at Williams; they abandoned the Coanda effect exhaust solution; it looks like Sauber finally went a different way, or got their solution working, and it worked good!

      3. Andrew M says:

        True, Hulk wasn’t great against Barrichello, but that was his rookie season, and he’s looked good every other season he’s raced. He’s looked good for more than one team (FI, Sauber) and has had some stand out performances (pole in Brazil 2010, challenging for the lead at the same circuit last year, strong finishes amongst more experienced drivers both this and last year). He might get exposed in a front running car a la Fisichella, but I think he’s made of sterner stuff, and hope he gets his chance. I fear that if he doesn’t get his chance now, he’ll have missed the boat – he’s 26, and should be coming into his prime in the next few years.

    1. KRB says:

      Who’s downplaying it? Anybody with two eyes can see that they’ve greatly improved that car. But it surely was not a good car at the start of the year, it was frankly awful. I consider it a damning indictment on Gutierrez as to how bad he has fared with the Sauber since they made their step up in performance. Dire with a dire car is one thing; he’s been dire since the car turned decent!

  6. fox says:

    Additional confirmation that Lotus is a temporary venture…

    1. Quercus says:

      I bet it gives Tony Fernandez a wry smile to see the Lotus situation. I wonder if, long term, Caterham could yet change its name once again?

      1. RodgerT says:

        I doubt it. At the time Fernandez was trying to buy Lotus from Proton and bought the rights to Lotus Racing. When he couldn’t get Lotus he did the next best thing and bought Caterham instead and started using that name after losing the law suite.

      2. Philip J Fry says:

        Unlikely due to the fact that Fernandez owns the Caterham road car business.

    2. Spyros says:

      Just think: the Chapman family was once upset, because the Fernandez ‘Lotus’ outfit (currently Caterham) was [mis]using the Lotus name…

      …whereas currently, everything Lotus-related is completely above-board, right?

  7. Michael S says:

    I can’t help but wonder if Boulier does not want Hulkenberg with his client Grosjean? Remember, it is like a Flavio situation with Lotus and Grosjean. The team boss is also his manager and I doubt they want the Hulk coming in and pushing him or even eating him. I could see them run for Maldanado’s money and at the same time have a driver Romain could handle.

    1. Rich C says:

      Wonder if Grosjean is getting paid?

      And if your boss is also your manager, who would you complain to about it?

      All these kind of deals are obvious conflicts of interest and should not be allowed.

      1. Tim says:

        All these kind of deals are obvious conflicts of interest and should not be allowed..

        If Grosjean doesn’t like it, he can always find another manager/team – after all, he is not being forced against his will to race for Lotus.

      2. Spyros says:

        Never mind Grosjean… I wonder if Boulier is getting paid.

      3. Janis says:

        Even if he is not paid, he has a very good car now and can demonstrate his worth.
        And he needs this chance very badly indeed – he hasn’t got a WDC crown to show like Kimi, and don’t have that much of a reputation either. So, he needs these results to up his stock in case he has to move elsewhere.
        Consequently, in his shoes I would not be very vocal either – even if not paid.

  8. Rafael says:

    The deal isn’t closed. Not until the money arrives anyway. In the mean time, I’ll take it that this guy is just around for the publicity.

  9. F1 Kitteh says:

    Doesn’t €120 million for 35% make the whole business worth €342mm not €400mm?

    Anyway how can the equity value of Lotus, a business that loses €100mm pa with reportedly over 100mm in debt, be worth twice the amount of Williams of €167mm, who are at least breakeven and virtually debt free? If it sounds too good to be true………

    1. Brent says:

      Bought it for a dollar, lost a quarter billion and worth 400 million Euro today? It seems to me, in the real world, it is still only worth the dollar or the value of the assets at auction.

      1. Torchwood Five says:

        Try that with a road car, buying it then hoping to re-sell it at the same price you bought it.

        Your item is worth what people or the market will pay for it, not what you believe it should be worth.

    2. Dr T says:

      Have you been watching “Dragon’s Den” too F1 Kitteh?

  10. Glenn says:

    The glamorous face of F1 combined with these back room machinations reminds me of a different circus. Perhaps the unpaid Lotus drivers also have to “clean out the lake at 6 o’clock in the morning and eat a handful of hot gravel”. Luxury!

  11. Soren says:

    The amount of BS flowing effortlessly from the lips of Ijaz is amazing. “The fact is that Luxembourg isn’t considered as irreproachable by the US banking system. That explains why we have had to review the operation and structure the financing differently. The money has been sent back to us and we have to make the payments using a different mechanism.”

    LOL!! I guess if you deliver it with enough gusto and confidence, people will believe it. His past tells that us this approach must have worked well for him.

    There is no money coming to Lotus and there never will be from “Quantum Group”.

    1. Sebee says:

      Agreed. It’s a joke. French are right.

      Excuse is lame for someone apparently awash with money. It’s the type of excuse that Bernie could resolve in under 30 seconds.

      And for the record, I’d be cautious in this purchase myself. We’re vilifying Ijaz, but he’s dealing with some resourceful parties. That is all I will say about that. Chocolate?

    2. Hoarsewhisperer says:

      Indeed. Luxembourg isn’t a problem and the US banking system isn’t (or does not need to be) involved in this transfer.

      The issue is likely one of the following:
      1) He’s full of hot air and there is no money
      2) It comes from business ventures that are frowned upon by western governments and therefore the banks won’t do business with him.

      Either way this does not look good for Lotus

    3. Ian Cade says:

      As a long suffering fan of Portsmouth FC I must admit this all has a very familiar ring to it.

      Plenty of people turned up from improbable backgrounds, promising to take us beyond our ‘wildest dreams’. They had problems getting their initial payments in, thanks to those notoriously rigorous Tax Haven banking regulations. Things progressed like that until they suddenly couldn’t trade on bluster alone where upon we were courted by another suitor.

      3 Bouts of Administration and 3 relegations later we decided to become fan owned.

      If Portsmouth experience is anything to go by Lotus for the 2017 Formula 3 Championship is where the smart money should go.

    4. BlackBear says:

      Spot on! Mansoor Ijaz, who absolutely looks his part: a master [mod], snake-oil salesman and Nigerian Prince ready to send Lotus couple of hundred million (as soon as you send him ten million in cash, small denominations, to his pick-up truck waiting only 3 miles away from Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace). I think Kimi Räikkönen smelled the rat, and so now did Nico Hulkenberg – two great guys saved!

  12. mjsib says:

    In lieu of the shambolic quantum situation I have my own announcement which I would like to share with my fellow JA on F1 fans. I have decided to buy the McLaren F1 team. With my investment due to come from my parents very shortly, I will bring the winning times back. I will bring Ron Dennis out of retirement to run my new team. My investment means our drivers will be Sebastian and Fernando as only the best will do. Adrian will be brought in to design the car so expect us to win everything from now on. Just remember you read it here first

    1. Random 79 says:

      OMG mjsib that’s incredible!

      I wish you the very best of luck with your future endeavors and look forward to seeing Sebastian and Fernando racing each other on track with equal machinery.

      Now remember, if you want to achieve real loyalty and success with Mjsib’s Parent’s McLaren Honda you have to pay your drivers and staff in full and on time :)

    2. ManOnWheels says:

      Sounds absolutely legit! Now shut up and take my money.

      1. Rich C says:

        Yes, yes! Where do I send my share?

  13. C Lin says:

    Interesting comment about Total & Red Bull.
    So do you expect Total to move to Red Bull next season James? How will that affect Grosjean seat at Lotus? With his current form & Boullier as his manager I suppose he will remain in Lotus next year.

    1. James Allen says:

      He’s the form guy, massively improved this year

      Total may stay and work with Lotus, but they are certainly active around Red Bull

      1. dzolve says:

        Total Bull. Sounds like they are made for each other!

      2. Andrew M says:

        Grosjean has been impressive of late, but I think I’d have to argue Vettel is “the form guy” :)

  14. Sri says:

    Shambles is the only word I can use. Why would they want to hoodwink US banking system unless they were doing something illegal? I think the whole deal is fishy. Also the management of Lotus must be a hopeless one for not being able to get any reliable corporate sponsor for over a year.

    1. Rich C says:

      and why the hell would the US banking system give a hoot?
      This is going to turn out to be the F1 version of a Nigerian email scam.

      1. Spyros says:

        Doesn’t this story remind you of the ‘Paris – New York – Peckam’ sign in the sides of the Trotter’s Reliant??

        You know it makes sense…

      2. JCA says:

        Since 9/11 all financial transactions of this size are investigated by several governments and, lets face it, the individual involved has caused the americans quite a lot of diplomatic problems, so there wouldn’t be much incentive to do him any favours! The banks involved are also obliged to investigate the origin of the money involved. Me thinks the real problem is that there is no money to investigate.

  15. Wellbalanced says:

    I for one am impressed enough by Maldonado to feel that he is deserving of a Lotus seat. His win last year, some high grid qualifications, he is certainly no pay driver. In any event, I would have thought that companies willing to put big money behind drivers do so because they rate them, would seem logical.

    I think Hulkenberg more deserving, but would be excited to see what Maldonado could do in a faster car. Though I am slightly worried that this year’s problems, including loss of personnel, will negatively affect next year’s car.

    1. Phil says:

      Pastor would not be in F1 without $30m of annual sponsorship which I think guarantees him as a Pay driver

      1. chris says:

        I think we all need to realise talent alone isnt enough these days. I cant see any driver getting a seat in a mid field or lower unless he brings dosh. Pastor is one of those drivers who is decent enough, but definitely not top draw but has a shed load of cash and now has experience. Therefore he will hang around a bit i feel.

    2. Sebee says:

      Let’s say I agree with you. Do you see the F1 fandom be excited about that?

    3. Ace says:

      How can you be impressed by what he did at spa…. then said that the force India cars caused the crash when it was clearly his fault

      1. Wellbalanced says:

        Maldanado’s reputation was one of a fast driver last year. Now, in a slow car, he is seen as slow. Such lightweight analysis

      2. Random 79 says:

        Bottas is in the same car but his reputation seems to be doing okay.

      3. Janis says:

        He seems to be like several other drivers from Latin America.
        Going very well indeed when they feel happy, loved, and the car is to their liking.
        And falling apart when beaten by team mate, the car is not so good, or some personal problems.
        It’s sad because they often are by nature very fast, great characters, and very likable, but – not the WDC material really, where you need consistency under any conditions.
        And before you say so, yes, there used to be exceptions, but not in the last 20 years :)

    4. Random 79 says:

      Personally I am slightly worried that Maldonado’s driving will negatively affect next year’s car, but that’s just me :)

    5. HerrE says:

      I’d agree with you. But then we’d both be wrong!

    6. Elie says:

      Why would you want to see what he can do in a faster car when he’s beaten by Bottas in a slower car.

      Yes he did well in Spain last year but with that level of backing he could throw caution to the wind and bounce of walls, wings, and all kinds of things ( rhymes) he couldn’t keep doing that forever.

      1. Alex says:

        He only was beaten by Bottas at Austin when the team did everything they could to push the finn forward at the expense of Pastor.

        After 18 races where they have been close to each other with Pastor edging Bottas on race day more often than not, suddenly one is more than 3 seconds slower than the other?.

        [mod]

      2. Elie says:

        Wrong Alex, Bottas beat Pastor at Melbourne, Malaysia, China,Canada, Monaco, Belgium, Korea, USA.

    7. Wellbalanced and Moldanado in the same post – interesting juxtapositin of words. . .

    8. Kirk says:

      Your are right when say that some companies put money in some drivers because they rated high, but that is not this case, because the company in this case is PDVSA which is a Venezuelan government’s company and uses it as marketing mechanism inside the country, so, if he is talented or not it doesn’t matter for PDVSA because they are using the national pride for the marketing campaigns.

  16. Bas says:

    This all sounds a bit like Arrows “sponsor” Prince Malik with his T-Minus brand doesn’t it…?

    1. ManOnWheels says:

      Broker, QADBAK, .. anything else?

  17. Vin S says:

    It’s so obvious that it hurts that F1 Journos are failing to do their part to expose this [mod] run by Lopez & [mod] Izaj! Here’s a Timeline of events:-
    -July, 35% sold to Infinity (bogus company)
    -Used as leverage for unpaid Employees by Boullier.

    -August, Kimi asks certain things to clear, including his 10 Million Performance Bonus owed to him.
    -Boullier says Kimi’s money has been paid (public lie), and that Quantum now is on board. Other Employees have no choice but to believe their lying boss that salary will ‘now’ be paid.

    -September, Money doesn’t exist, Kimi off to Ferrari, says ‘Lotus told him they don’t got his Salary’.
    -Lopez & Boullier attack Kimi as money minded, all the while lying about Quantum coming to dupe their employees & suppliers.

    -October, Lotus fight with Kimi in favour of Grosjean, who has half his points. Claims WCC as reason, but they are only there coz of Kimi as Grosjean is non-existent till then.

    -Kimi exposes Boullier and Lopez as compulsive Liers when he states “they have paid me 0 Euro all year”. Only Racing because Lotus have given him an understanding.

    -Lotus break that understanding, because they were never going to fulfill it in the first place. Claim Quantum deal done.
    -Conman Izaj says the Cheque is n the mail!! Get Hulkenberg (wow the cheek).

    -Hulk & manager meets Kimi at Abu Dhabi… and maybe decided to hold on committing to Lotus as they might be dealing with a Scam.

    -November, Kimi is out of there and possibly won’t see his 17 Million. Hulk rejects Lotus for Austin…
    -Lopez & Izaj still playing the bullcrap game to milk other interested parties like PDVSA/ Telmex with Mal & Per.

    Meanwhile, Lotus Employees and Suppliers are still being taken for a free ride with false Promises!

    -Lopez & Izaj are using stalling Tactics so that the Season is over after Brazil, all the Journos are home… And that’s the time Lopez would unveil what he wants from Lotus. It might not be great, thats for sure.

    1. F1 Kitteh says:

      I’d give Boullier the benefit of the doubt, he’s probably regurgitating the lines from the boss. Afterall, he’s just an Enstone employee I think.

      1. Antti says:

        I agree, Boullier seems to honestly try to balance things and hold the team together, but he doesn’t own the team and is not responsible for the finances. I really feel quite sorry for him, he seems like a nice guy and is presented with an impossible task.

  18. Tim Brailli says:

    So, after months of negotiations with the finest financial minds on the planet, they suddenly find out they cannot transfer money from the US to Luxemburg!!!!!!!!! Yeah yeah yeah

    Ijaz said on Sunday the deal would be done this week so this Luxemburg issue has only cropped up this week??? Any financier / solicitor worth their salt would know this ( if indeed it is a real issue – anyone checking it out?? )

    When I see this type of nonsense excuse in my line of work I become very suspicious and call people out on it immediately.

    Also then, this middle east money is in the US already? Why didn’t it just go direct to Luxemburg? Is the Lotus holding company really based in Luxemburg?

    There will be another excuse, there will be!!

  19. James Clayton says:

    James

    Do you think there’s any chance the Enstone team won’t even make it to the grid next year?

    They apparently have more debt than any single pay driver (or even duo of drivers) could bring to the team… I just don’t see a way forward [if, as we assume, this deal never comes through]

    1. James Allen says:

      You hear all kinds of rumours, but they have a large cheque coming for P3/4 in constructors plus the sponsors they have already, add in Maldonado’s $30 million and you are looking at $120-130 million minimum

      Depends how much debt there is and how they choose to service it.

      1. James says:

        Boullier was quoted a few days ago saying they hoped the Quantum money came as they didn’t want to have to lay people off..

        Add that to Autosport saying Maldonado is now going to Sauber and….

      2. F1 Kitteh says:

        I find it curious that Bernie can certainly advance the money to ease the situation, but didn’t?

      3. Rich C says:

        Bernie didn’t get to be a billionaire by being a sucker.

      4. Mike A. says:

        Bernie only takes!

      5. Vin S says:

        In that case with WCC Money coming in… Do you think Lotus will Pay the Driver that helped earn them that WCC money in the first place?

        It’s worrying that FIA has no protection for Driver Contracts with defaulting teams who are doing it on purpose. Drivers are the face of F1 and FIA & FOM benefit from them.

        Kimi’s contract is performance- based. I wonder if Lotus are low class and not pay the ‘employee’ that got them there. I wouldn’t put anything past Lopez & Boullier.

      6. NC says:

        Do you mean debts to Genni Capital (i.e. Lux and Lopez)?

      7. Spyros says:

        James, could the timing of their FOM cheque have a role in all this..?

  20. Chapor says:

    Since I once had problems paying a supplier in Brazil, the funds had to go through an intermediary bank in the US, and that took nearly two months and a LOT of emails to sort out. And that was not even 10K,I can only imagine what a nightmare 120Million Euro must be like once a payment goes wrong the first time… So what he says makes perfect sense.

    1. chris says:

      I would hope you would have a few dedicated bankers for a 120m transfer, which i doubt you would get for 10k

    2. Elie says:

      That’s rubbish you can send directly to any bank in Brazil as long as they have a correspondent bank that trades globally in Brazil. This intermediary bank business is BS – Always Avoid This ! Sending bank shouldAlways be able to locate a trading bank in Brazil.I have paid suppliers all over the globe for many years and never encountered delays more than a week or two.( and that was only due to incomplete details)
      Besides there are many other ways to settle . This is Just a big [mod]!

      1. Chapor says:

        If you sit in Europe, that may well be the case… I sit in Namibia, a small country barely anyone has ever heard of. We do not have the luxury of being able to avoid intermediary banks. The biggest problem is, if no one makes a mistake, the money is there in a couple of days and everyone is happy. Once a small mistake creeps in, it takes AGES to trace and correct that, since the money is then being held due to some or other anti-money laundering regulations and what have you. I reckon that a mistake like that with 120Million causes all kinds of red flags to be raised…

        But, I am not an expert, I am just speaking from personal experience, but, I am not an expert in these things, therefore, I know nothing, and could be very wrong… :-)

    3. Torchwood Five says:

      Thank you.

      I can’t vocalise situations I am aware of, so I am grateful that someone has come on here to at least point a finger at that aspect of what may still turn out to be “just an excuse”.

  21. Tom Haythornthwaite says:

    I didn’t like the ‘Lotus’ management when they were in the courts against Tony Fernandez. And I like them even less this year.

    1. chris says:

      Its a shame for all the staff living around enstone though as they have been through it in the last few years

    2. Vin S says:

      Karma is coming for Lopez!
      Steve Robertson is gonna take him to task pretty soon over Kimi’s hard-earned, Unpaid £17 Million Salary if they continue to deny a contracted driver his right.

  22. nicolas nogaret says:

    surely the real reason that kimi isn’t driving the last 2 races is so that he won’t finish third in the drivers championship and have to go to the end of season dinner !

  23. Timo says:

    James – unless the money is coming from a person or country that is the subject of economic sanctions imposed by the US Treasury Department (OFAC Sanctions) or money used to fund terrorist activities being laundered through Lotus F1, there is no legal justification for the US to block the investment. So even if Ijaz is able to structure the payment mechanism, no sponsor or supplier in the western world will touch the team with a barge pole.

    I have significant experience dealing with cross border financial transactions that have OFAC sanctions related issues. Feel free to email me if you need a detailed analysis of the issues.

    1. James Allen says:

      Thanks, good intell !

      1. C Lin says:

        The lastest from Boullier is Quantum deal should happen & money expected to be in by next week. Sounds promising again.

      2. Chapor says:

        James, may I suggest that you write an article on this? This would really be interesting to get a better insight on the challenges of such transactions…

    2. Adrian Newey Jnr says:

      Timo raises an interesting point. What reputale Fortune 500 sponsor would want to be associated with a person like Ijaz? Even if nothing shady has occurred, the risk to their reputation, especially when spending millions on sponsorship, is just too big. Perhaps Zac Brown, your sponsorship guru, could be asked this on the next podcast?

  24. Michael says:

    I find it incredible that as successful as Lotus is on the track, they are seemingly under-achievers in attracting sponsorship.

    1. Rich C says:

      I don’t find it incredible at all! Every time they open their mouth it looks like amateur hour.

  25. Maxxus says:

    I would like to see Sauber injected with some serious cash. They have been doing decent last few races, they were able to pay their light bill. Long history in F1…remember when they carried the Red Bull livery?

  26. Gary says:

    So, a business that has negative free cash flow of EUR 8 million per month has an enterprise value of EUR 480 million, according to Mansoor Ijaz, comprised of EUR 400 million of equity and EUR 80 million of net debt. What’s more, that -8 million of negative monthly cash flow is before compensation to their number-one driver (Kimi), and lord knows who else hasn’t been paid.

    This Mansoor Ijaz is a real financial genius.

    1. Random 79 says:

      You’re right, this Mansoor Ijaz is a real financial genius: He hasn’t given them any money yet ;)

      1. Gary says:

        The enterprise value is hardly worth the net financial debt, never mind any equity value. If it’s burning EUR 8 million per month, that’s 96 million per year. And this is without paying Kimi. So if a top driver costs a minimum of 10 million, now we’re at EUR -106 million. Let’s say they clear EUR 50 million from the FOM year end fund; that still leaves an annual deficit of EUR 56 million. And again, that assumes everyone else has been paid in full this season, which I highly doubt.
        And what is the mechanism for “turning around” such a business? More sponsorship money. That’s it, there are few other levers to pull.

        This is why Bernie has cynically noted that he is not worried about the team financials because there is always another (dopey) billionaire looking to pee away his money.

        As an aside, Mansoor Ijaz is no billionaire hedge fund manager. I have worked in the industry (sell side bulge bracket) for twenty years, out of New York, and have never heard of this guy nor his so called fund management company.

      2. Random 79 says:

        I think you might have missed my sarcasm ;)

        This whole deal has sounded dodgy from the start. Personally I agree with some others; this guy’s just looking to get his name in the papers, nothing more.

      3. Tim says:

        because there is always another (dopey) billionaire…

        Is dopiness a common trait amongst billionaires, in your experience? :-)

      4. Gary says:

        Tim: good point, dopey not the right adjective. How about “enthusiastic”

  27. Gary says:

    Note to Mansoor: It would be far cheaper to just buy “Formula 1 Paddock Club” entry to the five races you want to attend each season.

    1. F1 Kitteh says:

      How can “buy” be cheaper than “free”?

      Besides if you buy a pass you’d have to pay now, not next week.

    1. ManOnWheels says:

      May I cite from another article?

      http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2012%5C02%5C18%5Cstory_18-2-2012_pg7_16

      “Mansoor Ijaz ordered to pay $1.4m to bank in fraud case”
      [..]
      “In its filings before the court, BSI Bank of San Marino said that it had opened credit lines in favour of Ijaz and his companies – The Ijaz Group Inc and Aquarius – in 2007 and 2008 and Mansoor Ijaz had pledged shares of his companies as collateral, which later turned out to have no value.”
      [..]
      “The lawyers representing the BSI also said, “Ijaz was the only shareholder, officer and director of Aquarius. Aquarius never entered into any contracts nor did it have any employees. Aquarius never filed tax returns.””
      [..]
      “Ijaz also wrote, “The same investor, due to its close ties with Tata Motors in India, has chosen to invest $10 million in our planned launch of a company to develop the world’s most energy efficient power-trains. Definitive contracts for this deal were signed on February 25, 2008, in Orange County, California.” Once again, revealing a pattern of half-truths and using partial reality, Mansoor Ijaz offered no substantive evidence to the BSI bank of having the investors’ backing.”

      Looks like a little bit of history repeating, doesn’t it?

  28. Elie says:

    James I don’t know how much longer Gerard Lopez and Eric lux will want to continue to put in €8m a month to fund Lotus. Which coincidentally amounts to €200m debt rumoured to have accumulated over the last 2 years. Ijaz seems to be the broker that has failed to bring in the investors and I would suggest ultimate buyers of Lotus.
    Valuation of €400m seems heavily exaggerated and based on the successes that have now walked out the door – Allison ,Raikkonen and a good many engineers also.

    I can’t see GENII writing off all the 200m as advertising as Boullier once claimed. Perhaps Gerard may have to sell his unique car collection to keep his F1 team alive. But unless they find real investors I can’t see how they can stay in the game. I mean even if they get $50m in prize money and get a PDVSA or a Telmex $30m that will be gone before they even unveil the new car & so the cycle continues..I think its crazy that DRB Hicom who own lotus road cars and name don’t support the team- they are surely getting exposure from the deal.

    Perhaps the new drivetrain formula will fit their business plans and come on board or Maybe the legal battle with Caterham has caused this.

    Finally Is there any update on Lotus dropping the name – because as I understand they are paying good money for this !- when in it should be the other way round ! ?

    1. Rich C says:

      Or maybe Fernandez could buy them, cheap?

    2. Zergut says:

      Would be EPIC to see Fernandez buy Lotus F1 for a song!!

      Proton who is now owned by DRB-Hicom loaned Genii $30mil Pounds, for that they maintain all advertising, logo and merchandise rights of Lotus F1 until 2017 I believe. Not to mention if Genii default they 100% get all assets of Enstone, buildings, computers, classic race cars, everything.

      So why sponsor them when you get to use the name for years and get paid interest for much less money.

  29. Spyros says:

    I see. So it won’t happen, then.

    I just can’t believe that a serious businessman allows himself to have an outburst like that, when so much money is (supposedly) at stake.

  30. Brian says:

    I’m sorry but… this is an investment deal that (allegedly) has been prepared for many months. And now they say they discovered a problem with transferring the funds??? That leaves two possibilities: 1) Everybody involved doesn’t have the slightest clue about investments or 2)Is a scam. Your choice :-)

    1. BlackBear says:

      #2 SCAM – big time! The bleeding obvious.

  31. Nic Maennling says:

    F1 and wrestling ? No worse than the Mosley affair !

    Very tacky though. Where is all this going. What are we doing with all those bloated Hollywood hangers on in the pits ?

    I think I’ll follow Webber and see what’s going on there.

  32. For Sure says:

    couple of points: 1. I”m not surprised people are leaving Lotus for Caterham as Caterham (Leafield)are about 30 miles at the most from Lotus (Enstone) and a number of guys probably went in the other direction when Arrows closed.
    2) Sauber would be a great investment. BMW built some great facilities including a top line wind tunnel with a high level super computer down in Switzerland. The heavy investment has been made, they just need more budget: Maldonado could be a great solution.
    3) In Germany at least there is a big TV advertising campaign going on with Red Bull – they seem to be getting in deep!

  33. BW says:

    It’s a lot of fun to watch all the Google journalists being happy to have googled some breaking news, usually found in the reports of other Google journalists, and not bothering to read any piece of what real journalists have written.

  34. Philip J Fry says:

    Didnt Lotus/Genii let Andrew Ruhan buy a board seat and 2% of Lotus F1 for a little over a million euros earlier this year?

    I fail to see how the firm has appreciated 300% in a matter of months!

  35. Pete says:

    James I remember reading over summer that the boss of a building company had bought 4 or 5 % of the team so how did he manage this when Ijaz is having so many problems?

    1. Tim says:

      I expect it was because he actually had the money.

  36. Michael says:

    If the Quantum investment does not arrive soon, will the team fold? Ever since Marussia got their commercial deal with FOM, I have been wondering who Bernie was expecting to go to fit his 10 team ideal. If Lotus are going to continue, have they even started or have the resources to be competitive in 2014?

  37. Monza 71 says:

    It would be a great shame to lose the Enstone team if money problems overwhelm them.

    As for Hulkenburg, with so many variables caused by all the technical changes, he might as well opt for Sauber or toss a coin. Of the available seats there are none with teams with the strength in depth to put right deficiencies in the car that would only become apparent in pre-season testing. Even Ferrari and Mclaren have struggled to develop poor cars this year.

    Hulkenberg deserves a top seat but at this stage nobody can be sure where eghey will be on the grid

  38. ChrisMc says:

    James, I love your site and reporting, but can’t help but feel that something was missing in this article, especially with the following paragraph…

    “The fact is that Luxembourg isn’t considered as irreproachable by the US banking system, ” he said. ” That explains why we have had to review the operation and structure the financing differently. The money has been sent back to us and we have to make the payments using a different mechanism. That is not the work of a moment.

    I wished for a few sentences that attempted to explain what that paragraph means.

    Is Quantum in trouble in the US and risk having funds confiscated? Has the money been laundered? Why would ‘different mechanisms’ be needed if financing was anything other than ‘above board?’

    Common sense tells me if something is THIS complicated, then it can’t be on the up and up. If otherwise, it would have been helpful to understand. Mystery isn’t helping Quantum, or Lotus, as far as I’m concerned.

  39. Scuderia McLaren says:

    Bernie always said he preferred 10 teams… We all thought he was talking about Marussia. Turns out it’s Team Enstone / Genii / Fake Lotus.

    Oh well… The only thing that is a small shame is that Grosjean fellow. Hopefully he can test for a year with a big team, ala Hulkenberg, and pick up where he left off in 2015.

    I wonder if this could be the record for a team folding after the highest WCC position, probably 4th in this case. I’m sure if they do, it’ll be after BE pays the prize money, which means fun and games until January.

  40. German Samurai says:

    There’s no money. They’d be able to move that money tomorrow if it was available (or clean LOL).

  41. Wade Parmino says:

    Bring back tobacco advertising. All teams will then easily find sponsors and everyone will get paid. Oh, and pay-drivers would disappear as well. It’s not as if drivers, team members and crews will have to be seen smoking or anything. It’s just words and logos. It would also be very nostalgic.

  42. JohnBt says:

    Ijaz is not getting good reviews from many sources. Quite a worrying period for F1, too much unwanted news, especially drivers not getting paid. Am sure besides Kimi spilling the beans, those who haven’t been paid are keeping silent just to hang on in F1. A big team like McLaren losing Vodafone is not a small issue. Just hope all will be well for 2014.

  43. Bruno says:

    James, what is the situation with Sauber and the Russians ? Sirotkin was confirmed, then there was talk he wouldn’t be ready so he could be replaced by Petrov next year, and now there is talk Petrov could go to DTM and rally, so now… we don’t know. Are we still sure there will be a Russian driver in a Sauber next year ?

    1. James Allen says:

      My understanding is that the money that’s come through so far hasn’t been a game changing amount

  44. Dan says:

    looks like they have Maldinado’s money. Such a shame. Was hoping for Hulk.

  45. oddball says:

    Mmm…cheque in the post?..how many times has someone said that. My personal view is …SCAM, this guy is a joke, how can any team fall for this. I watched the sky interview after austin and just fell about laughing,every word was pure bull, next year i think i might buy a team, swan around at the expense of the owners, have free travel to each track and be wined and dined with a all access pass to the pits and paddock.” Really mr wolf,my money is good,it takes a while for me to cash in my premium bonds”. All i need to do is wait till the end of season then say,”well i really think f1 isnt the right platform for my pie business”. Wake up lotus…pay your staff what is owed then get back to winning races.

    1. BlackBear says:

      Agreed. Easiest way to spot a scam artist and a buffoon, look at his own website (21Dec2013): “Mansoor Ijaz (born August 1961) is an American financier of Pakistani ancestry and an owner of the Lotus F1 Formula One team.”
      Based on this, Lotus owners also come across like complete idiots; no wonder Kimi Räikkönen left (he smelled the rat).

  46. oddball says:

    Agreed….kimi is one smart cookie, i am sure he warned the hulk about the situation. Lotus might have used this muppet to drum up some kind exposure but my gut feeling is that the money will never arrive, he will pull out saying its not what the ‘investers’ had in mind. I just wish the journos would keep digging

  47. Lorna says:

    Pretty! This has been an extremely wonderful post.
    Thank you for supplying this info.

  48. BlackBear says:

    Two three races down and Lotus will have recovered – otherwise, way too embarrassing to Renault F1 Sport. Lotus made 2013 F1 interesting, and will again (I hope).
    REQUEST to jamesallenonf1: Could you investigate, please, whether Lotus has finally paid the base salary plus all bonuses for 2013 services to Kimi Räikkönen and all the other team members – and whether they included interest for late payments; and write a little story about it. Whether I watch them, depends first on whether they are honourable.

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