F1 Winter Break
Lotus’ Formula 1 future looking bright says investor. But will his deal get done?
Scuderia Ferrari
Posted By: James Allen  |  04 Nov 2013   |  11:57 am GMT  |  117 comments

Lotus’ long-awaited investment deal with Middle East/American consortium Quantum is nearing completion, according to the man leading the consortium. But scepticism remains in the F1 paddock about whether the deal will get done. It has been in limbo since it was announced in June.

Mansoor Ijaz told reporters in Abu Dhabi on Sunday night that a contract is now in place for the group to buy a 35% stake in the team. They are now awaiting approval from the outfit’s owner Genii Capital. “There is no question the deal is definitely happening. It has now been completed from our side,” Ijaz said.

The prospect of a deal between the two parties was first talked about before the British Grand Prix, but there have been a number of delays which has led to the team’s financial problems. Insiders talk of issues due to banking compliance laws, as some of the payments derive from sources which the US banking regulators monitor closely.

Kimi Raikkonen, who is leaving the team for Ferrari next season, said on Friday he had not been paid “a single euro” by Lotus this season. He considered not racing in the final two grands prix of the season and also threatened the team with an injunction over their failure to pay.

However, it looks like the 2007 world champion, who retired on the first lap of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, will compete in the United States Grand Prix in Austin after talks with his manager to put in place a payment schedule,

Ijaz added: “I am confident that [Raikkonen] will run the last two races, fulfil his professional obligations to us and us to him. I met with Kimi’s manager Steve Robertson last night. I’ve apologised to Steve, we’ve apologised to Kimi. We intend to not only make sure that they are made whole, and then some.

“We are intending to also compensate our employees and management team to make sure that everybody on that team knows that the new shareholders coming in took responsibility for their actions.

“Our deal is to buy 35% in newly-issued shares. We are essentially diluting Genii Capital. The options do allow us in a fixed amount of time to take control of the team later on.

“We’re going to clear off the debt, and then we’re going to bring very high quality sponsors which you’ll see very soon. Those sponsors will give us the longevity and capacity to compete at the top end of the business for a long time.”

Ijaz added that the plan is to sign Sauber’s Nico Hulkenberg to replace Raikkonen at the team next season.

“I wish the transition had been smoother between Kimi and the next driver who we believe will be Nico Hulkenberg, but sometimes in life things don’t happen as cleanly or as nicely as you’d like them to,” said Ijaz.

“I can tell you the contract [for Hulkenberg] was prepared and ready to go. I know Nico is excited about doing this and I think it is a matter of a very short period before that is all finalised.”

When asked about the deal, Lotus team principal Eric Boullier said: “I will not comment on this yet. I can’t say anything yet. I think by Tuesday. I hope so. I cannot say anything about what has been agreed because this is confidential between both parties but it is all settled.”

Sources continue to suggest, however, that Pastor Maldonado is closer to the deal than Hulkenberg. This only adds to the mystery around the Quantum deal.

It will be interesting to see whether it goes ahead in the time frame or not.

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I find Mr. Ijaz incredibly and unusually talkative and open... it raises expectations quite a lot. I don´t know whether that is positive or negative.

I guess we´ll know after a year or so.


Call me a cynic but whenever I hear Mansoor Ijaz I cannot help but be reminded on Ali al-Faraj and Portsmouth FC. Or was it Sulaiman Al Fahim?

Either way the guy with lots of front but zero cash.


I'm confused.

So is it Hulk or Maldonado?

It's not like James to cite unreliable sources.

What's going on? Anyone has any insights?

Is Lotus playing off one investor against another? Does Ijaz think he has a deal, but he doesn't? Or is he using the media to put pressure on Lotus to sign-up immediately?

Did he just tell Lotus' engineers and team, if you put pressure on management to sign-up, "we'll take care of you"?


I'm always wary of someone coming into the sport and proclaiming great things, especially things like "We’ll be number one in 12 months. I say it simply, flatly, completely - we'll be number one in 12 months."

Even more so when the person saying such things doesn't exactly have a history of delivering on his promises.

"But will his deal be done" is a very pertinent question.


were does he say we will be number 1 in 12 months.


“We’ll be number one in twelve months. I say it simply, flatly, completely – we’ll be number one in twelve months.”



Where in the article does it say they will be No1 in 12months? It says they will be able to compete at the top level but not number 1.


Anyone remember BAR's first year in '99? That was a disaster.


I'll go you one better: Does anyone remember the US GP team that was supposed to come in with the other new teams?

Big talk, lots of promises and in the end it was all just smoke and mirrors.


Yes, I felt the same way. It's like a big shroud of mystery has been unveiled. Doesn't he know he's supposed to keep us all in the dark until the last moment? Perhaps he's a Webber fan.


I really hope that The Hulk will finally get a competitive car, I remember him from the A1 series, winning both the feature and the sprint race (from reverse grid!) many times. That series had identical cars. He has a lot of talent and is now a mature driver ready to fight for race victories.


A1 did not have reverse grids. GP2 had


Lotus 2014 will be a disaster - you can bet on it.


If I was Nico Hulkenberg I'd be negotiating for at least 50% of my salary to be paid up front...

Although this deal would seem to sort out Lotus' financial position, I'm not sure they will be able to produce a winning car next year given the talent exodus that took place due to their financial problems.

Interesting that this would also seem to close the door on Maldonado going there - James, any ideas where we might end up? He sounds as if he's pretty well done with Williams.


"Ijaz added that the plan is to sign Sauber’s Nico Hulkenberg to replace Raikkonen at the team next season."

I jumped out of my chair in excitement reading this!!

But I'm sure Lotus will have it all sorted out for Nico 🙂


Who believs that Nico HAS a salary??

It's not about paying driver - but maybe drive without being paid.


Hulkenberg has always been a paid driver, rather than a paydriver. That has been 99.9% of the reason for him moving around the grid.


Nico knows what he's doing and I think it's time to give EB and the team a break and support their new direction. They weren't in that position through choice and they now seem to have overcome enormous obsticles and have put the team on a sound footing. It may be a little bit premature but well done them.


I hope Pastor ends up out of F1.




Its great that Hulk could finally get a seat at Lotus.

But this Ijaz guy is quite worrying if you read his past history.


hmmmm... Mr Ijaz seems like an ideal fit for the piranha club! He seems to like to be high profile and enjoys politics. He will be in F1 media a lot.



Wow - with his military connections he's probably arranged for stealth electrical disruptive weapons aimed at Ferrari/Merc/McLaren's Energy recovery systems next year.

Red Bull's systems will just over heat, under Newey's efficient aero bodywork.

Lotus will stroll to victory!


Finally Hulk gets the break he deserves

Actually he deserves more!!

He certainly deserves to be sitting in Red Bull more then 1 other person will be next year!

But non the less I'm hoping this Quantum deal will turn Lotus into a proper force.

Cant wait to see what Nico is going to do with a Lotus next year!


I think Vettel has done enough to keep his seat!


I cannot think of any available GP driver who deserves that seat more than Hulkenberg.


So finally Hulk will get a race-winning seat!

With him and Grosjean next year they may well be a serious WCC contender.


Lotus need to finalise an engine deal first!


Pretty sure they'll sort that out- and they'll be sticking with Renault I think.


Thanks to Mr Raikkonen for standing up and drawing the line, and hence expedite the Quantum deal


Not really, as I understand it, the deal was being held up by post 9/11 money transfer legislation. All international transactions of that magnitude has to be investigated by all banks involved, as well as all governments that have jurisdiction. This usually takes several months.


Sorry for posting again James... but this guy looks like the new Flavio Briatore - as in playful:



“We’re going to clear off the debt, and then we’re going to bring very high quality sponsors which you’ll see very soon."

I wonder how much money left after clearing the debts? Looks like the funding for future still has to come from new sponsors. No wonder Hulk wants to wait a little longer.

Anyway, still good news for Lotus F1. Enough dirty laundry washed in the public. Please go back to racing now.


I just wish they named their company for a credible Bond villain. At least SPECTRE had style, Quantum was just ridiculous.


Excellent news for F1 and Nico. The guy and the team deserve this and it makes next season an even more exciting prospect. The fact that the new investors have come out with such a strong statement is enough for me to conclude that the teams uncomfortable financial situation will shortly be a distant memory. I wish all parties every success going forward.


I can see Genii/Lotus positive, owing money and not having enought to pay people.

What exactly is the positive for Quantum? They are pumping huge sums into a team which seems to need bulk of it just to pay off legacy debt. Where is the potential ROI? I wish that was shared.


Totally agree. I can't get my head round the Business Case.


They could feel that Renault are nearing the time to buy back into F1 as a manufacturer and looking to either be a part of that for some other commercial reason or to simply make a good profit on their investment by selling it to them.


You think?

Don't you think Renault is enjoying steamrolling the competition without the headache and cost of team ownership?

You think they want back in as a constructor? Have there been any indicators in press statements, etc.?


By the way, Renault cars are sold in Australia (infinity aren't) and according to their website "Red Bull - Renault won the 2012 WCC".

In press ads Renault also promotes their engines as winning the last 3 F1 titles (they haven't updated since last week end).



So what you're saying is that in Australia, Malaysia, China, Bahrain, Canada, Singapore, Korea, Japan, India, Abu Dhabi, United States their cars are not sold? Or over 1/2 the calendar if you get my semi sneaky point.

I don't get it. I don't get why the Infiniti marketing campaign needs to continue if Renault wants exposure in F1. They can either pump all kinds of tens or hundreds of millions of Euros into a team someone here said they sold for 1 Euro to get out of constructor game, and then they would need to build a Championship contender against RBR, Mercedes, Ferrari to get ROI. Or they could go to RBR, have Newey already on "their team", and for a free engine supply and some bonus coin could have the top team in F1 represent their technology and Renault brand.

You think Red Bull cares if it says Infiniti or Renault or Chubba Bubba on their engine cover? As long as it gets the job done. If Renault wants RBR to highlight Renault at 1/2 or 3/4 of the races they could also. Then they could re-brand to Infiniti for certain events like US where there is a big Infiniti brand push.

What I'm saying is that Renault could get exposure just with change of some stickers, branding, team name vs. having to go into team ownership and constructor game. Wonder which one the Board of Directors will think is cleaner and can produce a better ROI and quicker results?


Renault not a globally sold brand?

The Eurozone is - at best - flat for them

More than half of their sales are now outside Europe

Their third biggest market, and growing fast, is Russia, up 22%

Brazil is their second biggest market at present and growing fast.

There's a lot of benefit to Renault having a bigger presence by running a works team, whether they'll get into bed with this guy is a different matter altogether.


Renault decided to change to Infiniti branding at RBR. They could decide to go back and 2014 RBR is rolling as a Renault team. Seems the money/support being thrown at RBR is of works level. Why have 2 works teams? If there is one thing Renault is not, it is wasteful, illogical or unable to negotiate in its favor.

Also, I believe they are getting plenty of influence and say. Imagine they walk away? Would it be a big problem for F1? I think yes. And Remeber, Renault is not a globally sold brand. Not in Americas, Australia, Asia, right? Why have a team push to makets Renault is not in? Why not just take the F1 team idea money and pump it into ads that run during race linking their F1 engines and WDCs to their product in Europe? That's really the market we're talking about, right?


As others have said, Renault are somewhat short changed as far as recognition [to the average 'Joe' on the street] is concerned.

Sure, they have some sort of commercial partnership with Nissan but it's too tenuous a connection really.

The new engines are also more relevant to the way road car engines are going and a winning presence in F1 could well help them.

I see Prost was doing some sort of seminar for Renault last weekend, I'm not sure if this is normal for Renault, but from where I sit, they seem to be ramping up on the PR.


I do think Renault, my baby, would want to buy back in to their former team in Enstone, as the share of coverage we get from winning with Infinity RBR is much less than it was when it had Renault branding all over it.

Plus the crashgate scandal is far behind us, and a new beginning with massive rule changes could beckon a glorious surge back to the front of the pecking order for Renault-Lotus-Renault


It's already been reported Renault feel they are not getting the exposure they would expect for 4 titles on the bounce as the title sponsor is Infinity not Renault and just people with a passing interest or just see the RB car would think its powered by an infinity engine not Renault. So they could well be interested in being a title sponsor or a full manufacturer team, plus Lopez said not so long back he wasn't totally against re-naming the team as they just use the Lotus name and get no money from the Lotus car brand.

Could be very interesting. I think it would be a shame to loose the Lotus name as it fits unto F1 very well.


Yes, I read it recently. Can't remember where. The reason could be that only Merc and Ferrari have a bigger say as they are the only manufacturers and Renault are unhappy about that. I think it originated from thejudge13 but not sure.


The old saying: The best way to make a small fortune is to start with a big one


I think they are trying to take control of the team, perhaps even buying it.


Makes sense. "35% in newly-issued shares" is not control, but agreed it's a step. And it's a big sum to gambe on the off chance that you can come to an agreement with those that do control it.

I guess we shouldn't under rate Lotus, and at least give them a benefit that they are quite capable. I have to be honest, I did not expect Lotus to do 1/2 as well as they have done since Renault dumped the team.

...ahh, maybe that's it! Did Genii buy this team, or did Renault dump it cheap? So they are just trying to squeeze this asset for all it's worth. Perhaps the agreement is 35% now and control % at some point when fine print commitments are met between Genii and Quantum?

A bit like BAR/Brawn/Mercedes story perhaps. Except Brawn did that deal quickly before team racked up piles of debt like Lotus seems to have.


It seems that Genii paid Renault 1 Euro for the team.


Sounds like the sale of F1 itself...

Unless they have an insider at VW?


In says in the article Quantum has options to take control at a later date if it so chooses:

"The options do allow us in a fixed amount of time to take control of the team later on."


That's the part I want to understand too.

It's not usually a way to make money - normally a way to spend it!


Gerard Lopez has said that most (not all) of Lotus' debt is to his company, Genii Capital. So the upside for Genii is that they recover most/all of their debt.

The upside for Quantum is that they will own 35% of a F1 team -- a team with little or no debt and a decent chance at prize monies for third place in the constructors championship ($44m in 2012, more this year). Whether the additional operating budget (additional to Lotus' established sources, that is) comes from Quantum and/or new sponsors isn't very relevant.


The money does nothing for Genii - it is paying for Lotus F1 to issue new shares. The only benefit for Genii is to stem losses and give some hope the team can return some of the money later.

Adrian Newey Jnr

But where is Genii getting their funds from?


None to Kimi? 🙂


Sometimes the return of invest is not money, but reputation, business contacts, customers or (as weird as it may sound): getting rid of some money in strategic moments to get more money from somewhere else in return (saving taxes, insurances stepping in for losses on the stock market, etc).


James, is this Ijaz guy from Quantum the same as Mansoor Ijaz who was embroiled in a fraud case & ordered by a New York court to pay $1.4 million to an European Bank?


Just red his Wiki page, man is certainly been around the block and appears to be a strategic thinker.

I wonder what the latest is on the Renault engines. Is there actually confirmation that they are running Renault in 2014? Someone pointed out that there has been no confirmation, and indeed I think we're running on assumption only that since this is the old Renault team they will use Renault engines. Not like anything else is really an option at this point either, right?


Link about the fraud case if you have please.


"It's not usually a way to make money- normally a way to spend it!"

James, I would say that is as good a definition of the overall situation of F1 these days as I have ever heard!


What's the old saying?

If you want to be a millionaire in F1, start as a billionaire 😉


It makes no difference the ROI is what they will make in the future, the existing debt is payable by Lotus probably guaranteed in part by Genii.

Quantam will be purchasing 35% stake the money paid to Genii for the shareholding will be spent by them paying of the debt existing. From Genii point of view the sale of there shareholding will actually save then financing fees for the serving the debt, Plus they now have a future partner to share the risk with


the money doesn't go to Genii - it goes direct to Lotus who are issuing new shares. That is how the Genii ownership is diluted.

The key point for Quantum must be around the ability to leverage new sponsors. But as James says - pouring money into a bottomless pit (old debt) is not the usual route to achieve any return - it is not often referred to as investment!


But little of this new money going toward 2014 package development. No?


Think the clue might be what you alluded to, re: banking compliance. Could be an attempt to clean the money


Like lotus but me thinks we have a Walter Mitty doing his rounds here!!



Does F1 need people like this, Bernie carries enough of a liability surely?

This was one of the more worrying articles I found and believe me there is plenty of them!



I doubt in a deal happening as such grand deals usually in real business world are done behind the scenes and in private prior to pop up in public.

Running a cart ahead of the horse usually ends up no good.


A few weeks ago I wanted Hulkenberg to join Lotus but now I'm not sure it's a good idea. They've lost their best technical staff so who knows what next year's car will be like,they abuse drivers who are doing a brilliant job for the team and worst of all they don't pay you


Well said.


This guy is talking like he owns the team already 100% and not 35%- yet hasn't put a nickel down.Sounds like someone brokering a deal for GENII and he's failed so far to do so for 6 months.

Not surprised at his comments about transition of drivers not being smoother. I'm sure the events of the last few races would not be very attractive to sponsors Especially following Raikkonens announced departure. This Im sure stopped the deal in its tracks and has been fluid since- you can bet Raikkonen was part of the original deal and why Lotus were distraught when he wasnt!-.I don't think we will know the full picture even if it's announced soon. It's all been cart before the horse which is not the right way to go about things.

If I were Hulk or Maldonado I would not be signing until I had some solid financial assurances both for myself and the team-- hang on that's what's Raikkonen said in the first place- isn't it!! .People again sweating on his every move and using his name to gain favour.


I would take Mansoor Ijaz's words with a pinch of salt. For those who dont know, he is the same person who was involved in a 'memogate' scam between the Pakistani Government and the Pakistani Supreme Court. He has been known for making tall unsubstantiated claims and self promotion, so unless the money is actually in the hands of the team, I wouldnt hold my breath if I were the Lotus boys.


Have just posted a link to an article from the Washington post that tells all about it. It's a few comments further back from this one in a reply.


Even if the money does end up with Lotus, who's to say that the money is indeed legit, and that they wouldnt end up pulling a Midland, and sell the team on less than a year from now? I dont see any part of this deal that makes sense, and when a deal does not make sense, means somethings very wrong in the background.


This guy is bad news! Smoke and mirrors. Until all the checks clear Genii Capital, Lotus, Kimi and the Hulk should be very careful. Lots of talk and very little substance behind it.

As for the future, I wouldn't hold my breath unfortunately- pity 🙁




Eric Boullier said: “I will not comment on this yet. I can’t say anything yet. I think by Tuesday. I hope so. I cannot say anything about what has been agreed because this is confidential between both parties but it is all settled.”

OK, it's a small quote, but Eric didn't say the deal was with Ijaz or Quantum which would explain why the rumours about Maldonado remain strong....


James so if the Quantum deal does not go through what will happen to Kimi's wages? Will Gerard Lopez be forced to dip into his own pockets again?


According to rumour, it seems Bernie is willing to direct some WCC prize $ to pay Kimi's salary.

James, have you heard that?


that sounds like Bernie!

You can bet what he means is that he would hold back enough of Lotus' prize money and pay it directly to Kimi.

You didn't seriously think Bernie would dip into his own pocket did you?!

That would be what persuades Kimi to attend the last races of the season.


You mean will he be forced to pay his driver who had a contract to drive for him and continued to do so all year in good faith?

I would say yes.


I think the courts will probably decide that one.

I wonder if there is any agreement in F1 that F1 debtors are paid before all others, much like the EPL?


I will believe it when Quantum actually pays the money. All else is just words and noise. They'd better hurry up.


Have to say this whole investor thing is worrying. Since when do investors go in for Formula one? I cant see how its a good way for them to invest money...what happens if Lotus has a bad season? With no profit will the investors bail out?


We may not know contract details bug of Kimi doesn't drive, then it will be breach of contract, and the team can take him to courts.


Not paying someone is a breach of contract and Lotus will end up in court if they don't. Not performing a contracted service because the other party is in breach IS NOT!!

Honestly where do you people dream up these things...


I thought the rumour at the weekend was Kimi and/or his managers were threatening to go to the courts to ask for a winding up petition?

If that's the case, and Lotus is registered in the UK, they were asking for it to be declared Bankrupt which would probably have resulted in the appointment on a receiver, had it happened.

The reality is a competently run business would either have found a way to pay ALL creditors fairly (favouritism can leave the Directors personally vulnerable) or the owners would, as a last resort, typically try some form of administration / "favourable" receivership.

Any way you look at it, a petition for a winding up order really boxes the owners and managers in a corner that they will want to avoid which seems to be what finally got their attention.

I'd also add that "robbing Peter to pay Paul", as they seem to have done with Kimi for the last few months, has to be a very, very short term strategy as it inevitably bites you in the backside fairly quickly.


Well said,Bernard.


No! Kimi not going to a race would be his reaction to Lotus breaking the contract terms!


Kimi could just ask to ask end his contract 2 races early.


35% in newly issued shares means that in order to gain control eg 50% of the new total, instead of buying a further 15% they need to buy 24% So diluting the share value by issuing more shares is a stupid method. Yet it allows the original holders to retain the number they had previously, although like the US Dollar and the GBP (as a result of quantitive easing) they have been devalued by 26%.


Please do not count chickens before the eggs are hatched.

The cheque has to clear first from Quantum for $ X million. Untill that time, voice of Ijaz is just trash talk.

Background question on a business case making lesser sense - why would Quantum want to make investment and fund Kimi's salary & say sorry to Kimi (who is already leaving in 2 races) ???


Not really, if they don't keep their side their of the agreement Kimi technically doesn't have to keep his side of the bargain.


More interesting to note that only half of the top 10 on the grid at Abu Dhabi have confirmed drives for next year or 6 if you consider GRO a done deal.

Adrian Newey Jnr

James - perhaps this gentleman has some captive sponsorship, a less reputable version of Tony Fernandes. However, I fail to see how a global sponsor (which Lotus needs) would risk being seen being associated with the team. Therefore I can only see this being a short term solution for the team until Quantum and Genii run into cash issues again.

I would be interested to hear what your sponsorship consultant friend Mr Zack Brown would think about it.


Yeah good call-- wouldn't be at all surprised if Zac doesn't already know who these sponsors..

Sounds like good podcast material James


All this Lotus thing is a temporary venture. Old good times gone.


From a nostalgic point of view it's great to see Lotus involved in dark business deals! 😉


I believe that Ijaz is simply a fantasist and sincerely hope the Genii and Lotus F1 have done their homework and have a plan B!


They do have a plan B it's called Pastor Maldonado.

Tornillo Amarillo

Quick James,

1. Why Quantum could disregard PDVSA?

2. Would Lotus be probably between the top teams in 2014 or in the bottom of the midfield?


"some of the payments derive from sources which the US banking regulators monitor closely"....wow, that sounds suspicious?

I continue to have my doubts...too often we see investors come in, and it's temporary until another buyer comes along or the team folds. Unless Quantum have a vested interest in F1, I'm not sure their motives are for the good of the team or the sport.


Where is Prince Malik and his T-Minus brand when Lotus need him?


I really hope this happens for both Lotus as one of my favourite teams and the Hulk as one of my highest rated drivers. However, I'll reserve judgement until I see Hulk in the car and these mystery new sponsors on the cars. I agree tho Hulkenberg and Grosjean would be an excellent driver pairing.


There might not be any new sponsors- this 'deal' is not officially confirmed by the team.


Call me a cynic but whenever I hear Mansoor Ijaz I cannot help but be reminded on Ali al-Faraj and Portsmouth FC. Or was it Sulaiman Al Fahim?

Either way the guy with lots of front but zero cash.

I don't have a good feeling about this.

nicky samengo-turner

Dont you people ever read anything other than f1 comics? Lotus F1 made a staggering loss, owe Proton Hi-Com some £40m, have not paid their driver, and...who in the financial world has ever done business, or heard of anyone who has, with Genii Capital?...... the words skint and totally, not necessarily in that order, spring to mind. raikkonen can issue a statutory demand and have the whole cowboy outfit declared bankrupt...


Where is all this today?

All I know is that Lotus will not go to the first test.

Dark times ahead...

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