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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Where is all this today?

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

Dark times ahead…

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…


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.


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.


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


“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.

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?


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.


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


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

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


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.


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.


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%.


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.


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?


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


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?


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….


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 🙁




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 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.


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.


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.

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