F1 Winter Break
Lotus F1 boss Lopez opens up on financial problems: £114 million of debt
Posted By: James Allen  |  15 Jan 2014   |  6:35 pm GMT  |  199 comments

Amid increasing rumours about the financial viability of the Lotus F1 team, the team’s owner (via his Genii Capital concern), Gerard Lopez, has confirmed the team’s significant debt and spelled out that the investment discussions with the mysterious Quantum Motorsport group are dead. He added that Kimi Raikkonen, who walked out on the team two races from the end of the season, had “got part of his salary, and he will get the rest.”

Speaking to Michael Schmidt, from leading German motorsport magazine Auto Motor und Sport, Lopez confirms that the team’s debt is £114 million, of which £80 million is debt owed by the team to Genii. With the failure of the talks with Quantum at the end of 2013, despite Genii and Lotus allowing them to go public and speak to the media via the group’s figurehead Mansoor Ijaz, Genii once again had to fund the shortfall in budget.

“The budget gap from last season was again covered by us, ” he said. “The Quantum money never arrived. We have now killed the talks. For 2014, we will have at our disposal our new sponsor PDVSA’s budget. We will not generate any new debt. Genii is still 98 percent owned by us.” [The remaining 2% is owned by Andrew Ruhan who has placed one of his men, Matthew Carter, at Enstone as the new CEO of the F1 team, replacing Genii’s Patrick Louis.]

“We have around 114 million pounds of debt,” added Lopez. “Of which more than £80 million debt is with ourselves (Genii). Why would we demand the repayment of these (internal) debts? That makes no sense. We reconciled the money as marketing expenses. At the moment, it is important that the team goes forward.”

Asked about a “brain drain” of engineers away from Lotus over the winter, Lopez said that the team had gone down by 80 people but has managed to recruit new engineers from many of his rival teams,

“Last year, we worked on three projects simultaneously. Overall, we had 580 people. Now we concentrate on the 2014 car and therefore the workforce came down to around 500. We have lost some engineers to the competition. But we got about five new engineers from them; from Red Bull, Ferrari and Mercedes.

“This is the carousel of Formula 1. It operates according to the Darwinian principle, ‘Survival of the Fittest’ Of course, in this way ideas migrate to the competition, but we learn from our new recruits too, what’s going on with the others.”

Asked why the Renault engine deal had not yet been announced, Lopez said that the team has been working on collaborations on hybrid solutions taking it beyond a simple customer engine supply deal and this had complicated and delayed the agreement and negotiations between them. He did not offer any time frame for this to be resolved.

There are also observations on the driver pairing of Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado. Lopez believes that Grosjean is now one of the top four drivers in F1, while he argues that Maldonado can take the same journey as Grosjean and turn his mercurial speed into a consistent force,

“Two years ago I would have said , the pairing is quick, but explosive. Today it is different. Romain is for me one of the four fastest drivers, maybe even three. He is now strong in the head.

“Pastor must still take that last step. He is super fast. We know him very well. Pastor knows our team boss Eric Boullier from six years ago when he was manager of DAMS. Pastor must now go through the same phase as Romain. He needs to learn that a Grand Prix does not consist of a few fast laps, but of an entire weekend. He needs to control his speed better.”

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Man, this team 's management people are all talks and zero practical.


"The team has been working on collaborations on hybrid solutions taking it beyond a simple customer engine supply deal"

Let me translate this for you: "we cannot pay for your engines in cash, so please accept a percentage stake in the team instead. And, while you're at it, would you mind giving us some cash, because we won't be able to pay for the running costs of the team either."

No wonder this negotiation is "complicated"


Or real racers, who threw a lot of personal finance into the F1 dream, perhaps with hope of some ROI at the end of the dream.

Isn't this the type of "privateer" effort that seem to be legendary? Williams like? Except now, the bar has been raised so far...


I have to agree its easy for us to dislike the negative things that happened with Lotus last year and all the sugar coated stories we heard- unfortunately that is F1 where the expectation of success and growth is almost as relevant as the success itself.

Despite this I have an incredible respect for Gerard Lopez because he must surely be one of the best entrepreneurs out there- you wont have too many executives aligning:ridking their companies with such volatile brands and investing millions personally to go racing. Further he had the good forsight -like very few, to bring Raikkonen back to the sport and build the brand to such tremendous heights over the last few years- that should never be overlooked. I doubt you will find many people anywhere with that passion, vision and courage. I just hope they find tht next step that will keep them around for a long time like Williams!


Like I said It takes alot of balls to invest what is needed to go racing in F1- sometimes more than you have on the expectation of success and Noone was more successful than Lotus with the money they spent and they came ever so close both on / off track. Red Bull are an established Multi Billion dollar company that has been invested in motor sports for years-mr Mateschitz doesnt even needs to dig into his pocket one cent.

Being Kimis biggest fan -I too was disgusted with their treatment of Raikkonen both on / off track but it does not change the fact these guys laid it all on the line to go racing- something which noone here would have the courage to do. I dont like the way they go about their business but there is no doubt about their committment to go racing.


What a hogwash!

They brought Kimi back but didn't pay him.

Sibcerelly wishing mr Lopez got jailed and Lotus rebirth without these greedy and unprofessional bastards. Pasthor's money won't save you, Lopez.


"...anywhere with that passion, vision and courage"

Well Red Bull have, and more. Has Lopez stuck with it more than Mr Fernandes, imo probably, but don't forget the starting of both teams are vastly different.

Lotus biggest news stories have been

The hiring of Kimi,

Co owner of Genii being stabbed by Adrian Sutil

Romain Grosjean crashes,

High court wrangles over the name Lotus

Non payment of Kimi.

I wish them success, but I feel no special admiration for Mr Lopez. Special respect (for me) goes to people like Ross Brawn (class), Kimi (amazing return), Newey (incredible record), Todt (transition and improvement).


They aren't privateers. Lopez says they are £114m in debt, £80 of which is owed to Genii. He then says "We reconciled the money as marketing expenses". Therefore he also is claiming Genii is owned nothing because they spent £80m on marketing.

They are an investment group, in it for the money. Genii will not lose out, only the team will.

All the team need to do is find the syphon.


Agree totally. I think Lopez is in fact bricking it big time because £80m and then some to come is a lot of money for him and his group, which is of course why they wanted to believe in this bizarre quantum sport deal for so long. I really hope someone will buy this who has enough money to keep the Enstone team's winning pedigree and it not disappearing due to the utter incompetence and greed of the Genii lot.


"Genii" is essentially Lopez and Lux, and both of them are heavily involved in Formula 1. They are essentially privateers, with the difference that their F1 expenditures are tax-deductible. £80M in marketing expenses for an investment management company with no consumer clients is just ludicrous, and I am amazed that Lopez mentions this in the interview, rather than staying quiet about it.


I've really been pulling for this team. But, the writing seems to be on the wall. I hope they have a good season, but it seems unlikely given the financial troubles and loss of talent.

I'll give Maldonado a chance...who knows? He may gain some maturity and take his driving to a more consistent level (of course, it's hard to judge too much given the car he had last year).


The engineers, and other people who make up the team have done a fantastic job with a great 2013 car - under tremendous financial pressure.

Hope they survive. They deserve to. Apart from the bully who shouts expletives at others - unapologetically.

But I'm afraid their 2014 debt is going to balloon - with Grosjean and Maldonado crashing into each other! Ha ha.

I'm not wishing this on them. But it'll be great entertainment to see it played out!


Ironic, Team Lotus died from having no cash. This Lotus team is going exactly the same direction.


And we wonder why BAR's MO is mentioned repeatedly when talking about Mercedes.

What if 2013 was that "improved year" that BAR had, only to fall back again the following year. If that happens, this Team Ghost of Years Past theory will get freaky!


Well observed.

And you wonder why we feel team history may hint at their future. Maybe there is really something to it.


I'm not exactly hiding behind the sofa at that one Gareth.


Here`s another scary coincidence in 1988 and 1989 they had a driver by the name of Nelson Piquet by 1990 he had been replaced by Derek Warwick, now Warwick was a good driver but nowhere near Piquet.

Fast forward 2014, Lotus lose Kimi Raikinonen a former world champion and end up with Pastor Maldanado.


I do not know.....I always liked Lotus, especially when Kimi joined the team. But after last year...I wish them well, but will not support them and really do not like them. nd they cannot pay their third driver....even though the salary is not greater than the salary of a waiter.


I thought most of the No.3 drivers paid for the ride anyway.

(Apart from the top teams of course)


Any doubt that Kimi's annual salary will cover 98% of the cost of the other 500 people on the team?

You're willing to give up on the entire team just because one rich driver may have to wait a little longer to add to his millions? I like Kimi too, but like I've said before - I'm entirely OK with him not being paid for 2013 if it means this team survives. Kimi is at Ferrari in good part thanks to Lotus.


Sebee, a deal is deal. I understand that there are others who need to be paid but that doesn't mean Kimi misses out.

This I'm sure is part of the reason why Lotus F1 (Genii) cannot get sponsorship, no integrity!


It depends on the laws where the bankruptcy proceedings take place, but I'd expect that if it xame to that then unless Kimi is deemed to be an employee he'd be quite far down the queue.

If Lotus don't go bust then they need to take cars of their reputation or people will become reluctant to do business with them. This would surely include settling with the driverS.



Ever wondered how you feel if you were not paid for a year? Especially a year in a career that only last a maximum of 18 years?

It would be a wonderful irony if Kimi ened up part owner with someone like Ross Brawn!


Utter nonsense. You need to pay your staff. Doesn't matter if it is the bloke who makes the car of the boy who makes the tea.

As a supplier or a sponsor you would not trust this team to deliver. As an employee I would be looking for the first train out of Enstone.


I think the reference was to Valsecchi who seems to have not been paid. He's hardly a rich driver looking to add to his millions.

As regards the Kimi situation, we can take it as Kimi personally with all his money and decide that he has enough. Or we can take it as a general principle - Lotus entered into a contract with another party and did not keep their end of the bargain. That's not so good for the team. Anybody wanting to deal with Lotus has to start wondering if they're going to get their pound of flesh. Eventually those chickens will come home to roost.


No doubt.

Lopez now has to make decisions that aren't pleasant. Principal says Kimi should get paid. If I was a bankruptcy judge, I'm not sure however that I would put Kimi ahead of the guy who flew coach, left his family for 20 weeks of the year, stayed up all night to fix Kimi's car. That's all I'm saying, that while fans are screaming for Kimi to get paid, I don't feel he's at the top of the list. That's all.


"Kimi is at Ferrari in good part thanks to Lotus."

Are you so sure? Don't forget, Kimi had serious talks with McLaren and others before eventually signing with Lotus so it's not like Lotus saved him from an early retirement. And it's also not like Kimi's driving was flattered by the Lotus car any more than his driving flattered the car.

And while you may pooh-pooh Kimi's loss of income, is it such a coincidence that the Quantum deal fell through and now this latest financial news has followed shortly after Kimi's departure? Makes me wonder had Kimi not driven for Lotus the past two seasons and gotten such great results for the team, would the big cracks in Lotus' foundation have been exposed much earlier?


Agreed 100% Mark.

Another thing for me with Kimi specifically is this. He had a sweet run. Ferrari paid him a bundle. He scored that WDC. Then he got paid FAT coin for not even driving, then Lotus agree to pay him what, 8m? He's been on a good run, and when you consider he got paid for not driving 2 years, he also took money out of F1 without contributing to F1 - so to speak. And so considering that I feel Lotus relationship was beneficial for his Ferrari negotiation (agreed, it wasn't a one way benefit by any means) it's not such a big deal if he cuts his loses and lets this one "slide".

I said elsewhere that he should grab the 2013 Australian GP car from Lotus, and perhaps a 2012 car, cash them in if needed and move on, if for not other reason than to not contribute further to the problems that may take a competitive team off the grid. Already 2014 is probably going to be tough for Lotus.


I find that a very strange comment Sebee.

So you are saying it's ok for a company to break a salary contract - simply because they had a bad year and need that salary to survive ?

Glad I don't work for you buddy !


In an ideal situation, everyone should get paid.

In a situation where a team has gone 114GBP into debt to field a team on the grid for us to enjoy, and tough decissions need to be made, I say hard working majority team members who have to feed families and are away most of the year come first vs. private jet flying VIPs. Of course that doesn't happen in real life.

Also Webbo, Kimi got 50% of his 2 year contract paid already. Bottom line, he's not hungry or short of ice cream. And honestly, thanks to the negotiating position Lotus gave him he was able to squeeze that sweet contract from Ferrari, let's not fool ourselves it was otherwise.


Most businesses cut staff and salaries in times of hardship.


When you willing to rely on magic to cover your cost, you should willing to accept the consequences.

Doesn't matter who they did not pay. I don't think most of their partners or employees would be happy to shake hands with a team that paying their obligations when they feel like it and who they feel like is more deserving.

I would be happy if they actually went bankrupt and some other management team snatched the team. Lopez is out of his league.


And that is the problem. No one is out there willing to snatch anything. Which is why Kimi going heavy with a suit for example could be the straw that breaks the Lotus' back. If that were the case, that would be a really unfortunate move. I don't believe however that Kimi is cut from that cloth.


Everything Lopez or Lotus says surely must be read with caution as they have massive tendencies to lie and fool fans and even seasoned journalists!

Lopez released Quantum Deal statement themselves! Now he is crying that money never arrived. Just brilliant, & he then allows Izaj PR Time in Austin for god knows what scheme.

Lopez & Boullier both said Kimi's salary has been paid in July 2013!?

Grosjean is Top 3? It's ok to give confidence to a normal Fisi-type driver, but big talks for a non-race winner is just part of this whole Lotus/Lopez eyewash.


Agree with you Vin S.

Lopez words are like the great year end sale at 50% discount.


So Quantum deal was supposed to be 30-40mil, which is obviously was going to be used to cover Genii debt. So by buying in the Lotus team Quantum would also be liable for the rest of the debt. Good times for any investor who wants to buy in into Lotus.

Joke management.


+ 10000000

I love the lyrics : "complicated ... delayed ... no time frame... we paid him... we will pay.."

He really believes that this old song sounds better each time he sings it !


I don't think he can lie about much here anymore.

He admitted to the debt.

He admitted that Ijaz just wanted to hang in the paddock club.

He admits to challanges.

Yet in the face of all this negativity he refuses to lay down - which he could easily do.

I think at this time, Lotus is the underdog, the privateer, the racer's F1 dream. None of us could do better, and many others have done less. Mighty Toyota never won a GP. And thus, maybe Lotus is a team that we all need to support now if for no other reason than their determination and resilience.


Today's F1 Journalists have forgotten to ask the hard questions, with Lopez being perfect candidate! But the interview as well as James' article is all wishy- washy without proper analysis?

Lopez is currently using journalists as his PR Propaganda! Every statement of his in 2013 were proved to be stalling tactic or outright fake, but his PR talks are freely publised around as facts, just because it came out of Lopez's mouth!


I always used to wonder what Senna meant when he said...

''Money is a strange business. People who haven't got it aim it strongly. People who have it are full of troubles.''

Yes, I feel sorry for Lotus because they looked like a serious outfit that was ready to begin playing with the big boys.

It's very odd for a team that has been earning constructors points to be having this much debt unless, the whole Lotus apparatus is nothing but a huge bank loan.

But one thing the sport can be thankful to Lotus is they gave us the new super consistent Kimi and the revitalized Grosjean who had been expelled from the sport.

Hopefully, the team can do something for Maldonado too because it would be unfortunate if such raw talent wasn't put to good use.

Anyway wishing Lotus better luck especially with honest sponsors in 2014 for the more competition we have at the front, the better for all of us.


Could Lotus become the new Brawn???

I mean money troubles during off season, cancellation of the first test and last minute engine switch, only to explode on the scene hehehehe


Last minute engine switch? They've got no chance of getting a Ferrari or Mercedes engine, just because the Renault deal hasn't been announced doesnt mean they wont have Renault engines. If they haven't got the engines in the workshops by now then they would be in a level of trouble that I doubt anyone could hide.


Don't worry... Bernie will make sure they get Renault engines...

Oops! Anyone seen Bernie lately?


Brawn arrived with a car mostly built with the Honda mega budget - it was only during the seasonal development that the collapsing cash flow showed up. Lotus have actually punched way above their weight past few years. I fear 2014 is going to be the year they crash back to earth after their tyre friendly designs are now defunct.


Hey, this would be alright goferet.

I think we all too a certain amount of pleasure from that 2009 season of Brawn saving the team, and coming good too.

Lotus has done really quite well. Let's be honest, where was Renault team before Lotus? Was it an upward trend in performance since they took over?

What will it take for Lotus to get some respect? They took on RBR, Ferrari, Mercedes. They won GP. They were close in the WDC bracket. What else must they do for some investor, sponsor, etc. to recognize there is value there to invest in?


@ Seebee

That's what am wondering too.

For some reason all the potential Lotus investor deals tend to fall by the wayside.

I suspect there are certain conditions made by the investors which the team isn't willing to comply with.

But it's true, Lotus deserve respect for the fine job they have done.

unF1nnished business

Romain in the top 4 or 3? Ahhhh no. MAYBE 6th.


when talking about pure speed as he appears to be, I can't think of 6 drivers faster than romain, who do you think is?


Not sure what you referring to, single lap? Cause last time I checked, after his great start in Suzuka he was very mediocre to say the least, or he choked.


Let's see, VET, ALO, HAM, HULK, ROS, RIC, RAI are at least in my opinion faster. You could argue about Raikkonen. But prior to the sudden tyre change, Raikkonen pretty much was the faster Lotus driver.


Hmmmm ... in all of these lists,

no-one mentions Button. A former



Id tkae these 5, which makes him 6th if you dont argue about who is his equal...

(in alphabetical order, the point is whether they are quicker than grosjean, not which of them is quickest!)







or you can swap raikkonnen for rosberg?







The Hulk

Probably Ricciardo too

Which leaves Roman struggling to get a top 8 slot...


Not sure you can put Lewis there. Guy is non existent in 2nd half of the season.

Too much british hype thanks to british journalist


Pure on qualifiying pace I wan't put Alonso in the top 3, maybe not even top 5.


Lokster, James Allen questions your list of 'Fastest"? I wonder what his definition is regarding Fastest if not for Qualy & Race Stats!!

It seems like some people are trying too hard to prove Grosjean to be something he isn't, or hasn't proven to be be!!

By that definition, Fisichella & Webber is the Fastest of them All, since they were fastest 5 out of 500 races or something haha.


All things being equal (and they never are) I’m thinking Lopez rates only Vettel and Hamilton and maybe Raikkonen over RoGro for single lap pace.



Not sure you have the right list there

unF1nnished business

I think Romain still has a lot to prove and Lopez is just blowing sunshine.


Pure speed of Grosjean? Really, Kimi had him caned two seasons running, with 11-6 in 2013 itself!

And that's just qualifying, lets not even bother about Race Stats. Grosjean pure speed for top 3 lol.


'pure speed' means speed alone which every driver has, nothing to do with how much.

I didn't say top 3 either.


Grosjean came on very strongly towards the end of the season (interestingly this was predicted by Jackie Stewart). By the end of the season he was probably one of the best racers in the field, but not over the season. So expectations will be high this year.

unF1nnished business



We will know better how fast Grosjean is this year as he is up against another driver in Maldanado. Add to that Grosjean's only benchmark in F1 so far is Kimi(dismissing his rookie half season alongside Alonso) and we will see how fast Kimi really is these days when he is up against a known benchmark in Alonso.

Now if Grosjean is on top with Pastor and Kimi is not swept aside by Alonso then I will believe the hype about Grosjean and not put it down to a very good Lotus this last 2 years.


5 world champs on the grid not to mention Rosenberg and the other race winners. How he gets 3rd or 4th without a win is anybody's guess


Quantum Motorsport deal ‘dead’? Was it actually ever ‘alive’? –

Plenty of commentators pointed out the dubious nature of that ‘group’ at the time.

So any official statements from Lotus can now be taken with a pinch of salt.

If they make the grid let’s see how they perform.


Its a pity that F1 attracts such sordid characters who promise money, talk about banking rules delaying the funds, when there is in fact none.

Let's not waste time on such characters.

Lets go back to exchanging ideas and comments on our fun hobby - following F1. Life's just too short to waste time on people who just shouldn't have been born.



I remember looking at Ijaz wiki page and immediately thinking to myself that this man looks like he simply enjoys being a VIP, getting attention. Nothing else. I commented on that a few times.

But Lotus had no choice. They had to entertain the possibility that it was for real.


Lopez runs a large investment company. Why there was no proper due diligence on Ijaz is worrisome - not just for Lotus, but got anyone thinking of investing money with Genii.

It doesn't say much for the way they run a business - a serious corporate governance failing that in a normal world would see a bunch of P45s handed out.

And if that's the marketing he was after, I daresay the damage to Genii's credibility that this must have caused will end up costing him a lot more than 80M.

Not that this is a normal world 🙂


I think Lotus management was probably well aware of the dubiousness of the deal at the time and cynically used it for PR purposes.


Absolutely, only not for cynical PR reasons but for delaying payment reasons...

"Kimi don't worry, we will pay you tomorrow with Quantum money"

The kitchen cynic

2% ownership of Genii buys the CEO seat? Doesn't add up ...


CEO of the F1 team, not CEO of Genii itself.


Maybe not, but if you start saving now you could be an F1 CEO by Christmas 🙂


Lol yes- A Lotus one at least


James, I just saw your tweet about Bernie and the Nurburgring... how is that not a conflict of interest?


And what about touritenfahrten?


I'm beginning to wonder if Quantum Motorsport are an incarnation of USF1.


Are they giving out free toasters too?


Nah - say what you want about them but I think USF1 had more substance 🙂


Grosjean's being paid in 2013 Lotus merchandise isn't he...


Still, you always need t-shirts.


More like payed by Total.


You happen to have a link to all the collector's Kimi Lotus gear he's clearing out pre-season?

Black after all, goes with everything. Even if has some gold on it.


well if Lopez is to be believed, his business model is terrible, hes running an F1 team by subsidizing it nearly 80% from his business (Genii). It makes sense why they hired Pastor and have failed to pay Kimmi in full. The actual shortfall it seems is 34m plus what ever is owed to Kimmi, which is probably just about covered by Pastor and what ever Total put in. Lopez is now committed to seeing it through, since he and his business partners are out of pocket to the tune of 80 mill which they need to recover. It will be interesting to see at what point Lopez and his partners say enough is enough and cut the loses to Genii, and sell up the team. pastor alone is going to bankrupt him in the first 6-7 races alone! No wonder Kimmi went, I can see Lotus being sold if they have a poor season.


The only way the math works out is if they can hold onto the team long enough to sell it on for 200M more than they paid for it.


Pastor brings money from PDVSA - the state-owned oil company. One would think there wouldn't be room for Total and PDVSA.


Romain has Total. Pastor state money


Lopez specifically mentioned PDVSA.Thats the state owned oil company.


I wonder what the IRS will say about this statement : " Why would we demand the repayment of these (internal) debts? That makes no sense. We reconciled the money as marketing expenses. "


Luckily for them, their IRS is called ACD, which stands for "Administration des Contributions Directes", i.e. the Luxembourg tax authority. I doubt they have much to fear from them, as otherwise Lopez would not make such outrageous statements in public.


Not sure what you're implying here. The internal debts to which he is referring are monies loaned by Genii to Lotus above and beyond their sponsorship obligations. He is simply saying that even though the additional money was not part of the agreed sponsorship contract, he is willing to right it off as a marketing expense.

This shows he cares about the team and wants it to succeed.


I thought the same thing. They've written off the 80 mill as an advertising cost there-in reducing any tax bill - if any. But I can see now they'll want that 80 mill back when the team is sold or some fool dumps money into a sinking ship.


Ferrari gave a list of 5 candidate names for their 2014 car: F14 T, F14 Maranello, F14 Scuderia, F166 Turbo or F616.

All TERRIBLE! But some more so.

First, car can't be named with any version of F14, because if they do I call Alonso preferential treatment even before we go racing. 14 is Alonso's number, so it's as if it's "Alonso's Ferrari". Although it would be funny to have Kimi beat Alonso 14 in F14 during 2014 season. (Which will happen by the way.)

It can't be F616 because 616 is the number of the beast as everyone knows. Although red is the Devil's favorite color.

And so by process of elimination boys and girls, Ferrari's 2014 challanger will be called F166 Turbo.

Once again, you've heard it here at JAonF1 first. Tell your friends!


It can’t be F616 because 616 is the number of the beast as everyone knows....

Isn't the number you are referring too 666?


It could be argued that money is a devil's invention. And when you invent something, you tend to ensure you have endless supply of it. Hence, not sure he was interested in monetary cost to rebrand to 616. Although clearly the revenue generation to replace all those 666 T-shirts with new funky font 616 Ts would tempt anyone. Just look at the size of the market!

I think he's more interested in souls. Wonder how many have sold their souls to the devil for a F1 WDC or a WCC.


Well when I'm WDC next year you'll know the answer 😉



When you dial 666 (also accepted since 2005 616), and hold the headset up to your brain, the dialing represents the desire to make a deal with the devil. And holding the phone up to your ear is how your soul gets registered with the man downstairs. Automated message is just confirmation of the transaction.

Everyone knows this Random.

I hope you weren't sill and dialed 666 or 616 to see what happens.


Not many I suspect - every time they dialed 666 they got an automated message saying "wrong number".


Scholars have found it to be 616. It was in 2005 and by then Devil was contacted, but apparently he wasn't willing to finance the marketing campaign to rebrand under the correct number. Strange move if you ask me, not like he's got a limited budget.


Tim has a good point.


If old Beelzebub had elected to be the title sponsor for Red Bull ,he would have been able to to his marketing for less than a tenth of the true cost - at least that's what Repucom say 😉


666 is the number of the beast.


616 is the number of the beast? I think you need to go back and watch The Omen again Sebee 🙂

Maybe they should call the car the F16. After their copyright issues with Ford a couple years back the only logical sequel is to take on the entire USAF! 😀


OK Random, that's funny.

But Pireli just signed up for 3 years, so the joke's on you.

Suck it up and like it, or you can always watch golf on TV.

Seriously, I say again, 2013 was a faster year than 2012. Also, 2014, it's going to be a fuel delta that will dictate things I fear. Tires will be just fine.


You seem to think I have a gripe with Pirelli but that's not the case.

In principle I do like what they've done with the tyres, so long as they don't go too extreme and then go changing compounds mid-season like they have before.


Oh yeah, I forgot. That F14 that Tom Cruise flew in Top Gun, also refered to as Tomcat.


Apparently 616 is the orignal. I know Iron Maiden doesn't agree, and I don't expect them to change the lyrics.

F14 is also a jet, you know it well. It's the awesome folding delta wing that Tom Cruise flew in Top Gun. F14s are no longer in service however. Top Gun of coure featuring that always F1 relevant quote: "I feel the need! The need for speed!"


Whereas now the relevant F1 quote is "I feel the need! The need to conserve tyres and drive to a delta time while managing my fuel flow and listening to my PR director!"

SOmehow it doesn't quite have the same ring to it 🙁


The above post will probably be the only one that Sebee doesn't comment on.

But I think 616 is not out of the question as I always thought 666 was the devils number.

I would've named it F166T but that is no longer an option.


616 is believed by some to have been the original Number of the Beast in the Book of Revelation in the Christian Bible. Different early versions of the Book of Revelation gave different numbers, and 666 had been widely accepted as the original number. In 2005, however, a fragment of papyrus 115 was revealed, containing the earliest known version of that part of the Book of Revelation discussing the Number of the Beast. It gave the number as 616, suggesting that this may have been the original.


If this year’s effort from Ferrari turns out to be a pig (again) then F616 would be an very appropriate designation.


The "number of the beast" is usually cited with "666" - here's the interesting bit about it:



See below, I posted the comment in a wrong spot. Basically, in 2005 they found proof that the original was in fact 616.

Funny that this is F1 relevant with the F616.


OK, so the team isn't in immediate danger of going pop at this point because the biggest debt is to another company its owner owns...

The next question is... How much money do Genii themselves have? I can't see them being able to shrug of $80m a year!

I like the guy and the team but they have been sailing close to the wind for years. It's funny how other commentators have consistently predicted the downfall of Vijay Mallya and Force India, but Genii, Lopez and Lotus were allowed to get away with the absurdity of the Quantum 'deal' without critical comment.


"Lopez and Lotus were allowed to get away with the absurdity of the Quantum ‘deal’ without critical comment"

The critics were there and believe me when I say we weren't too subtle 🙂


I know there was a lot of talk in the 'comments' section of blogs, but I don't remember seeing many of the blog authors acknowledging them as having a degree of justification!


/I have a feeling that most journalists knew what the deal was with Quantum, but knowing something and being able to say it are two very different things /

Such as: they knew much more about how the deal is serious than Google users? 😉

And, BTW, wasn't Quantum deal just said to be continued? No idea how it ends, but it's not over yet.


That's supposed to be "you're the author". Where are my grammars?


True, but if your the author of a blog - and a journalist no less - you have to worry about things like integrity and checking your facts and libel and other pesky things like that.

I have a feeling that most journalists knew what the deal was with Quantum, but knowing something and being able to say it are two very different things 🙂


Yeah, very good question, specially from people who's money Genii managing.

What a scam scheme.

Tornillo Amarillo

Off topic James, do you plan any changes in this website regarding layout, colors, etc....?

I mean, ...for 2014?



If it aint broke...


It's not Webber's Red Bull?


What's the problem by the way? Seems readable and enjoyable to me.




A more compact comments section would be great - perhaps a reddit style system (although the partisan up/down votes here could be a problem), or at least one which allows replies to comments to be collapsed and expanded.


I see a valid argument for hte expand/collapse comment. Although, usually the scripts for that elsewhere are quite ineffcient in browsers. I'm always impressed when I open some contest on this site with 1000 comments when it loads quickly and efficiently. I've grown to appreciate the logic of this layout.

I also put to you that it improves traffic and page views. Users don't come once, read the article, read the top voted comments. There are many good comments, and since they can't be arranged in order of +- votes, it's worth to come back to an article 3 or 4 times and read those new comments.


Needs more Silver, less Red and all the blue removed. 🙂


No Sebee, on the contrary I'm always one step ahead... 😉


I'd like to see a carbon fibre pattern somewhere myself.

How do you do silver on a computer screen anyway? I always wanted to do that so I could see if Random is creeping behind me reading my comments.


Small request please..

Can you ad the "Top Stories" box to the team pages (RBR, McL, Ferrari etc)

Would save having to go back to home page to find the next story I want to read. thanks


We will take that on board

Tornillo Amarillo



I still fail to understand what exactly is 'Lotus' in 'Team Lotus' ? They certainly are not a part of the Malaysian car giant,and Genii has no interest in the automotive industry. It made more sense when the other Lotus which is now Caterham was Lotus..oh nevermind !!


Be on the look out for an old Italian car brand making a comeback.

Regards to Tomas. 😉


Regarding Schumi...It's 3 weeks in a coma, with no news of plans to bring him out - which is a sign of the seriousness of the injury. Sure, there is no hurry, but this is long. The doctors have reportedly conducted a 3rd operation it's being reported.

It is devistating.


Yes most neurosurgeons say that up to 3 weeks coma is the best chance at full recovery.Apparently each day / week beyond that reduces the chances. Lets hope we hear something soon


Not sure what to make of the debt. Whether to think they're a sinking ship, or as 80 million of the debt is to Genii that it's really a moot point, and that the media are looking for a story?

On Romain - I like him, but he has to win a race before he's classed as a top three/four driver in my eyes. Let's not forget Monaco last year, too. But having said that, he is obviously quick (consistently so) and has definitely upped his game.

Either way, I'm properly looking forward to this season! So much uncertainty!


Even though the "group" may have settled in court (or out of it)issues regarding use of the "Lotus" name, they are not and never will be the Lotus we grew up with. The whole commercial approach and seeing their good name now becoming ever more tarnished is sad for some out here.


James with Lotus not having come to a deal with Renault yet and not knowing the engine specs etc how are they able to build their new car?


The regulations define the size and mounting points of the new engines including the gearbox size and where the batteries must be stored. Sounds like, from those who know more than I, that building a chassis to fit should be easier than in the past as the engines are pretty much interchangeable.


"Survival of the fittest' is NOT a Darwinian principle.


Romain Grosjean, since he's shown the maturity, should consider ditching Boullier as his manager and get off this sinking ship otherwise F1 will lose another talented driver in my opinion


You kidding right? If not for Boullier, he would never had a chance to drive F1 again. And if he did he would have been gone by mid year in both 2012 and 13.

Chilton got more chance to land a drive compare to Grosjean with out Team Principle as his manager.


More big talk from Gerard but unfortunately its just too wish washy.. GENII cant have a debt of 80m if its reconciled to marketing expense. Which is it ? there are laws in most countries which deal with the treatment of this. (Im sure this has some how been ring fenced- such as an advance in soonsorship If I were the new CEO Matthew Carter I d say thanks Genii for the 80m sponsorship you gave us - so we're all square now are we : ). Can we have another 80m more ?? Lol

As for outright speed ? Grosjean top 3 or 4!!- uhmm- hasnt won a race. Lets see Faster than Vettel , Hamilton, Alonso,Raikkonen even Hulkenberg ? I think not. An unhappy and in pain Raikkonen was 1/2 faster - their last time together and comprehensively beat him over both years despite the team boss being his manager. Grosjean is without a doubt the most over rated driver in the sport and has been for 2 years& James I blame you and Gerard and all the happy smiley kids for it lol.. Dont get me wrong hes done brilliantly to work his way up to perhaps top 6 but thats it- nothing more.


Grosjean has achieved more in his first 2 full seasons than Raikkonen had in his first 2 full seasons. Grosjean with two 2nd places and seven 3rd places. Raikkonen with one 2nd place and three 3rd places.

Grosjean has done about as well against Raikkonen this season as Raikkonen did against Coulthard in his 2nd full season. Keep in mind that Coulthard was not a world champion.

Grosjean, along with Maldonado, cop so much unwarranted flak. One is a race winner and the other has multiple podium finishes. Hulkenberg (who is also a great talent of the future) is not attacked like these two are, and he has not even made it on to the podium yet. Senna and Scheckter were super quick crashers early in their careers as well.


Michael Schumacher observed Raikkonen when he first turned a wheel at Sauber and even then he could see he could be champion at 21 in a car that was not a front runner. No one can say that about Grosjean even after a few seasons in F1 and a very good racing package.its almost comical how people try to compare anyone to him- he is Unique.

Switching teams from Sauber to Mclaren is not the same as staying at Mclaren or Lotus is it ?? Even then he was better than DC - & even he would admitt to that. Comparing a part experienced driver 27 (Grosjean)to a complete rookie at 21 is very flattering to someone isnt it ?? Comeon Really !

Im glad you mentioned all those drivers that crash alot, because even as the youngest F1 driver of his time Kimi made very few mistakes and his wheel to wheel racing was (& still is better than anyone around). Just watch Spa, Brazil 2012. Despite their sucesses Grosjean & Maldonado are still very prone to making wrong decisions in these circumstances- these are the things that hinder them from becoming world champions- same to some extent as Hulk- (Brazil 12) .

Comparing top 2 drivers to Kimi is fair enough because they are at least champions.But even they cannot drive with the same precision. Noone past or past has Kimis racing etiquette combined with that natural speed. This perhaps more than anything is why most people respect him.


It was Spa 2010 actually. He bumped into Button then. In 2009 he finished 3rd behind the Force India and of course Kimi won 🙂 As you know 🙂


@Sujith. I dont think Seb is as precise even today - forget 2008, Spa 2009 ? he had a brain fade and drove straight into the side of Button. Turkey 2010 with Webber..Even Brazil 2012.. Hes improving at the wheel to wheel stuff but noone is like Raikkonen and I say that without any hesitation- Past or Present.


Well said...Elie. Why do people keep forgetting the past?

Here's a reminder... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iJ_0U0LaxW8

Now seriously guys, it's an insult to Formula 1 to be comparing Grosjean with Kimi.

When was the last time we saw a young driver at the early part of his career do something like this? Sebastian Vettel in 2008? Well that's too far away counting the years. Proves Webber's point about a lack of pure talent in F1 these days.


Kimi Raikkonen was 21, with the shortest route to F1 in history... While Grosjean is 26!

Do the math, and you'd realize how rude it is to compare Grosjean with Kimi Raikkonen. Kimi was hailed as brilliant on debut year, while Grosjean was hailed as a First- Lap Nutcase lol


Regarding your comments about Grosjean having achieved nothing and Hulkenberg's apparent rejection by top teams.

I suppose it's pretty easy to make it on to the podium several times in today's super competitive Formula 1 with 5 champions on the grid. Yeah, a complete non achievement.

Hulkenberg is (unfortunately for him) quite tall, relative to most other drivers which adds significant mass to a driver and thus car. This mass cannot simply be exercised away. He is stuck with it even in tip top shape with minimal muscle mass. Not only does this affect the center of gravity on car and driver, it is a major issue for 2014 as packaging the new cars and keeping these at the minimum mass is proving very difficult. The lightest drivers are preferred as they grant the engineers more freedom and breathing space. Hulkenberg has not missed out on a top drive due to a lack of talent.

Mark Webber made the "first lap nutcase" comment about Grosjean in 2012. By the end of 2013 Grosjean had made tremendous improvements and for the most part redeemed himself. Webber even complimented him on his driving after Texas I believe.


Nothing else to add.


Wow. Very insightful. Does put Grosjean's achievements into context.


Grosjean hasn't achieved anything, so I fail to see what achievements people talk about.

Grosjean's only achievement has been crashing, costing Lotus money spare parts & costing Lotus in WCC points.

The Over-rating of Gro, just like Hulk is being overrated in 2013 by the media! Top Teams with Top Data sms'd no to him.


Why me?

He wasn't in my Top 5 of 2013!

He did improve a lot in the second half of the season, however. I can't wait to see how he goes in 2014.


Just concerned that all the challenges at Lotus won't give him a car to challenge with this year.


Maybe its the excitement I sensed whenever he outqualified Kimi. I guess its a great benchmark and too many other people confused this for race craft on Sunday.

He did have a great second half. Brake issues/ failures at Canada, Spa and even Monza would have made an even stronger disparity.

Romain should beat Pastor in. 2014. But if Pastor finds his feet quickly- Im tipping it maybe much closer than people think.


Totally off topic for this thread, but James, any confirmation of some of the reports coming out today regarding Schumacher's condition?

Also, any validity to this outrageous claim:

"Red Bull, it reports, has banned driver Daniel Ricciardo from surfing in the sea off his hometown of Perth in Australia because of the danger of shark attacks."

They do realise that, since 1791, we've had only 702 shark attacks and 202 deaths in Australia, from a population of (now) over 22 million?? That's less than 4 attacks per year, and less than 1 death per year...


If Red Bull have banned him from surfing I would understand. I live in Perth and I sure as hell wouldn't go in the ocean regardless of the statistical odds of being attacked by a Great White. Apart from maybe South Africa, Western Australia has the highest concentration of shark attacks in the world, particularly in recent times.

Regarding those statistics, people have only been swimming at the beach here in appreciable numbers since the 1930's at best. This will drastically alter those figures by around 250%.

Never thought I'd be talking about shark attacks on this site. Digression. 🙂


Love the statistics!

In the UK, there is an average of about one fatality from sky diving per year, out of a population of 63 million. Almost no risk involved at all.

heinzman (fan of: ALO)

Lopez cops a lot of criticism here, but I struggle to see problems with the above; it is nice for a senior figure to be straight forward regarding his position. Surely he didn't expect to tip so much of his own money into the team, but he moves on and puts the team first.

Also in terms of pure speed, IMO Grosjean is only bettered by Vettel, Hamilton and possibly Nico; Alonso and Kimi are not as quick over a single lap. It is an almost baseless criteria though - championships are won on so much more.


I don't know watching identical fastest sector times for Kimi for whole race is something else. Romain never achieved anything similar, he is more like Massa.


I liked this team from Enstone (Lotus?). But whatever spin they try to put on it they are in trouble, not only financial, but clearly the "brain drain" will affect their competitiveness. I think Eric Boullier has manfully stuck his task with a certain integrity, but as mentioned before, at ownership level there must be serious question marks - e.g. the Quantum dupe and the contradictory statements emerging from time to time. While they did attract some sponsorship, the fact that given their competitiveness they failed to land a really big title sponsors must be a sign that sponsors are dubious of backing this management/ownership. A pity, but it would be sad to lose this team from Enstone - having something gives and they can be once again "reborn" under different ownership ...


Such a badly run team. Does anyone believe the reason given for not announcing an engine partner?


They do not have one is the reason.


Did you even read the article?


YRS I did...it is my point that in the END they will not have an engine supplier I am saying the wheels are really going to fall off this!!


And so the Lotus saga rumbles on...

I am really tired of it, I understand Lotus as a brand is important to F1, but currently it is just an irritation.

I won't be surprised to see them quit F1 in a year or so. And I won't regret it -modern "itarations" (plural) of Lotus have no historical value or roots to be considered meaningful.


Don't forget this is the only team that appeared to get close to Red Bull at the end of last year. And this with probably a quarter of the budget, and without the special bonus that Red Bull, Ferrari, McLaren and Mercedes get from Bernie.

A badly run team would be one with a big budget that doesn't perform; perhaps the previous three years of Mercedes is an example. A team with a small budget that pushes for the lead must be a very well run team.

As for the debt, how does the £80m from Genii compare to the money Materschitz has put into Red Bull? Or Malja into Force India? And I'd bet the accounts of Sauber and Williams are similarly interesting.


Really? The critical difference is that Red Bull is a consumer brand that benefits from the advertising, and it generates sufficient cash flow to easily fund whatever demands RBR has on said funds.


That Lotus car seemed to be teeming with sponsor logos over the last 2 years. Now I understand that some of these may be low value deals but when I look at the space and visibility given to brands like Burn, Total (funds Romain's place but I'm pretty sure there's more to the deal than just the driver), Clear, Rexona et al, one wonders how Lopez and Lux burnt this €114 million hole. Have they been closing sponsor deals at bargain prices or have they been caught out by the cost structure at the Enstone base and operations? The car has always looked it had no space for more sponsors which is a rarity in today's F1 grid. With Raikkonnen in their team, Lopez probably had the best chance at securing some lucrative sponsor deals. Romain and Pastor are not exactly awe inducing by a mile.


Exactly! Their cars are Full of Sponsors! Where is ghat money?

Sponsors like Rexona & Burn have used Kimi Raikkonen's Image and Presence for 2 Years due to him being a Lotus Driver. They would have otherwise have to pay a personality like Kimi close to a few Million for using his Image!! But Sponsors got it done for Free because they are paying Lotus for the priveledge!

But Lotus/ Lopez hasn't passed on part of sponsors money to Kimi which the sponsors gave! Reeks of scamming your own employee by Lopez.


its not a badly run team. for their limited budget they were running near the front the last few years. sponsorship money seems to have gone down the grid to less capable teams and their pie in the sky promises. maybe these sponsors need to take another look.At least Maldonados sponsors saw sense.


Incorrect! They were mostly running at the front because Kimi Raikkonen was driving one of the Lotus! It wouldn't be front runner with Grosjean who scored good results thanks to copying Kimi's great setup solutions with engineers.

In anycase, they weren't front runners unless you only coulnt Kimi's points in 2012 & 2011. Sauber & Perez scored a few podiums in 2011, but no one is calling then a frint runner, are they! Kimi is the difference, and they chose to scam him.. Funny business.


Great setup solutions? Kimi was running an excellent setup in India wasn't he, and Grosjean put in a terrible drive passing 13 cars to finish third. Kimi is a championship winner with many more seasons of experience, it would be expected that he does better than Grosjean.

Both of Kimi's wins with Lotus were flukes. Especially Abu Dhabi 2012.


2011 typo for 2013.


I dont know if it was just a motivation issue with Kimi, but the last half of 2013 Romain was the faster of the lotus Drivers.

The last handful of races Romain was the only driver (for me) who actually kept up with Vettel. Taking into account that the Redbull was a better package, this shows that Romain has the capability to not only win a couple of races, but who knows, if that Lotus hits the sweet spot there could be a serious championship campaign.


Of course it's a motivation issue with Kimi. That's his problem. If he just doesn't feel like it, or he's a bit hungover, or a bit tired. I'm being facetious (I hope) but he has at times not cared about his obligations to his team. Ferrari (who were paying him around $50 million) in 2009 is an example where he just stopped caring. If Alonso bests him frequently enough, it will happen again and Ferrari will look stupid for having allowed it.


Unless we talking about "last half of 2013" as in Indian GP when Kimi's tyres were worn, I find you comment wishful at best.


Tyre management is a fundamental area which drivers are expected to take responsibility for. If Romain managed it, why couldnt Kimi?

Kimi's motivation was gone because the pay was'nt good enough.

The results of the last half of 2013 are fact not wishful. I understand that Kimi had back troubles, but I think half of it was preparation for next season.


Lotus have made massive strides over the past 2 years, but it's clear they've been living above their means.

Sad but since the banning of tobacco sponsorship the funding just isn't there anymore and F1 really does need to cut it's cloth accordingly via a budget cap.

I've always been against a budget cap, but at this rate we'll have 3 teams on the grid in 5 years time and it's just not sustainable. Action needs to be taken.


I'm a broken record on this issue. Tobacco advertising should never have been banned. It makes no difference anyhow.


they banned tobacco but force India is filled with alcohol from nose to tail... scotch whisky vodka beer..


Sad all this talk of divers does not mean anything int the end, Lotus will go down they have been bleeding to long .


616 is believed by some to have been the originalNumber of the Beast in the Book of Revelation in theChristian Bible.[1] Different early versions of the Book of Revelation gave different numbers, and 666 had been widely accepted as the original number. In 2005, however, a fragment of papyrus 115 was revealed, containing the earliest known version of that part of the Book of Revelation discussing the Number of the Beast. It gave the number as 616, suggesting that this may have been the original.

I can't believe this is F1 relevant. Thanks Ferrari!


Yes yes yes Mr Lopez, Grosjean is the top 3 fastest driver & will bring alot of WCC points for you in 2014 plus the $$$ you are going to get from Pastor.


I always told this Lotus reincarnation was very transient thing.


I find it very odd that any "fan" would care if a team is paying their employees or not. The bottom line is, Lotus has been a great team these last few season, and everyone better be concerned that they make it in the long run. The majority of the field is in the same trouble as they are.


It does not sound too promising for Lotus in 2014.

I don't understand the situation with regards to the engine they will run. I am not sure how much each of the three types of engine will differ. I would assume that a car designed around a particular power plan won't be as performant should a late switch become a reality. Brawn done that and did not fare too badly for it. I would not be upset if Lotus achieved the same, nor would I be if they do it with their "present" engine partner.

Romain can be fast no doubts. Top 3 seems a bit much. Lets see how he reacts to being the lead driver this season. I am pro Lotus and Grosjean for sure, but not exclusively, and I hope the coming season won't be as bad for them as it may look now. Marc


In any other business sector, accumulating debts of around 75% of revenues in 3 seasons (after apparently buying said business from the previous owners for 1 pound) would be taken as a sign of fundamentally bad business practice. I am amazed that Lotus F1 still exists given that any objective view based on financials would conclude that it is not viable. When are they going to match the expenditure to the revenues?


Seem to remember a big title-sponsorship deal with Honeywell falling through and the end of 2012, not to mention Lotus Cars pulling out a few years ago. There must be something else going on behind the scenes because they really can't seem to book a regular sponsor at the moment, Burn and Avanade aside.


Ciaron Pilbeam, Chief Engineer is the latest to leave today... going to McLaren


I can't believe the great Jackie Stewart is mixed up with these Bozos, except that I know Jackie Stewart and he will do anything for a buck(or a Pound or a Euro)


Note to Gerard Lopez: If you own 100% of the equity of a company, and you give the company Eur 100 million to plug an annual Eur 30 million cash flow deficit, that 100 million is called "equity", not "debt".


Give us some figures to compare with other teams, so we can establish whether this really is a lot or not. Nobody can imagine how much 114m untill they have compared it with something else.


lotus and geni capital if yu dont have money sold it to arab man yu are a beglar lotus


Many years ago, Net sports activities book betting was risky.

Gene Wojciechowski's ode to college football is a great read.

During matches rush for football tickets goes beyond any margin, and it becomes tough for the organisers to handle that.

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