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Lotus lands new partner as Boullier claims 2014 budget is ‘ring fenced’
Posted By: James Allen  |  20 Jan 2014   |  2:41 pm GMT  |  91 comments

Lotus F1 team today announced a new sponsorship deal with Saxo Bank, the long time cycling sponsor putting its toe in the water of F1 for the first time.

The deal means fresh budget for the team, which the owner Gerard Lopez admitted recently was over €100 million in debt. It also gives some bilateral marketing benefits with the cycling team which competes for top honours in cycling’s blue riband events like the Tour de France and Giro d’Italia.

After Lopez’ interview in Auto Motor und Sport last week in which he admitted the debts but said that the team would be funded for 2014, team principal Eric Boullier told Autosport that his budget for the season had been secured and he has privately told colleagues and fellow team owners that it is “ring fenced”, meaning that it is secured for the year. If this proves over time to be the case it will be a relief to employees and suppliers alike.

After the difficulties of 2013, which saw employees regularly going unpaid and driver Kimi Raikkonen walking out with two races to go due to non-payment of his salary, Boullier is hoping to spend what he has on his team and focus on competing for top results again.

“The team is in good shape now definitely with some guarantees over the operational finance needs,” he told Autosport. “I think now at least for 2014 and a little bit beyond, the team now can stabilize. We can bring a little bit of quietness, so not being as intense but still performing.”

Lotus will miss the first test in Jerez next week, but will be present at both the Bahrain tests. Although the team began work early on the 2014 hybrid turbo car, it also pushed hard in the closing stages of the 2013 season, securing a sequence of podium finishes in the final races – like the second place in Austin (pictured above), which have clearly added a few weeks to the development time for the 2014 chassis, along with the financial uncertainties.

* Meanwhile Caterham is set to reveal its drivers at a preseason launch event in Leafield tomorrow. After that the first of the car launches takes place with McLaren revealing its challenger online on Friday, Ferrari launching its car on Saturday in Maranello, then Sauber on Sunday. Toro Rosso, Mercedes and Red Bull will all be revealed next week ahead of the first F1 test of the hybrid turbo era at Jerez from 28-31 January.

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I still don’t really understand this whole Renault/ Lotus deal. Renault sold the naming & sponsor rights to Genii Capital who was trying to develop the Lotus name/ brand for importing Chinese cars (which didn’t work out). Why don’t Renault say the hell with this and take their team back?


I like Team Enstone, a great engineering outfit… However I fear the financial troubles and the loss of Kimi will send them back to a 1999 – 2001 or 2007 – 2009 type slump.

History shows them to be a very cyclical team in terms of performance.


Sorry if I’ve missed this, but does anyone know if Kimi has actually been paid for 2013?



I think he’s accepted a partial payment.


Kimi hasn’t been paid, thats confirmed by Kimi himself.

Lotus keep lying that they have paid Kimi, in July 2013 & onwards.

So till Kimi says anything on the matter, it’s reasonable to realize Lotus are still finsncially screwing their Top Performing Employee (ex)!


Even more entertaining when you know the history of the V sign.

It was given by the English long bow men to the French, who were given a bashing, after the battle of Agincourt. When captured by the French they had their string fingers cut off by their captors hence the sign by the victors !


No up yours Eric and Romain .. Lol. Whats up with this pic!..? .

Its good to see Saxo add a little sponsorship to Lotus but Ive not seen any indications that its substantial and wont eliminate Lotus financial problems – only enough to help a little get them racing this year. Lets hope Lotus find some serious investors this year..Either way Im not following Lotus because I dont see Grosjean as the next best thing. Cant say that Maldonado does either But somehow his win in Spain ’12 still in that Williams still resonates a little more.


Please for Lotus, as they’ve done a Great job in the Last couple of Years to Catch Up with the Top Teams, even with Budget issues Hanging over them.

*McLaren Launch event on Friday, will Whitmarsh be there?


I very much doubt it



we all know how careful one must be when reading this kind of statements.

So, funding has been secured. Ok, but at what level? To compete with the big boys, or to survive somewhere in the midfield?


I wouldn’t read too much into Lotus’s debt position. As James pointed out, most of the debt is to the team’s owners. A lot of investors will inject debt rather than capital for better taxation treatment.

However, the real question journalists should be asking is how Genii is funding their debt injection into the team. Not many people (including billionaires) have that much cash sitting around. Most of it is tied up in company stock. So whats to say that Genii, not Lotus, aren’t on the verge of bankruptcy?


I think the headline should be :

“Valsecchi out. Lotus signs Sorensen as test/reserve driver and he brings Saxo Bank money with him”


Brings money, is a strong word. Unless we talking in DKK, couple of digits might be missing from your usual big sponsor pay out.

Might pay for the pre-season testing and buy them more time.


Or “David v Saxo $”?




I shouldn’t laugh but that was too funny….


There was an interview a little while ago where the team acknowledged the debt but since the debt is almost all to the Genii group, it doesn’t really make any difference. They are hardly going to wind up their own team.


Owners of Saxo has stated to Danish media that this is a small dip which will give them a couple of hospitality events etc – nothing huge… Its a very (very) far cry from securing the overall budget. I think 2014 looks bleak for Lotus which is kinda sad given the impressive results of late – RG is far from proven (1/2 season of proper driving doesnt cut it) and Maldonado couldnt even match his rookie team mate at Williams – I hope Im wrong..


Great news. Hope we get to see a single digit version of the photo soon.


This is good news for Team Lotus happy they are getting their finances sorted as this would lead to more competition up front looking forward to seeing Lotus tame Pastor and also whether Grosjean continues his rise and change in fortunes!


It’s great news from Lotus. Lets hope that they can put on another great show this season and resolve their sponsorship and debt issues before the end.

As for the funny pic, Grosjean’s expression is of the downright rude kind, so you can easily imagine a balloon beside him that say’s %$£%*!!!


Re the Mclaren launch this Friday. Seems they have launched their 2014 supporter clothing/merchandise and interestingly only signage is McLaren, Mobil and Mercedes. Nothing in way of sponsor replacing Vodafone. Would be strange to launch the 2014 clothing line before the car if there was a new sponsor expected to be revealed with the car launch


Pic: Lotus launch their new “invisible cigars”


You’ve got to be pretty brave / reckless to tie yourself up with this mob of …{I dare not finish}

One does not expect a bank to be either of those things. Therefore, hard to make sense of this…..


James, is the choice of photo accidental? Don’t think so. Great sense of humour!

Cheers, Bart


Perhaps I’m missing something, but if Lotus had 110M debt (and I guess it was GBP, not EUR!), of which about 80M was the internal debt with Genii, that would leave current debt of about 30M. And they expect to receive some 60M GBP prize for their WCC place, which would leave quite an surplus…


They already spent that last year..


It was £119m and whilst 80 was Genii “marketing”. That leaves £39. Their earnings were approx $28m (£20m) last year. Even if its £30m it wont clear their debts.

They get €30m from PDVSA and several more from others, merchandising etc to go racing. It will be interesting to know how much this deal with Saxo is worth.


/Their earnings were approx $28m /

If you meant prize money, then you’re deeply wrong. It’s over $70m.


Please start with this:

I also remember Christian Sylt writing that this year’s prize budget would be about $750m in total.


I read it on Gp1 website. Only the top teams get around 100m mark each with Ferrari a but more. Given that 50% of the earnings are split 500million – it does not leave much for the other 6 teams.(11th gets 0 now)

If you have a link or sources to where you read it please share otherwise you cannot say “your deeply wrong”


Which would be needed for operating cashflow for their business until the next year’s payment from Mr E.


I’m glad they got their funding in place.

For me, though, the big question is did they have enough funding in place over the course of 2013 to do proper development on the 2014 car?

It’s all well and good to be able to pay the bills from here on, but if the 2014 car suffered from lack of development funds, they will be well behind the eight-ball.


Completely agree – this is the key question.

Restricted funds in 2013 (when they were still pushing development of the 2013 car into the later part of the season) surely means the 2014 car must be been comprimised to some extent.


i think its a sign to some f1 fans. just watch the racing and stop sniping.


Have any of the employees or suppliers confired that their obligations have been discharged? Thought that the reasn for Kimi leaving was to have back surgery and be ready for 2014???

Wouldn’t ya think that Lopez should have stepped up to the plate and honored all obligations, especially to employees/drivers and all suppliers with his comments that they had been bankrolling the team?

Makes it even easier to understand that non-payment of millions owed would support the reasoning to take sick leave, but will we ever know for sure? And, if it were known, what difference would it make?


The legends say, beware of a dog who does not bark,it seems Lotus bark to much lately with a lot of p*ss and hot wind.

Boullier with a smile like a split watermelon one must ignore,instead a closer look at Grosjean tells a true story.


“We can bring a little bit of quietness, so not being as intense but still performing.”

This suggests they don’t have the budget to compete as they have done the last two years. A worrying phrase. Who knows where anyone will start off performance wise though…


At last some good news for the Lotus team as Saxo Bank gets behind their cause and yes this couldn’t have come at a better time as the team is very much in the Red.

Now the only thing left to do is for the team to go out there and perform on track, which also would go a long way in slashing their debt.

As for Kimi, he better hopes he doesn’t regret getting impatient and leaving the team for it’s always better to eat vegetables in a family were there’s a nice environment than feast on the finest meat in a family were their is constant turmoil (and PR work)


Not particularly looking forward to the car launches as gone are the days when F1 was all about pretty cars e.g. 2008 and 2004 seasons >>> to mention but a few.


This is a very optimistic take on things. I’d be very surprised if Saxo Bank deal even worth 7 million.

With regards to engine cost and Lotuses selective repayment policy. I don’t see how they can present enough security on actually being paid to their various partners.

As soon as they saw how good Kimi was performing in 2012, their management team should have capitalized on that success instead they wasted it as amateurs and further damaged image of the team. Pure incompetence, while their engineering team was doing miracles.

Why on earth would anyone sponsor or partner a team that is run by headless chickens. Grosjean should have been replaced in 2012 for someone who whole team would not have to come up with excuses of potential improvement. 2013 was again half work done by the Frenchman.


The Lotus family threw vegetables at him towards the end of last season…


One such “vegetable” fell on the track right infront of Vettel while racing the previous season 🙂

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