It is interesting to note that Infinity Racing Partners Ltd, which announced in June that it was buying 35 percent of Lotus F1 Team, has changed its name to Quantum Motorsports Ltd, to avoid any complications with Infiniti Red Bull Racing. This clearly suggests that the deal is close to being completed and that it has not gone away, as some have suggested.
This is good news for Lotus, which has been waiting for the money to arrive for four months. It seems that the delays have been caused by compliance questions arising from the transfer of such large amounts of money around the world, which is not easy these days.
The word is that when the money arrives Lotus will no longer have any debts and it will also have a solid budget for a number of years ahead, thanks to money from companies linked to the buyers. This would be similar in style to the arrangement that exists with Scuderia Toro Rosso and Aabar at the moment.
The one question that remains is whether such an advantageous deal also includes the eventual handover of control to the new investors. This is believed to be the case with Scuderia Toro Rosso, as Aabar is believed to have some kind of option arrangement with its backers, and it may also be the case with Lotus, as Genii Capital has not landed much sponsorship on the last few years so there is no real reason to invest in the team on that basis. It is far more likely that now Genii understands how tough running an F1 team can be, they would use this opportunity to offload more shares and cash in on the opportunity to get out. Team owner Gerard Lopez talks about his passion for the sport, but successful investors never let passion get in the way of a good deal. Remember that Genii was in effect given the team by Renault back in 2009 when the French firm wanted to get out of F1 following the Singapore Scandal. The Genii plan has always been to make money on the investment by putting value into the business – while also using it as a B2B operation – and then selling it. This is the most likely scenario behind the current events as the team has been losing staff and suffering with suppliers because there was no more money coming in from Genii.
It would be no surprise therefore to see Genii Partners Eric Lux and Gerard Lopez disappearing from the F1 scene in the months ahead. Their gamble will probably end up working, as they will have got the debts down to zero and still have shares left to sell, so the entire process will have been a success, even if it was a bit if a rough ride for those involved on the ground.
Watch out for news along these lines…