The people who own Lotus have plenty of money, and as long as they go on spending a little of it, it will stay alive. However it does the sport no favours when teams don’t pay until their creditors get them into court. The reality of this strategy is fairly clear: the team is being kept alive on a drip-feed of finance and is waiting for salvation in the form of a buyer.
It is all very well saying that all is well and the team is not for sale, but that’s not the truth. It is in a holding pattern until a deal can be found. The team is not going anywhere without an injection of finance and owner enthusiasm. The key question is whether there are any buyers out there? Renault is the logical purchaser, but it is clear that Renault is struggling to find money to do this. It has been clear for a long time that Renault boss Carlos Ghosn is only really interested in F1 when he can be in the spotlight if his engines are winning. If the teams are struggling, he does a magician’s turn and disappears without trace. He doesn’t care and perhaps this is one reason why the company struggles in F1 at the moment. Without unity of purpose and support the lower echelons in any company feel unloved and demotivated. Why bother? The racers go on fighting, of course, but battling negativity is not easy.
So what happens if Renault fails to buy Lotus? I’m absolutely sure that such as asset will not disappear. It is too valuable. Enstone is one of the few teams that has everything on-site and at a sensible level. They don’t waste things, like some other teams. It is easy to write that the team is close to the edge. Sure it is, but it will only go over the edge if there is illogical thinking. That was the downfall of Marussia, although the team was kept going by proper people within the management who refused to give up. Caterham was a silly mess which should never have been created, but once it had been, it was too difficult to fix. Lotus is none of these things – at least not yet. There are buyers out there for the right team and let us hope that something happens soon to get the team on a solid path again.