Amid the Formula 1 summer break reports emerged that staff at Enstone are on the verge of striking due to unpaid salaries. Lotus team owners Genii Capital through Gerard Lopez have slammed the allegations.
“Regarding the €120 million debt, anyone can find out that number by going to Companies House records and will see that out of that, over €90 million is not real debt but shareholder loans made to the company,” declared Lopez to several French media outlets.
“Staff salaries have always been paid on time and there has never been even a hint of a strike by our people at the [Enstone] factory,” said Lopez. “Usually we don’t comment on these things, but in this case it’s unfair to the people working in our company to be reading reports like that.”
The Genii boss pointed out, “When we took over this team, it was eighth in the championship. It had a 50% wind-tunnel, now it’s 60%. The team didn’t have a driver-in-the-loop simulator, now it does. It didn’t have a gearbox dyno, now it has.”
“Now [Lotus] has a bunch of things that it did not have even as a works team. As they say in other sports, you do your talking on the field and I guess we do our talking on the track,” added Lopez.
In June Lotus announced that a consortium of private investors, including an American hedge fund manager and an Abu Dhabi-based multinational business group, had acquired a 35 percent stake in the team.
The team said in a statement at the time that Infinity Racing Partners Limited had joined Luxembourg-based Genii Capital, who retain the remaining 65 percent through an investment vehicle, as shareholders. Lopez would continue as chairman.
The statement said that Infinity Racing also included “royal family interests of a major oil producing nation” among its investors. It named Mansoor Ijaz as chairman, with Suhail Al Dhaheri as vice-chairman.
“Infinity Racing’s principals have exceptional expertise and a proven strong track record in developing and delivering high quality technologies,” Lopez said.
Meanwhile Lotus are trying hard to convince their star driver Kimi Raikkonen to stay with the team beyond 2013, as Red Bull are actively courting the Finn to replace Mark Webber and team-up with world champion Sebastian Vettel. (GP247)
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