As fears about Lotus’ well being mount, their 2013 reserve driver Davide Valsecchi has revealed he has not yet been paid by the Enstone based team, as he looks set to sever ties with them.
As reigning GP2 champion, 26-year-old Italian Valsecchi served last year as Lotus’ reserve driver, but he admitted last week he is now likely to exit.
“After a 2013 season in which I travelled a lot but did not get on the track, I want to go back to wearing overalls and a helmet,” he had said.
When Lotus overlooked him late last season as Kimi Raikkonen’s replacement in favour of Heikki Kovalainen, Valsecchi admitted that the decision made him “angry”.
“I thought that, in their choice, my willpower would prevail over a driver like the Finn, who is at the end of his career,” he told the Italian website Formula 1passion.it this week.
Valsecchi admits that he is likely to leave Formula 1 because powerful pay-drivers “such as the Mexicans or Venezuelans” have priced drivers like him out of the market.
“I don’t conceal my desire to get into Indycar,” he said.
In the meantime, there are real fears among Lotus’ fans about financial the health of the Enstone based team.
Although highly competitive, the black and gold liveried outfit finished last season amid headlines about its elusive Quantum buy-in deal, and now Lotus has been only conditionally listed on the 2014 entry list.
The very latest news is that team CEO Patrick Louis has resigned.
It is believed that Lotus, having lost Finn Kimi Raikkonen to Ferrari because he wasn’t paid, is struggling to raise its more than $2 million FIA entry fee for 2014.
Now, Valsecchi has admitted the team has failed even to pay his small 2013 salary.
“According to my contract my salary was like that of a waiter,” he revealed. “They haven’t paid me yet. I’m sure that as soon as they’ll be in a position to do so, they’ll solve their debt.”
Valsecchi said the Kovalainen affair made him angry and “bitter”, but he trusts Lotus to eventually pay, saying that “the team has always behaved well towards me”.
“I’m very grateful to Lotus for having chosen me as third driver, without asking anything in return. I can’t complain,” he said.
“Try to look for a job as third driver without paying a single euro! We’re talking about a team that could sell a seat for at least two or three million euros.” (GMM)
Subbed by AJN.