Is Lotus gone - or just gone loopy?Comment on this story
A report this morning that new owners DRB-HICOM were considering putting Lotus into administration must have touched a nerve at the struggling sports-car company, because they responded almost instantly with a rant so off the wall it would have made more sense if it had been sent out on the first of this month…
It starts off by saying that, just because Lotus boss Dany Bahar is on leave doesn't mean he's been fired. And likewise, Dato' Sri Syed is still in charge at Proton.
Who do these guys think they're working for, the SABC?
In a classic case of the pot calling the kettle bankrupt, they accuse Caterham F1 team principal Tony Fernandes of being behind these nasty, unfounded rumours, perhaps because “he's still frustrated about owning Caterham instead of Lotus and competing with Hispania and Marussia in F1, rather than Mercedes and Ferrari”.
“And while we're on the subject: did you know Caterham Group chief technical officer Mike Gascoyne has gone missing - he's looking for the 30 to 40 points he predicted for the last F1 season.”
Then it accuses one Joe Saward of being the source of the rumours, alleging that, far from being an independent journalist, he is in fact an active director of the Caterham Group.
One of the more interesting allegations is that Lotus is no longer involved in F1.
Lotus responds with an incredibly convoluted explanation of the relationship between itself and the Genii Group (which has owned and been running what used to the Renault F1 team for several years), involving a new 'governance agreement' and a £30 million (R380 million) loan for which Genii has pledged the entire team and all its assets as collateral, including “all plant, machinery, show cars, computers, office and the Lotus F1 Team headquarters”.
And is Lotus about to fold?
“Rubbish, although the takeover of our parent company Proton by DRB-HICOM couldn't have come at a worse time. Funding has been restricted and DRB-HICOM is taking time to understand what to do with this business - but at no point has DRB-HICOM indicated to Lotus that it intends to put the company into administration.
“We haven't denied that Lotus is going through a very difficult phase at the moment but we are showing true fighting spirit every day in trying to keep this vision alive - no matter what people outside of Lotus may say or tweet or blog.”
So there you have it - although nobody on either side has denied that DRB-HICOM would sell Lotus tomorrow it could find a sucker to take it on…