Lotus F1 Team chairman and co-owner Gerard Lopez has rubbished suggestions that have again emerged which suggest his team is in financial trouble, with claims that team members and suppliers have not been paid.
The team announced a €120 million debt in its annual financial report – the largest deficit in Formula 1 history – but Lopez, whose Genii Capital investment group bought out the then-Renault squad in 2009, claims that most people outside the team don’t understand its finances.
“Anybody half-smart 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,” he told Autosport.
“The salaries have always been paid on time and there has never been even a hint of a potential strike by our people at the factory.
“We usually don’t comment on these things, but in this case it’s unfair on the people working in the company to be saying things like that.”
Lopez affirmed that his team does have the finances to continue to develop its successful E21 challenger – which has taken the team to a competitive chance of finishing second overall in the Constructors’ Championship standings – but admitted that the outfit will have to split its resources between developing its 2013 car and preparing for 2014.
“What is true is that, just like everyone else, a lot of the big stuff like the double DRS has already been developed but is going to be put on the car for the upcoming races,” he continued.
“In the second half of the season all you are doing is coming up with new wings, you’re not look at changing the wheelbase or things like that – those are things you do in the first 10 races.”
Lopez, co-owner of Genii Capital, which bought the then-Renault squad in late 2009,