Bernie Ecclestone pays Lotus F1 team's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix bills

Formula 1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone has been forced to step in and help Lotus guarantee its place in the season-closing Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Autosport can reveal

Bernie Ecclestone pays Lotus F1 team's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix bills

With details still being finalised with regard to Renault's takeover, but with the protracted talks nearing an end, it has led to ongoing delays in the paying of bills.

One of those relates to the Yas Marina circuit, which resulted in Lotus personnel being locked out and the team's equipment sat at Abu Dhabi airport awaiting transportation to the track.

Ecclestone eventually paid the overdue amount, allowing staff to start unpacking on Thursday morning, two days behind schedule.

Not for the first time this season, Lotus mechanics are hastily assembling the team's cars ahead of a scrutineering session that will take place shortly prior to first practice.

Lotus trackside director of operations Alan Permane has confirmed to Autosport the team will be on track for practice one, which commences at 1pm local time on Friday, later than the majority of races due to the twilight start of the grand prix.

Pastor Maldonado, looking on as forklift trucks manoeuvred their way through the paddock, said: "We will be ready for tomorrow.

"We have to work harder and quicker than usual, but our guys are very strong and fit. They are used to this so there should be no problem.

"Obviously it is very difficult to arrive at every race and have something new, but this is something we have. We will do our best.

"We are united, we are together, this is a good team. We need to show we are all here together."

With Renault due to be returning as a works team for next season, Maldonado would like to believe it is the last time he and the staff will have to endure such a tough start to a weekend.

"I hope that, next season, we will sort this kind of problem which is causing more tension and pressure for everyone," added Maldonado.

"Hopefully we can get some news soon [on the takeover]. It is very important to know our future.

"It is quite clear there is a negotiation and it is very close to a deal.

"Every day that passes it gets closer, but until we have the final confirmation it is always difficult.

"It is something that should happen. It would be the best for the team and for these guys so hopefully it can happen soon."

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