Lotus F1 team 'in limbo' waiting for final HMRC High Court hearing

The Lotus Formula 1 team is confident of staving off administration, with a final deadline over unpaid debts to HMRC looming on Monday

Lotus F1 team 'in limbo' waiting for final HMRC High Court hearing

The team's financial state has been highlighted this week in Japan as freight was late arriving to the Suzuka paddock, while all staff at the circuit have been locked out of the team hospitality unit.

While Lotus will compete this weekend, its future is on the line as it returns to the High Court on Monday as it owes HMRC £2.7million in PAYE (income tax and national insurance) - £900,000 each for June, July and August.

Justice Birrs, however, made clear at the last hearing on September 18 he would not grant a further adjournment beyond Monday.

In agreeing to the second adjournment last Friday Justice Birrs was satisfied there was "a genuinely real prospect" of Renault completing the first stage of a deal to acquire Lotus that would "allow significant funding to go into the company".

At present, that deal remains in limbo, with work continuing to go on behind the scenes to try to get it over the line and to avert administration that would end the takeover, result in the loss of over 400 jobs and mean Lotus would not see out the season.

Lotus CEO Matthew Carter told AUTOSPORT: "As far as I'm aware the potential new shareholders [Renault] are aware of the deadline, and as far as I'm aware the deadline will be met."

Despite Justice Birrs' remarks, there is a possibility Lotus's confirmation of Pastor Maldonado last Sunday as one of its drivers for 2016 - triggering forthcoming payments from backer PDVSA - may satisfy HMRC and prove enough for the judge dismiss the case.

But the clock is ticking on the Renault deal, with Carter adding: "We are in limbo until we know the overall deal is concluded.

"As soon as we know then things will start falling into place."

Carter recognises the fact Lotus cannot pay the £27,000 required to unlock its hospitality unit is a sad reflection on the position the team finds itself in.

F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone came to the rescue of the mechanics by providing them with Paddock Club catering for the day.

Explaining the situation, Carter said: "We have to make certain decisions as to what we pay and what priorities we make payments in.

"The hospitality at the circuit wasn't one of the priorities at the moment.

"We are still hoping we get the keys for tomorrow, and we'll see where we go.

"I appreciate it doesn't look good for the team at all, nor the sport, but I guess its indicative of where we are at the moment."

Asked whether a payment would be forthcoming for the hospitality, he replied: "No, but I'm hoping that we'll come to some sort of agreement with the circuit."

shares
comments
Jenson Button can see himself racing in WEC after F1 career

Previous article

Jenson Button can see himself racing in WEC after F1 career

Next article

How to make an F1 car fast in the wet

How to make an F1 car fast in the wet
Load comments
The other notable Monza escape that F1 should learn from Plus

The other notable Monza escape that F1 should learn from

OPINION: The headlines were dominated by the Italian Grand Prix crash between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton, who had the halo to thank for avoiding potentially serious injury. But two days earlier, Formula 1 had a lucky escape with a Monza pitlane incident that could also have had grave consequences

How Monza only added more questions to F1's sprint race conundrum Plus

How Monza only added more questions to F1's sprint race conundrum

With two sprint races under its belt, Formula 1 must now consider its options for them going forward. While they've helped deliver exciting racing on Sundays, the sprints themselves have been somewhat lacking - creating yet another conundrum for F1 to solve...

Formula 1
Sep 16, 2021
Who should Alfa Romeo sign for 2022's F1 season? Plus

Who should Alfa Romeo sign for 2022's F1 season?

OPINION: With Valtteri Bottas already signed up for 2022, all eyes are on the race for the second seat at Alfa Romeo next year. Antonio Giovinazzi is the current incumbent, but faces a tough competition from appealing short and long-term prospects

Formula 1
Sep 15, 2021
The "forced break" that was key to Ricciardo's Monza excellence Plus

The "forced break" that was key to Ricciardo's Monza excellence

OPINION: Daniel Ricciardo has long been considered one of Formula 1’s elite drivers. But his struggles at McLaren since switching from Renault for 2021 have been painful to watch at times. Yet he’s recovered to banish those memories with a famous Monza win – built on a critically important foundation

Formula 1
Sep 14, 2021
How Verstappen is ruining his F1 title battle with Hamilton Plus

How Verstappen is ruining his F1 title battle with Hamilton

OPINION: The Italian GP clash between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen followed a running theme in the 2021 Formula 1 title fight. Their close-quarters battles have often resulted in contact - and although Hamilton has shown a willingness to back off, Verstappen must learn to temper his aggression

Formula 1
Sep 14, 2021
Italian Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Italian Grand Prix Driver Ratings

Two drivers produced maximum-score performances as, for the second year in a row, Monza threw up an unpredictable result that left several others ruing what might have been

Formula 1
Sep 13, 2021
Why Ricciardo was set for Monza F1 triumph even without Verstappen/Hamilton crash Plus

Why Ricciardo was set for Monza F1 triumph even without Verstappen/Hamilton crash

The clash between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton was the major flashpoint the 2021 Italian Grand Prix will be remembered for. Yet by this point, race leader Daniel Ricciardo had already done the hard work that would put him in position to end his and McLaren's lengthy win droughts, on a memorable afternoon in Monza

Formula 1
Sep 13, 2021
Why Italian GP success is on for McLaren even if Verstappen dominates Plus

Why Italian GP success is on for McLaren even if Verstappen dominates

For the second time in 2021, McLaren will line up for the start of a grand prix from the first row. It knows it has the chance of “glory” if things go well for Daniel Ricciardo and Lando Norris at the start of the 2021 Italian Grand Prix, but even if they just maintain their grid positions, signs from the rest of the Monza weekend suggest success is very possible for Formula 1’s other orange army

Formula 1
Sep 12, 2021