Lotus F1 team sure it can avert HMRC court return with Renault deal

Lotus is confident of avoiding a return High Court date with HMRC as it closes in on resolving its future in Formula 1

Lotus F1 team sure it can avert HMRC court return with Renault deal

The team was forced into the High Court on Monday as a result of failing to pay one month's PAYE (income tax and national insurance) to HMRC, only for the case to be adjourned until Friday, September 18.

The adjournment request was made in good faith by HMRC and on the back of the judge, Mr Justice Birss, receiving a confidential letter from a barrister acting on behalf of Renault.

The French manufacturer is on the brink of concluding a deal to acquire Lotus, with the final hurdle securing additional payments from F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone with regard to its status as a historic constructor.

Renault is arguing by virtue of its standing in F1 - it has been involved in all bar five seasons since 1977 - it is deserving of a premium payment from Formula One Management's coffers along with Ferrari, McLaren, Mercedes, Red Bull and Williams.

With Lotus's shareholders signing off on the financial arrangement with Renault last week - £65million for a 65 per cent stake - it is now a question of waiting to see if Ecclestone and Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn can reach an agreement that would help push the takeover deal over the line.

Renault's return to Enstone would ultimately result in Lotus's creditors being paid off, including HMRC, negating the need to return for the second court appointment.

Speaking to AUTOSPORT, Lotus CEO Matthew Carter said: "I can positively say that process [with HMRC] will be dealt with before it gets back in front of the judge.

"Nobody wants the team to head into insolvency, so it's just a question of making sure people get paid and things are done in the right way.

"The thing to stress is we - us, our shareholders, Renault - are all on the same page.

"Everyone wants the same thing, it's now a question of making sure it happens in the right way.

"When we get through the other side - and I am absolutely convinced we will - it will all have been worthwhile. One way or the other we will get through it."

Carter has stated should the Renault deal fall through at the last minute then there are contingency plans in place, although he declined to elaborate.

But he added: "Both Renault and [current engine supplier] Mercedes are assisting us.

"It's fair for me to say everyone thinks it's a good idea Renault comes back in [as a works team] and there are more manufacturers in the sport."

Carter has also confirmed the issue with former reserve Charles Pic, which led to the team's cars and equipment being impounded by bailiffs following the Belgian GP, has now been fully resolved and will not resurface.

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