Lotus facing threat of F1 cars being impounded following Belgian GP

Lotus is embroiled in a legal battle with former reserve driver Charles Pic that could result in its cars being unable to leave Spa following Sunday's Formula 1 Belgian Grand Prix, AUTOSPORT has learned

Lotus facing threat of F1 cars being impounded following Belgian GP

Former Marussia and Caterham driver Pic was signed early last year by Lotus as back up to regulars Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado, and subsequently released at the end of the season.

The 25-year-old Frenchman, however, opted to take Lotus to court, believing the Enstone-based team reneged on its deal to provide him with a certain number of days behind the wheel of its E22.

Lotus encountered major issues early last season with Renault's power unit following the introduction of the 1.6-litre V6 turbo-charged systems.

Once subsequently up to speed the team then took the decision to allow Grosjean and Maldonado the time required to become accustomed to the car and power unit.

An aggrieved Pic, however, has sought legal redress, and the matter is currently in the hands of an arbitration court.

In trying to expedite matters, Pic yesterday managed to acquire an attachment order from a Belgian court that effectively prevents Lotus' cars and equipment from leaving the circuit come the conclusion of the grand prix.

It is understood Lotus believe the 'conservatory impounding' to be invalid as the matter is presently in the hands of the arbitration court.

Lawyers from both parties are currently locked in discussions designed to find a solution.

Speaking to AUTOSPORT, Lotus co-owner Gerard Lopez said he is confident the issue will be resolved ahead of the race.

"We are having our legal department look at it. This will be solved, and solved in a manner that is adequate," said Lopez.

"We know there is a difference in the number of the days [Pic should have driven], but I know we'll find an amicable solution, and the show goes on.

"I think the cars will leave as planned. I don't envisage there being an issue. I know there will be a resolution."

CURFEW BREAK CLEARED

The situation was further complicated for Lotus on Thursday as three members of its personnel - team manager, technical director and team co-ordinator - remained behind to 'guard' the cars and equipment beyond F1's 11pm curfew.

As the trio were deemed to be 'associated with the operation of the car', they were forced to explain their presence to the stewards on Friday morning.

Due to what has been described as "extraneous circumstances" by the stewards they decided the "incident will not be considered as one of the two [curfew] exceptions" allowed under the sporting regulations.

A statement added: "The reason is this matter was neither sporting nor technical in nature, and involved no work being performed by the team."

Deputy team principal Federico Gastaldo told AUTOSPORT: "There is an order that took place last night related to one of our third drivers, that has not been resolved and has been going on for some time now.

"The lawyers are talking and we're trying to find a solution for this weekend.

"We are hopeful of doing that, of trying to find a balanced agreement."

shares
comments
Belgian GP: No warning of F1 practice tyre blowout - Nico Rosberg
Previous article

Belgian GP: No warning of F1 practice tyre blowout - Nico Rosberg

Next article

Belgian GP: Friday F1 press conference transcript

Belgian GP: Friday F1 press conference transcript
Load comments
The code of conduct debate prompted by the Alonso/Raikkonen marginal call Plus

The code of conduct debate prompted by the Alonso/Raikkonen marginal call

Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen's clash in Austin has thrust the debate about rights and wrongs of wheel-to-wheel combat firmly into the public spotlight, prompting complaints about the Formula 1 rules process. But what can the FIA do to prevent the issue resurfacing?

How Ferrari gained a new edge over McLaren in the best-of-the-rest F1 2021 battle Plus

How Ferrari gained a new edge over McLaren in the best-of-the-rest F1 2021 battle

Supremacy in the McLaren vs Ferrari fight over third place in the constructors’ championship has ebbed and flowed between the two teams so far in the 2021 Formula 1 season. But for several key reasons, right now it seems the advantage has swung decisively back to the Scuderia and McLaren knows it.

Formula 1
Oct 27, 2021
The 70s US superteam that tried and failed to crack F1 Plus

The 70s US superteam that tried and failed to crack F1

Vel’s Parnelli Jones Racing was briefly one of the biggest names on the US motorsports scene, but its ambition outstripped its resources. STUART CODLING relates the story of a Formula 1 campaign cut off in its prime

Formula 1
Oct 26, 2021
The key details that boosted Red Bull and held back Hamilton in Verstappen’s USA victory Plus

The key details that boosted Red Bull and held back Hamilton in Verstappen’s USA victory

As the 2021 Formula 1 title battle winds towards its climax, the United States GP added another thrilling act in the Lewis Hamilton-Max Verstappen battle. Although Hamilton aced the start, Verstappen and Red Bull took the initiative with strategy and were richly rewarded, despite Mercedes' best efforts as the race went down to the wire

Formula 1
Oct 25, 2021
US Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

US Grand Prix Driver Ratings

On a baking hot afternoon at the returning Circuit of the Americas, Formula 1 drivers were tested to their limits. As the pressure on the title contending squads reaches an ever-greater level of intensity, the foremost challengers again showed their class, but were outshone by a standout drive from the upper midfield

Formula 1
Oct 25, 2021
Why F1's misunderstood party animal will thrive in retirement Plus

Why F1's misunderstood party animal will thrive in retirement

Three years on from Kimi Raikkonen's last Grand Prix victory at Austin, he is now six races away from ending the longest Formula 1 career in history. His friend and former Ice1 Racing rally team PR man ANTHONY PEACOCK explains why there’s nobody quite like the 2007 world champion and why F1 will miss him (but he won’t miss it)

Formula 1
Oct 24, 2021
The 10 greatest drives of lost legend Jo Siffert Plus

The 10 greatest drives of lost legend Jo Siffert

It's 50 years since Jo Siffert was killed in his prime at Brands Hatch. The Swiss scored just two world championship wins in a Formula 1 career spent largely with privateer teams, but showed on numerous occasions in single-seaters and in sportscars with Porsche that he could beat any of the best drivers of his era given the right equipment

Formula 1
Oct 24, 2021
Verstappen exclusive: How Red Bull’s ace has become F1 champion material Plus

Verstappen exclusive: How Red Bull’s ace has become F1 champion material

As Red Bull and Honda go all-out for victory in the Japanese engine manufacturer’s last season of its latest Formula 1 dalliance, Max Verstappen finds himself thrust into a compelling title fight with Lewis Hamilton. He told OLEG KARPOV about his evolution into a world championship contender and why Red Bull's no compromise ethos suits him down to the ground

Formula 1
Oct 23, 2021