Lotus leave it later than ever

Thu Nov 26, 2015 11:48am EST
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By Alan Baldwin

ABU DHABI (Reuters) - Lotus mechanics were hurriedly unpacking the Formula One team's cars from crates on Thursday after ongoing financial problems delayed their preparations for the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

The team, who are hoping to be taken over by Renault imminently, said unspecified issues with the circuit organizers had been resolved and the cars would be ready for Friday practice.

Race stewards said in a statement that the team had sought and been granted a waiver from Thursday's mandatory scrutineering, the official inspection that would normally see cars excluded from the race weekend if not presented on time.

The stewards agreed instead that the Lotus cars would undergo scrutineering on Friday morning.

A paddock source told Reuters that, while other teams were working on their cars, the Lotus freight was held at the nearby airport until Thursday before being allowed into the Yas Marina circuit.

Lotus were locked out of their paddock hospitality in Japan in October due to unpaid bills and had issues with access to their garages in the run-up to the Brazilian Grand Prix two weeks ago.

In Belgium, in August, their cars were impounded by bailiffs after the race at Spa.

"It is something we have experienced in the past," said French driver Romain Grosjean. "We have always managed to put it on track on time.   Continued...

A technican stands next to a pile of tyres at Lotus Formula One team's paddock after the first practice session of the Hungarian F1 Grand Prix at the Hungaroring circuit, near Budapest, Hungary July 24, 2015. REUTERS/Bernadett Szabo/Files