Lotus locked out of hospitality, freight delayed
By Alan Baldwin
SUZUKA, Japan (Reuters) - The troubled Lotus Formula One team were locked out of their paddock hospitality at the Japanese Grand Prix on Thursday while freight, including engines, was also held up by payment problems.
French driver Romain Grosjean, who would normally hold a press briefing in the facility where team members and guests are catered for, conducted it instead out in the paddock with reporters sheltering under umbrellas in the rain.
Equipment was piled up outside the empty hospitality under a tarpaulin.
A team spokesman said there had been a 'slight delay' complicated by the time difference with Europe and well-documented cash-flow problems.
"The guys are going to do their best as always," said Grosjean, speaking in the afternoon as the Lotus freight finally arrived and was delivered to mechanics who faced a long night building the cars for Friday practice.
"As long as they catch up by tomorrow at 2 PM I'm happy," added the Frenchman, who is due to sit out first practice to make way for British reserve Jolyon Palmer.
Grosjean, who finished third in last month's Belgian Grand Prix, saw no reason why the team could not again rise above their troubles.
"It does not mean we can't fight for podiums this weekend. Look at Spa, we had bailiffs in the garage and we ended up on the podium," he said. Continued...