LONDON (Reuters) - Financially troubled Lotus have urged fans to ignore any ‘negative rumors’ swirling around the Formula One team ahead of next week’s Singapore Grand Prix.
The British-based outfit, who are hoping former owners Renault will retake control, have faced numerous legal obstacles this season with the latest being an action by Britain’s tax authorities.
An application in the London High Court last Monday by the Revenue and Customs to have Lotus put into administration was adjourned to next Friday, when practice starts under the Singapore floodlights.
Before that, Lotus had their cars impounded by bailiffs in Belgium — where Frenchman Romain Grosjean finished third — and blamed a banking hitch for Pirelli withholding tires before practice in Hungary.
“They say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. I can confirm that the team is very much alive but we have been going through a very strenuous workout program this season,” commented deputy principal Federico Gastaldi.
“Things have certainly been tight and we’ve embraced the Japanese just-in-time philosophy a little too literally on occasions. All this has been necessary but we keep fighting the good fight.
“We believe in the team; we believe in Formula One and we believe we’ll still be here fighting for the rest of this season and beyond. Don’t believe any of the negative rumors you hear,” added the Argentine.
Lotus have said the Belgian problem, involving a dispute with French former reserve Charles Pic, has been resolved and the High Court hearing will also be settled.
“I can positively say that process will be dealt with before it gets back in front of the judge,” chief executive Matthew Carter told autosport.com.
“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.”
Gastaldi, in a preview for next week’s race, said everything was under control.
“Certainly, this is a lean-running year and you wouldn’t want to attempt running much leaner,” he said. “Thankfully we do have some fantastic partners, all of whom understand the situation and are tremendously supportive.”
He said all sponsors and partners had paid on time and some in advance.
Renault’s return, to a team they sold after a Singapore GP race-fixing scandal in 2009, would be welcomed with open arms “but until any deal is signed, sealed and delivered we keep focused on our current tasks”.
Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Pritha Sarkar