Boullier: Lotus debt is not major issue
25 September 2013 – Éric Boullier has insisted that the reported debt problems experienced by his Lotus squad have been exaggerated, and that the team’s current situation still fits within the management strategy of majority shareholders Genii Capital.
There have been almost constant rumours throughout the course of the 2013 season about the state of the Enstone-based outfit’s finances, with Ferrari-bound Kimi Räikkönen claiming that his exit was down to the team’s inability to provide assurances over money, as opposed to potential performance discrepancies.
Nevertheless, Team Principal Boullier stated that the unique approach adopted by Genii means that the level of Lotus’ actual debt may be less than some of its rival teams.
"Look at some of the other teams: at Red Bull or Mercedes, those companies are sponsoring the teams. Genii has a different strategy: they loan the money," he explained to the official Formula 1 website. "It is part of the strategy that partners join the team and Genii will get back their investment. Seventy-five percent of the debt Lotus has comes from Genii. They could write it off tomorrow by saying this money is a sponsorship - and then our debt would be drastically reduced.
"Our normal debt is similar to most of the other teams," he continued. "Take Mercedes for example: they could say that the money they invest in Brackley is only a loan - then the debt of the team would be seriously higher than ours."
Despite his defiance, the 39 year-old still expressed concerns over the costs of the planned regulation changes in 2014, admitting that the squad needs to secure a title sponsor to stay within planned monetary targets for the future.
"It will cost more than our revenue stream, so we increase the imbalance," he said. "But if you have the proper support - and Genii has the means to cover this - then you can look ahead. Of course the plan is to bring somebody in to make us move to the next step and to increase our revenue stream."
When asked whether the outfit was in negotiations with sponsors, the Frenchman confirmed: "Yes, we are. That’s all I can say at the moment."