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Lotus boss angry with Renault comments over engine payment

May 16, 2014, 12:00 PM EDT

F1 Testing in Bahrain - Day One Getty Images

Lotus owner and team principal Gerard Lopez has hit back at Renault’s Jean-Michel Jalinier after he reported in Spain that late payments from some of the teams being supplied had caused the French marque to fall behind schedule.

“On this part I must say we are not at an acceptable situation, because some of the teams are just late in payment, and at the time that you spend resources in order to catch up you cannot afford to have those non-payments,” Jalinier explained to journalists in Spain. However, he refused to name the culprits.

This caused a game of “Guess Who?” in the F1 media as to which teams had not paid on time. Renault currently supplies both Red Bull owned teams (Red Bull and Toro Rosso), who financially fall back on the sales of the energy drink, leading many to assume that they could not be at fault.

Instead, attention turned to Lotus and Caterham, who have both been struggling in recent years. Caterham CEO Cyril Abiteboul denied that his team was at fault, saying: “It’s a confidential issue but I’m happy, since I’m on time, to say that we are settled with invoices with Renault Sport F1.”

Lotus also denied the claims, and Lopez has now called on Jalinier to name the late payers instead of making ambiguous claims.

“This is why we had a meeting, because I wanted them to clarify their price,” he told Press Association.

“I said to them if they are going to say things, then name the team that is an issue. Don’t just say “teams” and then expect people to make their own judgements. We respect the arrangements we have with them.”

Lopez again denied that Lotus – who has failed to pay drivers and suppliers on time in the past – was at fault.

“If there is, it must be somebody else, but I’m not even sure there is, to be honest with you, so we’ll see,” he said. “We’ve paid up. We’re absolutely in line with them.”

Although it is unlikely Renault will come out and name the late payers, the teams do have every right to be frustrated with the comments. The automatic assumption that Lotus and Caterham were at fault is unfair on both teams, regardless of their history.

In other Lotus news, reports that Gene Haas was due to visit the team this week appeared to have been untrue. The team – in its unique style – even ran a tongue-in-cheek “Haas Watch” on Twitter.

  1. techmeister1 - May 16, 2014 at 1:28 PM

    It’s not unfair at all to suspect teams with a history of financial issues to possibly be the reason for the comment – which was unprofessional of Renault regardless of the situation. In Biz if people don’t pay their invoices on time they don’t get any further product or support. If they are deadbeats and don’t pay all of their bills then it’s appropriate to go after them legally and to name names.

  2. testover6370 - May 16, 2014 at 1:45 PM

    If Lotus does leave the sport I sure will miss their tweets.

    • Luke Smith - May 16, 2014 at 3:04 PM

      So very true. The social media team there is fantastic. Also a very courteous team, a good open door policy.

  3. manik56 - May 18, 2014 at 11:27 AM

    Lipez needs to worry about his team and not what the media speculates. Get a backbone man.

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