Real racers restrained by resource wrangles
It’s hard to write about Lotus in detail at this juncture because there’s no point in being critical. The real message is that F1 should never have let anyone sell its commercial rights in 2000, because that induced a number of poorly prepared, ill-informed nancial institutions to home in on F1 as an industry in which to make money.
There was no organic growth among these moneymen: they came in, bought their teams, listened to the wrong people… and inevitably it’s ended in tears. Tony Fernandes is one such; Genii Capital another. Why was all that money from Malaysia destined for ‘Lotus’? What was it all about? Whose loot was it anyway? We’ll never know. What we do know, because it’s now obvious, is that none of it was real.
As for the Lotus team itself, it’s a classic example of good people being restricted by budgets. Nick Chester has done an excellent job in the wake of James Allison’s sudden departure. Alan Permane is still one of the best racing people I know. Pastor Maldonado is fast enough to win a race and is more successful at sponsorship procurement than most of the F1’s specialists put together. And Romain Grosjean is a fast, natural talent going to waste.
I’ve also got a lot of time for Federico Gastaldi, the new deputy team principal. He knows how to put a sponsorship deal together and is passionate about his sport.
For all that, though, it is extremely difficult. Genii Capital doesn’t have the same ring as ‘Benetton’ or even ‘Toleman’. Let’s hope it gets better.