LO­TUS

Real rac­ers re­strained by re­source wran­gles

F1 Racing - - IN­SIDER -

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.

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