sport

Lopez: Things more stable now

Lotus owner Gerard Lopez claims his team are on a firmer financial footing despite a turbulent past 12 months behind the scenes.

The Enstone-based marque have lost a number of key personnel, chief among them being team principal Eric Boullier and technical director James Allison.

Star driver Kimi Raikkonen, who complained bitterly towards the end of last season about not being paid, also departed for Ferrari.

Lotus were supposed to be assisted by a consortium looking to take a significant interest in the team, but the funds failed to materialise due to a variety of issues.

It has led to a degree of restructuring behind the scenes, with Lopez taking on the role of team principal himself.

Speaking to Press Association Sport, Lopez said: "Things are more stable now, but then it's probably been less tumultuous from the inside that it has from the outside. It's how you depict things.

"When the money was supposed to arrive (from the consortium) - it actually did arrive but had to be sent back because of issues related to those people - all that did was delay a number of payments.

"Because it's Formula One, it gets blown a bit out of proportion. If this was a normal company, and a customer hasn't paid you, you deal with it. Because it's Formula One, it immediately becomes an issue.

"The second thing is we actually let go of a hundred people - 95 I think it was.

"The reason is we went from developing three cars - the running car, the upgrades, and the 2014 car, which started in May two and a half years ago - to developing one car, as well as starting the programme for next year this month.

"I know there are teams running at 700 people. We're running at 470, which is still substantially more than over half the teams here.

"If you look at it from a half-empty glass perspective people are saying, 'Those guys have lost it, they've lost so many people'.

"But from a half-full glass perspective we still have 150 people more than most of the teams around here. It's a question of which way you look at it."

Lopez insists he remains committed to Lotus, and is determined to acquire more high-value sponsors to aid the team financially.

The downside at the moment is the team's results because, following a strong campaign last year when they finished fourth in the constructors' championship, Lotus have so far failed to score a point this season.

Lotus are improving, and when the team is back on track and in the top 10 again on a regular basis, Lopez believes he can then strike.

"We've been very gun-shy this season," he added.

"There is no point us telling people we are good when the track results do not show it. You're wasting your time and other people's time.

"It's one of the reasons why we are looking forward to performance because we do have a number of people who are still interested.

"For a team like Lotus it's not particularly difficult to find a title sponsor for 10 to 15 million dollars.

"Once you do that's what you have for three to four years, yet you know the value of a title sponsor for pretty much any team should be higher, so we are refusing to short-sell on that."