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F1 2013: Lotus’ Lopez talking the talk

Gerard LopezLotus chairman Gerard Lopez has scoffed at rumours that his Formula 1 team is in financial trouble.

Lopez purchased the Renault team in 2009 and is adamant that the reported 120 million Euro debt is being misunderstood. “On the €120 million debt, anybody half-smart can find out that number by going to Companies House records and will see that out of that, over 90 million is not ‘real’ debt but shareholder loans made to the company,” said Lopez.

He laughed off suggestions that staff had not been paid and denied any rumours of employees threatening a strike at the Enstone based factory. While Lopez has denied the lack of payment Lotus team principal Eric Boullier confirmed on a previous occasion that Kimi Raikkonen had been payed ‘a few days late’ by the team.

While vehemently denying these Lopez emphasised that the team has enough resources to keep up with the development of the E21 in the second half of the season. Despite the fact that the time for major upgrades have gone the team is believed to be bringing a new front wing to the Belgian GP. Lopez is adamant that the development will not end there.

“We are actually bringing a number of new developments throughout the season,” said Lopez. What is true is that, just like everyone else, a lot of the big stuff like the double DRS has already been developed but is going to be put on the car for the upcoming races.”

Lopez, the co-owner of Genii Capital, stressed the investments that have been made to the Formula 1 team since taking over.

“It had a 50 per cent windtunnel, now it’s 60 per cent. The team didn’t have a driver-in-the-loop simulator, it does now. It didn’t have a gearbox dyno, now it has. So it has a bunch of things that it didn’t have even as a works team. As they say in other sports, you do your talking on the field and I guess we do our talking on the track.”

About Natalie Le Clue

Natalie Le Clue is an F1 aficionado of the most dedicated vein. And, true to form for any F1-enamoured junkie, she readily admits to crying the first time she saw a F1 car, calling it an ‘overwhelming moment’. Natalie has won the 2010 gSport Woman In Media award, the 2015 Woman In Media Print award, and has been named as one of the Top 100 Most Influential People in South African Sport by the Department of Sport and Recreation. Natalie is currently serving as SAfm's F1 correspondent. Follow Natalie on Twitter @nlc27

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