Lotus miss start of practice after Pirelli refuse to release tyres
Italian firm withhold their rubber over unpaid debts; Agreement reached less than an hour before Practice One in Hungary
By William Esler
Last Updated: 27/07/15 2:22pm
Lotus were forced to miss the opening part of Practice One in Hungary after Pirelli refused to release tyres to the team over unpaid bills.
The Enstone team finally received their allocation of rubber less than an hour before the opening session at the Hungaroring, but they missed the first 30 minutes of running while the tyres were prepared in warm-up blankets.
“The tyres have been released by Pirelli now they have payment, but they are stuck in the tyre blankets,” reported Sky Sports F1's Ted Kravitz.
“The back story is cash flow. It is not that they are broke, it is just they get their prize money at the end of the year, but they need to pay for stuff before that.
“This was confirmed by deputy team principal Federico Gastaldi who said there was an issue with the payment and he blamed the banking system, but I think we all know they have been late with payment to quite a few of their suppliers as Matthew Carter, their CEO, admitted at Silverstone.
“With Pirelli it got to the crisis point where Pirelli said ‘You aren’t going to have your tyres this weekend’ and they reached agreement about 50 minutes before the start of this session'.”
The troubles in Hungary come hot on the heels after being faced with a winding-up petition in the High Court following the British GP over unpaid debts to suppliers.
There is speculation that Renault is on the verge of buying back the Lotus team, which won world titles under the French manufacturer's badge in 2005-06.
“It’s becoming a perennial thing for the Lotus team in terms of running out of money and suppliers not happy. Obviously Pirelli pulled the tyres until they got some money," Martin Brundle added.
“You’ve got to be hoping that if Renault are looking at buying the team, they do it pretty soon. They’re definitely looking at that option."