Ecclestone pays Lotus wages
The Times newspaper has learned that Berine Ecclestone paid the wages of 400 Lotus staff. After the Belgian Grand Prix the teams cars were blocked from leaving Spa by bailiffs. There are reports they may not be able to race at Monza.
But a spokesman said “everything is under control” and the team is on its way to Monza. The team has been linked to be brought back by the engine manufacturer Renault. Berine Ecclestone told The Times “I thought I should cover the wages of the people there to make sure they were all right and so that Lotus would at least get to Spa and, hopefully, to Italy.”
Ecclestone added “But they really need to make progress with Renault now to make sure everything is ok.” When and if Red Bull announce a deal with an new engine deal it is expected to shake up the sport. There are also reports that Manor could switch to Mercedes power.
Lotus bills not paid
Autosport has learned that part of the reason Berine Ecclestone stepped in because they were unable to pay an invoice key sponsor PDVSA due to ongoing negotiations with Renault.
The board of Lotus is likely to accept an offer from engine manufacturer from Renault for £65 million for a 65% share in the team. Yesterday the team had a highly-successful presentation meeting between the parties held on Monday. Should it go through the deal will save the team and guarantee the futures of the 400 staff.
The team impounded by bailiffs last week after a dispute with former reserve Charles Pic. The team has also faced winding-up petitions in the High Court following claims by a number of creditors. Lotus has a £32.5 million invoice with PDVSA for the services of Pastor Maldonado.
However this has been place on hold because of the Renault deal and it is believed that both Pastor Maldonado who brings the sponsorship and Romain Grosjean.
Renault is evaluating its driver options and is first looking to speak to PDVSA and Total, Grosjean’s sponsor before committing to either driver.
Bearing fruits in Singapore
Fernando Alonso is confident that McLaren will not be struggling to score points next year and thinks there hard will bear fruits from the Singapore Grand Prix.
McLaren scored their best result of the year at the Hungarian Grand Prix however struggled in Belgium. He said that there package is not fundamentally flawed and says it is in the process of maturing towards its full potential.
He told ESPN “There are some difficulties that we are going through now, but we are going through them together.”
He added “We have the right experience in all the departments to make as short as possible and I’m happy with the progress.” He says the starting point may has been to low and the team is getting there. There was updates for Spa were not clear on track.
Racing director Eric Boullier added “No. Because as we’ve said many times, we are happy to have Honda as a partner and Honda is happy, I guess, with McLaren so far.”
Hulkenberg staying at Force India
Nico Hulkenberg has signed a new deal to remain with Force India until the end of 2017. The 28-year old is currently twelfth in the drivers championship and was linked to Ferrari in the past.
He said “I feel at home here so it made perfect sense,” he said before this weekend’s Italian Grand Prix in Monza. The progress the team has shown over the last two years has impressed me and gives me confidence for the future.”
Michelin weighs in to tyre debate
French tyre manufacture Michelin has weighed in to the tyre row follow a series of tyre blowouts at the Belgian Grand Prix. The company is bidding for a three year tyre deal from 2017.
There are believes that Michelin’s bid has been given a boost because of Nico Rosberg high speed blowout and Sebastian Vettel’s foul rant after a similar incident during the race. Michelin sports chief Pascal Couasnon says he wants to know what happened because “we can learn a lot.”
He told Autoweek “One thing I can tell you is, it makes no sense to us to produce tires that last 10 laps. A Formula One tire should manage at least one third of the race, and perhaps two-thirds.”
He says there is sense in making tyres that last 10 laps. A Formula One tire should manage at least one third of the race.
Jos on Max debut season
Jos Verstappen has announced that his son Max will remain with Toro Rosso on Austrian TV. His son had been liked to a move to Ferrari until the team re-signed Kimi Raikkonen for another year.
Now, it is rumoured Verstappen could move to Ferrari or Red Bull in 2017. The former F1 Driver said “It’s good that his name is mentioned in this context, but we have a long-term contract with Red Bull and we are very happy about that.”
Jos says that his son made a big mistake in Monaco but he is otherwise happy with his son’s first season. He says that Max has earned the respect of his rivals, even though some senior drivers had earlier expressed concerns about his bravado.