LOTUS MUST PERFORM OR BE SOLD 9/12/93 by Robert Heathcote, for SpeedNet Team Lotus Limited, with 13 world championship since 1963, was saved from the axe of creditors Monday but its fate is still hanging by a thread. A High Court in England...
LOTUS MUST PERFORM OR BE SOLD
9/12/93 by Robert Heathcote, for SpeedNet
Team Lotus Limited, with 13 world championship since 1963, was saved from the axe of creditors Monday but its fate is still hanging by a thread. A High Court in England ruled the team must show a improvement in performance over the next two Grands Prix or be sold to cover debts totaling nearly 10 million dollars.
A spokesman for the court said, "It is very sad that such an illustrious team has to seek the protection of the court." He added: "This reflects their indifferent performance in the last year and a gap in sponsorship."
As today approached, sources at Lotus were rumored to be asking 1992 Formula One Champion Nigel Mansell to help save the team from being sold. This was misunderstood and it was even reported by some media that team owner Peter Collins was asking Nigel to come drive for the team in 1995!
Collins denied Mansell was set for a return, and stressed, "There is no truth in the rumour that he will become involved in the running of Team Lotus. Our enormous respect for Colin Chapman's achievements and the Team Lotus marque is obvious, but we shall not be working together in the future."
Lotus, the racing team, not the car manufacturer, owes Cosworth Engineering the largest sum, for Ford-HB engines supplied to the team last year, and the year before.
But Lotus might have been given the axe as soon as today if not for an agreement by Cosworth with the court that the team be allowed a chance to prove its competitiveness.
The court noted Johnny Herbert was denied a chance to race the 109 chassis and new Mugen-Honda engine at Monza in the Italian Grand Prix yesterday, when he was involved in an unavoidable accident on the first lap.
The court has appointed a team of "Administrators", who now have control of Lotus. They and will decide its fate based on performances in the upcoming Grands Prix of Portugal and Europe and then report back to the High Court on October 24.
The court administrators and Cosworth agree that if the engine-chassis package proves to be competitive, Lotus will have a much easier time finding sponsors and will then be able to repay its debts.
A press release from Lotus said, "This procedure allows the company to run as a going concern and to continue racing whilst working with the Administrators to investigate ways of restructuring Team Lotus Limited."
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