I can’t find fault Messrs. Noble and Beer at AUTOSPORT. The talk of the off-season has been centered around the financial viability of teams and when your team is funded by a venture capital company, what better question to ask than, “is your team financially sound now and for the future”? At least that seems to be the question posed to Lotus F1’s team boss Eric Boullier.
The answer was always going to be a resounding yes because that’s what you say when challenged about finances in Formula One. Even HRT were saying something along the lines of, “we’re doing swimmingly at the moment” while they were taking pictures off the wall and printing pink slips back at the HQ. In the game of telling the world how financially secure a team is, the first liar doesn’t stand a chance.
Boullier says that parent company, Genii Capital, is doing fine and has focused its attention on the teams to create a sound financial base in which to grow even though the team have been looking for a strong partner since last year. The team has been a bragging point for me on how to still gain the affection of big name sponsors in an economic depression the size of a Florida sink hole. They have Microsoft and Coke (burn energy drink) on their car. Boullier said:
“There is no real question,” Boullier said. “Genii builds its complete platform around Formula 1 and around this team.
“They have committed, they showed their commitment and they will commit in the future to financially back this team”.
Seems reasonable and when you consider the teams success in last year’s Formula One season, the winnings were substantial. Lotus comprises of a unique beast in F1 much like Williams and Sauber as independent teams where F1 is their focus. While Williams does have a nifty side business in KERS, they are still a privateer team. Boullier said:
“Mercedes is selling cars. Red Bull is selling [drinks] cans.
“Ferrari, McLaren, Lotus or Williams, we’re all teams, our core business is Formula 1. So we should be here for a long, long time.”
Ferrari and McLaren are selling cars as well but I get his point as their pedigree is racing. The bottom line is that Lotus F1 will need to remain in the top 4, or so, of the championship to reap the winnings to support a large portion of their operating budget. The rest will have to be a balancing act of ROI for Genii Capital and outside sponsors.
I’ve no reason to question the viability of the team as they’ve done a yeoman’s job of it for the last three years so let us hope that the investment wonks at Genii are as passionate about racing as they are about money… from what I have seen, they are.