Behind all the controversies in Formula One hides the financial concern over Lotus F1’s future. The venture capital fueled team has long been a competitive force in Formula One when it was Renault F1 and has been the team that defied the giants. Signing world champion Kimi Raikkonen was a coup for the group even as their title sponsor and namesake, Lotus, was removing themselves from the twisted and expensive investment of Dany Bahar.
Regardless of the cultural fame they garnered, they are still seeking investors to help foot the bill for their operation and in Formula 1, car development is a galactic endeavor. The good news this week is that Lotus seem to have found that investor.
Lotus F1 Team has new part-owners as of today, with Infinity Racing Partners Limited (Infinity Racing) acquiring a 35% minority stake in the team. Infinity Racing joins Genii Capital, who retain a controlling stake in the team, with Gerard Lopez continuing as Chairman.
Infinity Racing is an investment consortium whose special purpose vehicle is comprised of private investors that include an American hedge fund manager, an Abu Dhabi-based multinational business group and royal family interests of a major oil producing nation.
Lotus F1 Team was previously 100% owned by an investment vehicle of Genii Capital – a global investment management and financial advisory firm headquartered in Luxembourg – which retains a controlling stake of 65% in the team.
Gerard Lopez, co-founder of Genii Capital, will remain Chairman of Lotus F1 Team. Eric Lux, CEO of Genii Capital, will continue his role on the team’s Board of Directors.
Gerard Lopez, Chairman, Lotus F1 Team:
“Infinity Racing’s principals have exceptional expertise and a proven strong track record in developing and delivering high quality technologies. This partnership will enable us to increase Lotus F1 Team’s competitive advantage related to KERS technology as it becomes more central to Formula 1’s push for environmentally sound racing, while also making Lotus F1 Team more marketable as a brand, opening up additional major sponsorship opportunities.”
Mansoor Ijaz, Chairman and Suhail Al Dhaheri, Vice Chairman, Infinity Racing:
“Gerard Lopez, Eric Lux and the entire Genii Capital team are building Lotus F1 Team to make it a serious competitor at every race and a winner on a par with the top racing teams in Formula 1. The recent developments at Enstone and results of the Team’s high-quality drivers are testament to this. Patrick Louis, Chief Executive, and Eric Boullier, Team Principal, are continuing the time-honoured traditions of Lotus F1 Team and have re-established the Team as a competitive force in Formula 1. We are honoured to be part of the Team’s forward march to the No.1 ranking and proud of the team spirit, down-to-earth nature and performance-oriented results that characterise the experts at Enstone, who endeavour to make Lotus F1 Team a title challenger in Formula 1 today.”
Will this be the shot in the arm the team needs to stay at eh sharp end of the grid? Can this new cash infusing be enough to retain the services of Kimi Raikkonen beyond 2013? Time will tell but Lotus F1 needed an investor and it seems that the little team that could just did.