Lotus thanks Ecclestone for feeding locked out employees

French driver Romain Grosjean, who would normally hold a press briefing in the facility where team members and guests are catered for, conducted it instead out in the paddock with reporters sheltering under umbrellas in the rain.


“You will know soon”, Grosjean added as Haas, who will use Ferrari engines, prepared to make a driver announcement next Tuesday at their headquarters in North Carolina.

Indeed, Lotus is painfully scraping its way through the Japanese grand prix weekend, as it waits for Renault’s decision after running out of cash.

The British-based constructor face an uncertain future amid mounting money problems which came to a head here in Suzuka.

Grosjean and Mexican Esteban Gutierrez, who drove for Sauber in 2013 and 2014 and is now the Ferrari reserve, are tipped to drive for Formula One’s first American team since 1986.

Equipment was piled up outside the empty hospitality under a tarpaulin.

Lotus’s freight to Suzuka was delayed over payment delays, and the team was locked out of its hospitality tent, with Romain Grosjean having to talk to the media in the rain on Thursday.

Despite his team’s problems, Grosjean finished third at the Belgian Grand Prix last month.

A protracted takeover from Renault is yet to be confirmed and the team are due in the High Court in London on Monday over an unpaid tax bill from HMRC.

Team and drivers are taking the unfamiliar situation in their stride, with Grosjean posting earlier in the day “Just like the old days” with a photo of him and team officials sitting on cooler boxes.

“We have an existing multi-year deal with Pastor so it was time to publically confirm he will be driving with us as part of this deal in 2016”, he said.


Lotus CEO Matthew Carter told AUTOSPORT: “As far as I’m aware the potential new shareholders [Renault] are aware of the deadline, and as far as I’m aware the deadline will be met”.

Formula One: Romain Grosjean rejoices at Japan Grand Prix challenge