Deal to secure Lotus future is 'imminent' says new investor

By Andrew BensonChief F1 writer at Yas Marina
Dominant Vettel storms to Abu Dhabi win

The businessman behind the delayed investment deal that has led to financial problems at Lotus insists its conclusion is imminent.

Mansoor Ijaz, the head of the Quantum Motorsports consortium, said a contract to buy 35% of Lotus was awaiting only approval from team owner Genii Capital.

"There is no question the deal is definitely happening. It has now been completed from our side," Ijaz said.

He said Lotus intended to sign Nico Hulkenberg to replace Kimi Raikkonen.

Raikkonen has threatened not to race in the final two grands prix of the year if he is not paid, after saying he has not received "a single euro" this season.

"I met with Kimi's manager Steve Robertson last night," Ijaz said at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Sunday.

"I've apologised to Steve, we've apologised to Kimi. We intend to not only make sure that they are made whole, and then some.

"We are intending to also compensate our employees and management team... to make sure that everybody on that team knows that the new shareholders coming in took responsibility for their actions.

"Our deal is to buy 35% in newly-issued shares. We are essentially diluting Genii Capital. The options do allow us in a fixed amount of time to take control of the team later on.

"We're going to clear off the debt, and then we're going to bring very high quality sponsors which you'll see very soon. Those sponsors will give us the longevity and capacity to compete at the top end of the business for a long time."

Lotus team boss Eric Boullier said: "I will not comment on this yet. Later. I can't say anything yet. I think by Tuesday. I hope so."

He added: "I cannot say anything about what has been agreed because this is confidential between both parties but it is all settled."

Boullier said the dispute with Raikkonen, who delayed his arrival in Abu Dhabi because of the dispute, was resolved.

Quantum, a US-Middle Eastern consortium originally called Infinity, first announced the deal in the summer, but it has been repeatedly delayed over the intervening months.

Ijaz said he regretted the situation the delay has caused with Raikkonen.

"I wish the transition had been smoother between Kimi and the next driver who we believe will be Nico Hulkenberg, but sometimes in life things don't happen as cleanly or as nicely as you'd like them to.

He added: "I am confident that [Raikkonen] will run the last two races, fulfil his professional obligations to us and us to him."

He said the contract with Hulkenberg was "prepared, ready to go. I know Nico is excited about doing this and I think it's a matter of a very short period before all that will be finalised."

If the deal falls through, Lotus are likely to sign Williams driver Pastor Maldonado.