The delays to the investment deal that have played a part in the financial issues at Lotus are set to come to an end after the Quantum Motorsports group revealed that the agreement to purchase a stake in the Enstone-based team is now all but done.
Speaking to reporters in Abu Dhabi, where one of the main headlines was the continuing issues between Lotus and Kimi Raikkonen, Quantum chairman Mansoor Ijaz revealed that the deal was now done from his side and was awaiting the necessary signatures from team owners Genii Capital in order to go through.
Ijaz – who confirmed that the agreement will see Lotus settle its outstanding debts - also revealed that the deal included an option for Quantum to take control of the team in future if Genii elected to relinquish control and leave the sport at some point in the future.
"There is no question the deal is definitely happening,” he was quoted by the BBC
. “It has now been completed from our side.
"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."
Ijaz added that the impending deal would also resolve the current issues between the team and Raikkonen to ensure that the Finn completes the season behind the wheel of the E21.
Amidst ongoing speculation about who will replace the 2007 champion when he moves to Ferrari, Ijaz also a contract was on the table for Nico Hulkenberg
to sign up as partner to Romain Grosjean
and was waiting to be finalised.
"I met with Kimi's manager Steve Robertson last night," Ijaz said. "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. I am confident that [Raikkonen] will run the last two races, fulfil his professional obligations to us and us to him
"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.
“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. [The contract with Hulkenberg is] 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."
Lotus has yet to officially confirm that the deal is done.