F1 - Lopez defends his management of the Lotus


Gerard Lopez does not regret anything in his management of the Lotus. The former owner of the team has faced several difficulties in recent years.
Lotus was in big trouble last season. Without the takeover by Renault, the team may have closed its doors. Management by Genii Capital, owner of the team, has been called into question. Gérard Lopez, co-owner of Genii and then boss of the team, attributes this situation of successive difficulties. A bad season, a distribution of earnings inequitable, the introduction of powertrains, all factors that have degraded the finances of Lotus, and created a negative spiral.
"All of a sudden, you don't win more," explained Lopez in 19: 30 Sport on Canal + Sport (video). "Not only that, you can't earn more, but you end up out in Q1, your sponsors are not happy, your drivers are not happy. You find yourself not up to you to fight against 10 or 11 other teams, but against an environment. Against the owner of the rights (Bernie Ecclestone), because you tell him that sharing is not equitable. Against the builders, telling them, "It is no matter what, it goes from 12 to 30 or 40 million (per year) for the engines that was not budgeted", and the more it does not work. You fight against other stables because they are trying to talk badly to try to get you to take a driver. And you try to remember, both good and bad, of the sponsors, because you no longer have a story to tell them. They are not going to believe that you are going to win races the following season, because you, you know. "
Faced with this situation, Gérard Lopez has chosen to reduce the train of life of the team, an unavoidable decision for not to lose money. He wanted to keep the team to a level sufficient for it to be bought by Renault: "You have a choice," he says. "I have fired 250-300 people, I could never win a race, but I will not lose money, or you make it so that the factory does not close its doors. You make especially sure to maintain the 500 people who are employed, because you know that a manufacturer will not buy a team with 200 people. We had to suffer a little, but there is no regret. A remake, it would be exactly the same. "

The first years were very good

Before these difficulties, the investment of Genii was a success, both in sporting terms than in financial terms. The team has won several successes, it has reignited Kimi Räikkönen and she did grow Romain Grosjean.
"Formula 1 has worked very well for us," says Gerard Lopez. "The great satisfaction, it was to be one of the only stables that are completely private to win races, to get on the podium. Not two, three or four, I think it was 25 or 26. Has to do back someone who no one believed, Kimi Räikkönen. Do a pilot we knew he was quick and that he was potentially very good but that made a lot of mistakes, Romain Grosjean, someone who is part of drivers that are, I think, the most talented Formula 1, and which also happens to develop a car that is much more laid back. "
At the time, the team was doing well : "You made the podiums, you're going to tickle all the world, and financially, it holds the road," recalls Lopez.
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