Lotus freight arrives late in Japan as financial concerns grow

© AP

The financial uncertainty facing Lotus F1 Team grew in the lead up to this weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix as its freight only arrived at Suzuka halfway through Thursday.

Most of the teams had their freight delivered to the track well in advance of the weekend, allowing the crews to work on their cars and prepare accordingly for the race.

Lotus has faced a great amount of financial uncertainty in recent months, and although talks with Renault about a possibly buy-out for 2016 are ongoing, the future of the Enstone operation is becoming less and less clear.

The team’s freight only arrived at Suzuka on Thursday due to outstanding bills, leaving it with a race against time to get everything prepared for practice on Friday.

Remarkably, the crew was not forced to break its work curfew as it managed to get the cars set up and prepared, and even managed to make light of the situation with its choice of music.

Sadly though, it might well be a ‘road to nowhere’ for Lotus. Last week, the High Court in England agreed to adjourn a hearing relating to outstanding payments to Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC), saving the team from administration.

However, the judge did say that “it is to be regarded as a final adjournment”, with the next hearing scheduled for Monday following the Japanese Grand Prix.

“With the Renault deal still not done, they risk going back to court on Monday and then it is game over,” a source in Suzuka told MotorSportsTalk.

The team did not erect its hospitality unit on Thursday, leaving drivers Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado to complete their media commitments standing in the middle of a drizzly Suzuka paddock.

On Friday morning ahead of practice, it still remained empty.

Lotus confirmed via its Twitter account that it had been given access to the canteens used for the staff in Bernie Ecclestone’s VIP Paddock Club as the sport’s CEO ensured that the team did not go hungry.


Motocross: Chase Sexton to miss Hangtown after midweek practice crash

Sexton Hangtown practice crash
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Chase Sexton announced on Instagram he will sit out this weekend’s Pro Motocross race at Hangtown in Rancho Cordova, California after a practice crash on Tuesday left him with a concussion.

Sexton’s crash on Tuesday happened during a test session at Fox Raceway.

“Bummed to make this post but I’ll be sitting out this weekend,” Sexton said. “As you guys saw I had a big one during qualifying at Pala, then another one on Tuesday this week that banged me up pretty good. Nothing broken just need a few days to get back to 100%.”

Despite his crash in the first qualification session in Pala, California, Sexton mounted up for both motos and finished second in each race behind his teammate Jett Lawrence, who was making his Motocross debut and won with a pair of first-place finishes. Sexton padded his SuperMotocross points’ lead over the injured Eli Tomac, who is still second in the combined Supercross and Motocross standings despite missing the SX finale at Salt Lake City and the outdoor opener with a ruptured Achilles tendon.

Sexton has an advantage of 78 points over Cooper Webb and cannot give up his SMX lead by missing this round.

At stake, however, is the risk of losing ground to Lawrence in the Pro Motocross championship. Sexton currently trails his teammate by six points and is liable to lose significant ground this weekend.

In addition to his concussion, Sexton has also been diagnosed with mononucleosis and the combination of the two conditions caused the team to make the difficult decision to keep him out of the lineup at Hangtown.

“I’m super-bummed to miss this weekend’s race,” Sexton said in a press release. “I feel like I rode well at Pala, and I was really looking forward to Hangtown because it’s a good track for me. Unfortunately, I was already pretty banged up from my qualifying crash on Saturday, and now with mono and Tuesday’s concussion on top of it, I want to do the right thing and hopefully be back on the track soon.”

A return date for Sexton has not yet been announced.

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