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GP Week : Issue 228
.com weeK Accessible via the GPWeeK APP CLICK on the appropriate provider (right) The future of the Lotus Formula One team hangs in the balance after it made another court appearance in the lead up to the singapore Grand Prix. As Pastor Maldonado and Romain Grosjean took to the track in Marina Bay, back in London the team was in front of courts fighting against being put into administration. The action was brought against the team by British tax authorities, HMRC, which is seeking more than $2.5million of unpaid tax and national insurance contributions from July and August. With another $1.4million on Tuesday, lawyers for HMRC moved to have the team placed into administration. It's not the first time Lotus has been in court this year, or faced public financial battles. In July the team was in court after gearbox supplier Xtrac instigated a winding up procedure while at the Belgian Grand Prix the team's assets were impounded following an injunction from former test driver Charles Pic. Pirelli has also refused to supply tyres until its invoices were settled while it was revealed Bernie Ecclestone had stepped in prior to the Belgian Grand Prix and paid the team's wage bill. In court on Friday lawyers for the Lotus team requested an adjournment, claiming a deal with Renault was nearing completion. The team provided the judge documentation showing the negotiations had moved on "significantly" since the matter was first in court 11 days earlier. The adjournment had the support of Lotus' other creditors, who are owed a combined $750,000, but was opposed by HMRC. "The people they need to pay have been paid. They are taking advantage of the involuntary credit to HMRC," barrister for Jeremy Bamford argued. "The concern for HMRC is that the negotiations have been going on for some time and we keep on getting assurances that the deal is nearly done," he added, claiming that the French manufacturer had "not been willing to put their money where their mouth is." The judge however sided with Lotus, with the matter set to be back in court next Monday. If rumours in the Singapore paddock are to believed that may prove to be enough time to ensure the survival of the team as a deal between Lotus and Renault was allegedly completed on Friday morning. It would see Renault buy back 65 percent of the team it won the 2005 and 2006 world championships with. Despite the ongoing court disputes the team did confirm Pastor Maldonado would remain with the team for 2016 shortly after the Singapore Grand Prix. "This season has presented us with some challenges but the quality of the squad at Enstone is clear to see," Maldonado said. "I’m looking for ward to building on the work done this year to deliver better results in 2016.” It's unclear however whether he'll be partnered by Romain Grosjean, with the Frenchman linked with a move to Haas F1 for 2016. Speaking in Singapore he admitted he'd made his decision but was not yet ready to announce it. "Everything is clear in my head and I know what is going to happen for me in the future. I won't tell you any more," he said. Grosjean was one of the drivers linked with a move to Ferrari before the Italian team resigned Kimi Raikkonen. With a close technical partnership existing between Haas and Ferrari it could be a side door into the team for 2017. However, with Valtteri Bottas also in the frame, along with Nico Hulkenberg and Daniel Ricciardo, it would be a high risk move for the Frenchman. Conversely, staying put at Lotus may pay dividends if Renault has bought into the team as suggested. Though currently struggling with its engine the fresh investment will help sure up its future and give Grosjean more certainty beyond 2017. MANAGING EDITOR Chris Lambden firstname.lastname@example.org EDITOR Mat Coch CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Formula 1: Mike Doodson Paolo Filisetti (F1 Tech Editor) Sean Kelly Social Media: Ernie Black PhOTOGRAPhy Sutton Motorsport Images www.sutton-images.com Keith Sutton email@example.com: Mark Sutton, Daniel Kalisz, Mirko Stange, Dirk Klynsmith PUBlIShED By Grand Prix Week Ltd 61 Watling Street, Towcester Northants NN12 6AG United Kingdom PUBlIShER Chris Lambden firstname.lastname@example.org ADVERTISING Richard Partridge email@example.com Ph: + 44 1273 232 566 Mob: + 44 7771 567 644 Mark Sutton firstname.lastname@example.org se Asia, Australasia GPWEEK (Australia) email@example.com 11 GPWEEK.com // 11 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: F1 >>> news difficult days as lotus courts renault