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GP Week : Issue 189
EDITOR: Kate Walker firstname.lastname@example.org MOTOGP EDITOR: Michael Scott F1 NEWS EDITOR Abhishek Takle TECHNICAL EDITOR Paolo Filisetti RACE EDITOR Trent Price CONTRIBUTING EDITOR Leigh O'Gorman BUSINESS EDITOR Caroline Reid PRODUCTION ARTIST Cedric Dufour PHOTOGRAPHy Sutton Motorsport Images www.sutton-images.com Keith Sutton email@example.com: Mark Sutton, Patrik Lundin, Dirk Klynsmith, Daniel Kalisz PUBLISHER Chris Lambden firstname.lastname@example.org PUBLISHED By: Grand Prix Week Ltd 61 Watling Street, Towcester Northants NN12 6AG United Kingdom ADVERTISING: n Richard Partridge email@example.com Ph: + 44 1273 232 566 Mob: + 44 7771 567 644 n Mark Sutton firstname.lastname@example.org n se Asia, Australasia GPWEEK (Australia) email@example.com .com WEEK Kimi Raikkonen’s current employers the Lotus Formula One team have signed a two-year sponsorship deal with Dubai’s emaar Properties, a move that could help the outfit in their attempts to persuade their star driver to stay. Raikkonen’s future is currently up in the air. The Finn had been one of the contenders for the Red Bull seat vacated by Mark Webber, but with Daniel Ricciardo getting the drive, the 2007 world champion is now considering whether to stay at Lotus or return to Ferrari. Financial issues at Lotus have meant Raikkonen hasn’t been paid on time and the Finnish racer is seeking assurances from the team regarding its financial stability as well as its ability to produce a competitive car next season when sweeping rule changes are set to kick in. Lotus have more or less acknowledged that they are on a sticky wicket financially and have been working to complete a deal with a consortium of investors announced earlier this year which will give them additional access to funds. The Enstone racers are also working to establish a closer technical collaboration with engine supplier Renault, who sold a majority stake in the team to the current owners in 2009, and this new deal with Emaar Properties – the company behind the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa – may be enough to convince Raikkonen that Lotus will be on sound financial footing next year. Emaar, partly owned by the government, is a Dubai-listed real estate developer. Apart from the Burj Khalifa, the company has developed the Dubai Mall, which it claims is the world’s largest shopping and entertainment destination, while it is also developing the King Abdullah Economic City in Saudi Arabia. The Emaar and Lotus tie-up comes as Formula One increasingly expands away from its traditional European heartland into lucrative markets like the Middle East and Asia. Bahrain, which first hosted a race in 2004, and Abu Dhabi, which made its debut in 2009, have already become firm fixtures on the current Formula One calendar and several Middle Eastern companies are now involved in the sport not just as sponsors but also as stakeholders in teams. The Emaar-Lotus deal could in fact also pave the way for a grand prix in Dubai in the future. Veteran motorsport journalist Joe Saward has reported that there is talk of a street circuit winding its way through an area owned by the property firm. “With this new partnership with the developer of such iconic projects as Burj Khalifa and The Dubai Mall, we are looking for ward to some home support as we race in the UAE once again this year,” Lotus team principal Eric Boullier said in a statement. “We are also very excited to see how this partnership will further enhance Lotus F1 Team’s brand value.” DESpErATElY kEEpING kIMI F1 >>> nEWs 6 GPWEEK.com // 6 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: