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GP Week : Issue 196
F1 >>> nEWs In a televised interview aired just hours after the us Grand Prix, head of Quantum Motorsport Mansoor Ijaz appeared alongside Lotus team principal eric Boullier to alleviate any misunderstandings over the delay in investment funds that could see Nico Hulkenberg slip through enstone’s fingers. “We’re going to make that part of it happen to make sure that [Boullier] gets enough money,” Ijaz told Martin Brundle of SkySportsF1. “While things were being slowed down we put other opportunities that we had in place for funding so we may in fact bring a lot more money to the table than we initially anticipated... No sponsor’s going to come on board from our side until they know the share/purchase part of the equation is complete, but when that’s complete then those sponsorships will come pretty quickly. ... We will not quit until we finish it and we will finish it this week.” Lotus team principal Eric Boullier maintained he had complete faith in Ijaz’ promise, saying: “I’m confident that it’s going to go through. Mansoor has been working hard over the last month and we have no reason to doubt about it. It’s all to do with timing.” Time is something that Lotus doesn’t have much of. With Nico Hulkenberg still not on the books at Enstone and the driver himself now conceding he will be in a midfield seat at best next year, questions over the validity of the Quantum deal still persist. With Mansoor’s one-week pledge now expired, the allure of cash from either Sergio Perez or Pastor Maldonado could force Lotus’ hand. “We’re doing what we can to make sure the assets in our portfolio are released,” Ijaz said. “We live in a world where the banking compliance frameworks and international banking transfers are quite complicated and any time you have Middle Eastern investors involved the complications can be quite significant.” Mansoor’s language is familiar. In February 2008, a European bank accused Ijaz of running a one-man business operation to acquire loans that he was later unable to pay back on time. During court proceedings, BSI Bank of San Marino admitted that from 2007 to 2008 they had opened credit lines in favour of Ijaz and his companies, The Ijaz Group Inc and Aquarius in which Mansoor Ijaz had guaranteed shares of his companies as collateral. The companies, it turned out, were of no value. The precedent does raise questions over Quantum’s consortium of investors, purported to be from the Brunei Royal Family. As yet, only Ijaz has been the public face of any of Quantum’s dealings. QUANTUM OF LITTLE SOLACE 8 GPWEEK.com // 8 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: