The Lotus F1 team is facing a potential legal crisis in the wake of a winding-up petition from a group of creditors that includes gearbox component supplier Xtrac.
A hearing at Companies Court today was adjourned for two weeks in order to give the parties further time to talk.
If there is no resolution the case could lead to Lotus going into administration.
“The judge has adjourned the hearing for two weeks,” an Xtrac spokesman told this writer. “This is in order to allow further dialogue during which we will continue to discuss all the options for resolution with Lotus F1.
“Throughout the past 15 months, Xtrac has manufactured a significant quantity of parts in good faith to ensure the cars can keep running. We have enjoyed a long standing relationship with Lotus F1 and its management, and we hope to resume this once the now significant debt has been reduced and a positive outcome agreed.”
Lotus CEO Matthew Carter has downplayed the possible consequences, suggesting that the situation is simply related to suppliers being keen to get paid promptly after problems at other teams last year.
“We’ve talked about it a lot,” he told this writer. “The smaller teams have talked about it, and the issues at Marussia and Caterham haven’t helped. There’s a hearing – in fact I think the hearing’s been adjourned – but it’s just usual creditors, it’s part of the process, it’s just where we are, it’s life.”
Carter denied that the situation might be disconcerting for sponsors.
“We’re in a fairly good position in that we don’t owe – other than our suppliers which is normal run of the mill – we don’t actually owe a bank any money, we don’t have any loans outstanding or anything, everything that we owe is to to the shareholders.
“It’s not as if there’s anyone out there who’s going to do anything silly. As far as what we can portray to our sponsors, we’re fine, we are where we are.”