Motor Racing: Financial problems force Lotus' closure

Lotus have pulled out of this year's Formula One world championship, and despite the endeavours of David Hunt, the new owner, it seems the most evocative name in British motor racing will be consigned to history.

Hunt, the brother of the late James Hunt, yesterday told the workforce of 60 at the team's Norfolk base that they were being made redundant. Unable to raise the necessary funds to prepare cars for the new season, which starts in March, he had to bow to the inevitable. He insisted, however, that he would continue to strive to merge with another team or revive a genuine effort at Lotus next year.

In a statement, Team Lotus said the decision to lay off their employees was "based on the fact that funding contractually due had not arrived, and in the absence of that money the company was no longer able to offer staff a realistic prospect of ongoing employment."

Hunt said there had been no option to making the workforce redundant, and admitted the decision undermined Lotus's chances of finding an investor. "Our primary responsibility is to the staff, and we will do everything we can to help them find gainful employment, either with us or elsewhere."

Hunt maintained that Lotus was seriously evaluating approaches from other teams to create a joint effort this year, which would ensure the team's name was represented.

"We are open to all possibilities that can realistically put Team Lotus back where it belongs," he said. "What I want to avoid is allowing the team to be put in a situation where it is going to struggle around at the back of the grid, and have its name dragged further through the mud. The other possibility is to take steps to refinance, reorganise and rebuild during 1995, with a view to returning to the grid in good order in 1996.

"There are still real possibilities for the future. I am confident that there is a path through all this to long-term security. Other than Ferrari, the Team Lotus name is arguably the strongest in grand prix racing."

Lotus, brought into Formula One in 1958 by the founder of the company, Colin Chapman, won 79 grands prix and seven constructors' championships in their golden period through the 1960s and 1970s. Jim Clark (twice), Graham Hill, Jochen Rindt, Emerson Fitt ipaldi and Mario Andretti won the drivers' title with the team. more recent drivers included Nigel Mansell and Ayrton Senna.

Since Chapman's death in 1982, the team's fortunes have waned and Senna's victory in Detroit - almost eight years ago - was their last. Dwindling funds and last year's uncompetitive car proved too great a burden for Peter Collins and his aides to carry. Hunt took over from the administrator but he, too, found the odds overwhelmingly against him.

End of an era, page 38

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Manager

£35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity to...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Manager - Production

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: Trainee Managers are required to join the UK's...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales Manager

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: You will maximise the effective...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + uncapped commission : SThree: Hello! I know most ...

Day In a Page

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss