IBJNews

Lotus may leave IndyCar one year into five-year deal

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

Group Lotus Plc is considering leaving the IndyCar Series as an engine supplier at the end of this season—its first as a part of a five-year deal it signed last year to supply turbo engines to IndyCar teams.

Lotus' IndyCar project manager, Olivier Picquenot, said, “we are still committed to the end of the season,” but admitted the company’s plans after this year are unclear.

“Our owners will study every department at the end of the year,” Picquenot said Thursday. “It’s very difficult to say if they will be committed for the next four years.”

The IndyCar season only has four races remaining, concluding Sept. 15 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif.

Lotus and IndyCar officials had no comment on how the contract might be settled if the engine maker decides to bolt the series.

The agreement was much celebrated by IndyCar Series CEO Randy Bernard last year when Lotus, along with Chevrolet, joined the series to compete with Honda as the open-wheel series unveiled its new turbo engine formula. This season marks the first in seven years that the open-wheel series has had more than one engine supplier.

Bernard initially announced that Lotus, Honda and Chevy would each supply engines for one-third of the field. He backed off that statement early this year when it became clear Lotus’ engine-development program was significantly behind Honda's and Chevy's.

The John Judd-built Lotus engine was a late arrival to the IndyCar field last winter and faced further obstacles when the Malaysian-owned, British-based sports car manufacturer was sold, which resulted in a freeze on its accounts and strained relations with Lotus’ partner teams in IndyCar.

In April, Dreyer & Reinbold Racing and Bryan Herta Autosport broke off relationships with Lotus to pursue faster, more competitive engines and because Lotus was having difficulty meeting supply demands.

By the time May rolled around, HVM Racing’s entry, piloted by Simona de Silvestro, was Lotus’ sole IndyCar entry apart from Jean Alesi’s Indianapolis 500-only run. Both Lotus-powered cars were quickly black-flagged on race day at Indianapolis because they were dramatically slower than the other cars. De Silvestro has regularly been at the back of the field in subsequent races despite a series-approved upgrade to the Lotus V6 earlier this month.

If Lotus, which is owned by DRB-Hicom, does decide to end its program, it would have to negotiate an exit from its contract with IndyCar. Series officials said they have not had conversations with Lotus about the company’s future.

Lotus’ decision on whether or not to stay in the series beyond this season could be based on how much improvement it is able to make before the end of the season and how much ground it can make up on Honda and Chevy, Picquenot said.

 

ADVERTISEMENT

  • Turd Class
    That is exactly how Derrick Daly would say it. Heads should roll for this....bring me ***** ********* head on a platter! Rumor has it KIA is interested...

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. Only half a million TV Viewers? And thats an increase? I knew Indycar was struggling but I didn't know it was that bad. Hell, if NASCAR hits 5 Million viewers everyone starts freaking out saying its going down hill. It has a long way to before Indycar even hits NASCAR's bad days.

  2. IU has been talking that line for years with no real progress even with the last Dean, Dr. Brater. Why will an outsider, Dr. Hess, make a difference? With no proof of additional resources (cash in the bank), and a concrete plan to move an academic model that has been outdated for decades with a faculty complacent with tenure and inertia, I can count on IU to remain the same during the tenure of Dr. Hess. One ought to look to Purdue and Notre Dame for change and innovation. It is just too bad that both of those schools do not have their own medical school. Competition might wake up IU. My guess is, that even with those additions to our State, IU will remain in its own little world squandering our State's tax dollars. Why would any donor want to contribute to IU with its track record? What is its strategy to deal with the physician shortage for our State? New leadership will not be enough for us to expect any change.

  3. How do you think the Bridges got approved? I spent a couple days researching PAC's and individual contributions to some city council members during that time. My printouts were inches thick on the two I concentrated on. Finally gave up. Was disgusted with all the donations, and who they were from. Would have taken me days and days to compile a complete list. Tried to give it to the Star reporter, but he thought it was all just fine. (and apparently he was treated well himself) He ended up being laid off or fired though. And then of course, there was land donated to the dad's club, or city, as a partial payoff. All done in the shining example of "charity." No, none of these contributions are a coincidence.

  4. I agree what kind of help or if any will be there for Dr. Ley's patients. I was a patient myself.

  5. What about the hundreds of patients who sought this doctor for the right reasons, to quit drugs. what option do these patients now have, experience horrible withdrawl or return to heroin?? those are the choices. what about the children of these former addicts who's parent(s) WILL not b able to maintain their job, for @ least 2 weeks.. There needs to b an emergency clinic opened for these patients.

ADVERTISEMENT