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. I'm a CPA who works with a wide range of companies (through my firm K.B.Parrish & Co.); however, we work with quite a few car dealerships, so I'm fairly interested in Fatwin (mentioned in the article). Does anyone have much information on that, or a link to such information? Thanks.

  2. Historically high long-term unemployment, unprecedented labor market slack and the loss of human capital should not be accepted as "the economy at work [and] what is supposed to happen" and is certainly not raising wages in Indiana. See Chicago Fed Reserve: goo.gl/IJ4JhQ Also, here's our research on Work Sharing and our support testimony at yesterday's hearing: goo.gl/NhC9W4

  3. I am always curious why teachers don't believe in accountability. It's the only profession in the world that things they are better than everyone else. It's really a shame.

  4. It's not often in Indiana that people from both major political parties and from both labor and business groups come together to endorse a proposal. I really think this is going to help create a more flexible labor force, which is what businesses claim to need, while also reducing outright layoffs, and mitigating the impact of salary/wage reductions, both of which have been highlighted as important issues affecting Hoosier workers. Like many other public policies, I'm sure that this one will, over time, be tweaked and changed as needed to meet Indiana's needs. But when you have such broad agreement, why not give this a try?

  5. I could not agree more with Ben's statement. Every time I look at my unemployment insurance rate, "irritated" hardly describes my sentiment. We are talking about a surplus of funds, and possibly refunding that, why, so we can say we did it and get a notch in our political belt? This is real money, to real companies, large and small. The impact is felt across the board; in the spending of the company, the hiring (or lack thereof due to higher insurance costs), as well as in the personal spending of the owners of a smaller company.

ADVERTISEMENT