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Boullier admits to cash flow problem

NEWS STORY
21/09/2013

Although clearly stung by Kimi Raikkonen's revelation regarding non-payment, Lotus team boss Eric Boullier has admitted that his team has a cash flow problem.

In the wake of Raikkonen's admission on Thursday that the main reason he left Lotus was because he hadn't been paid, Boullier, who for some time had been insisting that he would retain the Finn, admitted to being surprised that the driver had made the situation public.

"It's obviously a bad message, but I don't know why he decided to publicly speak about his finance situation," he told Sky Sports F1.

It's a bad message because when new gets out - and there were already plenty of stories out there about Lotus - that you have money problems, suppliers tend to stop supplying, service providers tend to stop providing services and employees begin to look elsewhere.

Some chose to turn the story on its head accusing the Finn of moving to Ferrari purely for the money however, Boullier's admission that a similar situation existed in 2012, when again Raikkonen was paid late, says a lot for the Iceman demonstrating that he isn't driven by cash and was fully prepared to give the Enstone team another chance.

Speaking on Friday, Boullier admitted that there is a cash flow situation at Enstone and that the team has to prioritise who gets paid first, after all if the car cannot be built (and updated), there is nothing for the drivers to drive.

"The truth is that yes, we owe him money so that's true," said the Frenchman. "He's going to be paid, that's true too and if you want to have a little bit more of the story, last year in the same period it was the same story; we were owing him some money but at the end of the year he was fully paid. It's just the way we manage our cash flow.

"Unfortunately we are not as rich as some other teams on the grid," he continued. "You can also understand that a team capable of winning this year and fighting for some podiums may not be as sustainable as it should be. We have obviously favoured our people working in Enstone which is understandable I think, obviously the car development because this is the essence of Formula One if you want to keep competing. So there is nothing else behind this story."

Putting aside the obvious issue of ever rising costs, which, ironically, was discussed by five of the most vulnerable teams at the Friday press conference, the fact is that many would have a lot more sympathy for Lotus had they been a bit more honest and open. They are not alone in suffering cash flow problems, however, the press releases and constant denials from Boullier and Gerard Lopez have done them no favours indeed, quite the opposite.

Speaking on Thursday, when asked who might replace Raikkonen in 2014, Boullier insisted the team was not looking for a pay driver. He also said the list of hopefuls included some "fun names".

Let's hope those fun names have a sense of humour... especially around pay day.

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