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A brief reprieve for Lotus

NEWS STORY
18/09/2015

Whilst Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado were on track in Singapore fighting rivals Force India and Toro Rosso, lawyers for the Enstone outfit were in the High Court pleading for the team's survival.

Arguing that more time is needed as the team seeks a solution to its financial crisis, hopefully a buy-in from Renault, the Enstone outfit was given an adjournment until 28 September, the day after the Japanese Grand Prix.

"It is to be regarded as a final adjournment," said Justice Birss, at the Chancery Division of the London High Court, the judge even agreeing to delay the start of his holiday for continuity.

Opposing the adjournment were lawyers for HMRC (HM Revenue & Customs) who claim that debts are mounting and the team has shown no sign of paying them. They argued that over 900k of income tax and national insurance contributions are due on 22 September, the team having failed to pay similar amounts in July and August.

"The people they need to pay have been paid," argued HMRC," said barrister Jeremy Bamford. "They are taking advantage of the involuntary credit to HMRC. The concern for HMRC is that the negotiations have been going on for some time and we keep on getting assurances that the deal is nearly done."

Lawyers for the team insisted that discussions with Renault had progressed since the previous adjournment and that main shareholder Gerard Lopez has signed a letter of intent which Renault is also expected to sign soon.

They also confirmed that a payment from Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA is due on 1 November, and that the sponsorship deal would continue into 2016 providing the team doesn't go into administration.

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