Lotus Legion May Not Be at Full Strength at Indy500 - Page 2
Katherine Legge of Marina Del Rey, CA based Dragon Racing. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2012)
This excerpted and edited from SPEED.com -
INDYCAR: Tough Decisions Pending By The Series, Lotus, Its Teams
Lotus confirms in a SPEED.com exclusive that two of its teams have asked to switch manufacturers, but is it what the series needs and will it be allowed?
Marshall Pruett | Posted April 18, 2012
IndyCar fans have been treated to arguably the three best opening races in series history, but at the back of the grid, a much more serious—and far less pleasant—concern has finally reached its boiling point.
With three rounds completed, the bulk of the Lotus-powered teams have been mostly invisible in the final results, experiencing one gut-wrenching problem after another.
The conflict between Lotus and its teams reached a fever pitch when the marque informed its entrants that engines would not be made available for the April 4th test at Indianapolis, leaving Bryan Herta Autosport, Dragon Racing, HVM Racing and Lotus DRR in a very awkward position.
With the prospect of showing up to Indy next month with zero miles of testing on the Lotus engine around the 2.5-mile oval (not to mention teams starting IndyCar’s most important event with no laps of testing at the Brickyard on their Dallara DW12s), some of its teams have now filed breach of contract paperwork with the manufacturer.
A dispute between the manufacturer and those teams regarding the exact wording and obligations in their supply contracts has ensued, but the message being sent is clear: showing up late and unprepared for IndyCar’s Super Bowl is a surefire way to perform poorly, to possibly miss making the show and, when all is said and done, to kiss their sponsors goodbye.
Asked what the best-case scenario would be to come out of the breach of contract notices, one owner said receiving permission from the series to switch to a different engine manufacturer was the ultimate goal.
Simona de Silvestro of Britain-based HVM Racing. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2012)
Will Phillips, INDYCAR’s VP of Technology, holds the authority to allow said changes, but declined to comment when asked if he would permit any of the Lotus teams to change manufacturers during the season.
In a follow-up e-mail on Wednesday, Miodrag Kotur, Lotus’ Director of Motorsports Operations, confirmed that “We have also [have two teams], who would like to switch to another engine supplier, but it is still in discussion with us.”
To give some additional context to that scenario, the two Lotus teams would rather spend an additional $1 million to get a Chevy or Honda engine--which will have an increased engine pool size after Indy--and forfeit the money they’ve already paid to Lotus than to stay with their current supplier.
In a half-hour interview just before Sunday's Long Beach Grand Prix, Kotur fired back at a variety of comments, accusations and questions regarding his employers.