Formula One Teams Burn up $300 Million of Debt, 64.2% from Lotus

September 1
10:07 PM 2015

The ten teams in Formula One auto racing are under a total debt of $318.2 million, and 64.2% of that belongs to Lotus.

Lotus belongs to Genii Capital, a private equity firm founded by Skype investor Gerard Lopez. Creditors have been going after Lotus for the last several months. Its cars were almost impounded during the Belgian Grand Prix last weekend after former reserve driver Charles Pic filed a legal dispute.

Just last month, Lotus was ordered by the courts to pay almost £600,000 of debts. This was after it failed to pay 27 of its bills.

There are reports that Renault will acquire Lotus and save it from its massive debt. According to reports, the French manufacturer will give the Formula One team an up front payment of $80 million. After that, Renault will give them $10 million per season for the next 10 seasons.

According to the year-end report in 2013, Lotus has a total net debt of $204.3 million. This amount is three times higher compared to the rest of the seven teams that are under debt.

Following Lotus is McLaren with a total net debt of $61.4 million. Manor has $33.8 million, Force India has $23.2 million, Mercedes has $6.8 million, Toro Rosso has about $800,000, Red Bull technology has about $700,000, and Williams has $11.5 million.  

Net debt provides a cleared picture of a company's liquidity. According to reports, the F1 teams won a total of $863.1 million in prize money in 2014. The least paid among them got $46.9 million. The bizarre business model they follow is one of the major reasons why they are still under piles of debt despite the prices they won. F1 teams get their money from sponsorship, which accounts to 37% of the budget. Then, 35% comes from the prize money, and 19% comes from payments from the team's owner. The directors of these team manage them to have enough to break even.

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