Genii Capital set to offload Lotus F1?

Rumours emerged in the past few days that Gerard Lopez’s Genii Capital, owners of Lotus F1, may be in talks to sell the team.

It’s merely a rumour at the moment, but Sky Sports F1 commentator Martin Brundle confirmed it during a broadcast from the Indian GP this morning, suggesting that DRB-Hicom owned Proton might be in the running.

Stephane Samson, Head of Communications and Marketing at Lotus F1 Team, said in response “Yes they have been looking for minority investors like other teams, and they were close to doing a deal recently, however the deal could not be found in the end.”

However Samson was emphatic that “Proton has never been in the loop.” He also made it clear that the team is “still 100% owned by Genii.”

As I confirmed recently Proton is hardly in the position to acquire a F1 team, however there is some sense if DRB-Hicom were looking to sell Lotus as a complete business (reuniting the brand).

This would only be feasible if a buyer had approached the Malaysian conglomerate with a sufficiently attractive offer, since DRB is already highly geared with debts of more than $10bn.

Genii Capital meanwhile has strived valiantly this season as they continue to bootstrap Lotus F1, but the team has fallen behind its main rivals in the development race, making it increasingly difficult for drivers Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean to win a race in 2012.