I Went To Japan To Drum Up Some Sponsorship And All I Got Was This Lousy F1 Team
There are many reasons to take out a subscription to AUTOSPORT Plus, not least of which is that you’ll occasionally get to read stuff by me.
Tony Dodgins caught up with David Hunt, notional owner of the Team Lotus name, at the Singapore Grand Prix. Many commenters have questioned Hunt’s motives in relation to the Team Lotus legacy, and I would commend this story to them so that they can take a balanced view.
I was particularly taken with this quote, about how he came to acquire the whole mess:
I had been helping with the sponsorship, consulting to the Peter Collins-led management and was asked to help try and rescue the team from the administrator. Kenny Wapshot and I had gone to set up Team Lotus Japan and bring in Japanese money. We were asked to represent a consortium who wanted to buy it but didn’t want their names known.
I was asked to front it and they didn’t have the money ready. Kenny and I were prevailed upon to put the funds up, which we did. We were told that if we bought it certain things would happen and we’d be alright. We did, and we weren’t. We were left holding a rather large and expensive baby.
There was certainly no plan to own a Formula 1 team, and certainly not one in trouble. We literally woke up one day and realised we’d been had over. We owned a Formula 1 team that had all its contracts breached, we had no sponsorship, no drivers and 96 staff, most of which had been there a long time, some of them 25 years plus, since Chunky [Chapman] himself.
You can read the full story here.