Quantum will need to deliver on their Lotus Formula One pledge

All eyes were on Kimi Raikkonen and Lotus in Abu Dhabi at the weekend - and understandably so. Photo

All eyes were on Kimi Raikkonen and Lotus in Abu Dhabi at the weekend - and understandably so. Photo: Andrew Ferraro - Credit: Archant

Threatening a no-show, disappearing as quickly as he arrived, swearing over the team radio and clearly unhappy on his brief appearances around the paddock – enigmatic Kimi Raikkonen at his best.

In fact, as far as the stunning setting and in the words of David Coulthard, 'Mickey Mouse' Abu Dhabi Grand Prix weekend went, it's hard to imagine how things could have gone any worse for the Finn.

Fortunately, it seems Enstone-based Lotus are getting their house in order. New backers Quantum Motorsports – assuming they finally get their 35pc purchase sorted – are planning to ensure Raikkonen's 2013 salary of £10m is paid to their number one driver. So far this year, he hasn't received a penny.

No wonder he fancied the idea of skipping the rest of the season.

For Quantum chairman Mansoor Ijaz, it's going to be a busy time.


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'We're going to clear off the debt, and then we're going to bring very high quality sponsors, which you'll see very soon,' said Ijaz. 'Those sponsors will give us the longevity and capacity to compete at the top end of the business for a long time.

'The team is going to pay a lot of bills this week, let's put it that way. We've asked them to make sure things get paid as soon as possible.'

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And in truth, Lotus need it. With Kimi and a host of experienced design personnel having already left, Enstone is going to require all its concentration on the track in 2014, rather than financial issues.

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At least Quantum's plans extend to installing Nico Hulkenberg as Raikkonen's replacement – the consortium's confirmed first choice.

With Grosjean, that would complete a very attractive driver line-up for next term.

Add new sponsors, and the finances won't be far off either.

In fact, the remaining question might be how long the Enstone team carries Norfolk's famous marque?

If the Lotus name is helping bring in backers, then there's little reason for a change.

But if it's making no impact, Enstone could have another identity crisis on its hands.

• Rather sadly, the GP2 Series came to an end in Abu Dhabi – sad more for the fact that it almost completely passed me by.

Only a few years ago we had two Norfolk-based teams and another carrying the Lotus name all competing on the rung below F1 in the motorsport ladder.

This year, it was only Caterham Racing – and they've had a pretty difficult year of it, split between Hingham and the team's new Leafield base.

Griston's Super Nova continue to enjoy Auto GP, while Isport's GP2 break will run until 2016 at least – meaning Caterham will continue to be Norfolk's sole representation in a series that used to underline the county's single-seater heritage.

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