As the morning practice session began, the team’s cars were still sitting in the garage, according to reports from several news providers, including the Telegraph.
Payments to Pirelli are made on a quarterly basis and this time around, Lotus were due to pay £350,000, the newspaper claimed.
But when the money did not transfer – due to a banking technicality, according to Lotus – Pirelli refused to release their supply of tyres for the weekend.
In fact the late payment itself was resolved with an hour still to go before morning practice began, but the process of receiving the tyres and warming them up to track temperature ready to race meant the cars were not quite ready when the session began.
The Telegraph’s Daniel Johnson reports that the blame game in F1 finance is a complicated one, as some point the finger at the teams’ own accountants, while others argue that the prize money is not distributed entirely fairly, and modern rules have seen the cost of developing hybrid engines skyrocket.
You might think Lotus are at the top of their particular supply chain – if they don’t race, it only hurts the team, right?
But the Telegraph article includes a nod to Jolyon Palmer, the English reserve driver with Lotus this season.
Palmer is reportedly paying “a substantial sum” to get behind the wheel of the Lotus E23 Hybrid in this year’s pre-race practice sessions – so the time during which the cars were stuck wheelless in the garage in Budapest was arguably on his buck.
Ultimately he made it out on to the track for just four laps during the session – an example of how late payment can have repercussions up and down even the most unusual of supply chains, with a global audience.
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