"Lotus will be number 1 in twelve months" – Mansoor Ijaz
Lotus’ new team co-owner has lurched into formula one with bravado, claiming the Enstone based team will be “number 1 in twelve months”.
Former 100 per cent team owner Genii Capital announced on Tuesday that Infinity Racing, comprising an American hedge fund, an Abu Dhabi group and an oil-rich royal family, has bought 65pc of the team whose lead driver is Kimi Raikkonen.
Telegraph correspondent Tom Cary reported on Wednesday that the royal family is “believed to be Brunei”, whose Sultan is among the richest people on earth. “It is clear the new shareholders are not going to sit idly in the background,” said Cary.
Infinity’s chairman is Mansoor Ijaz, a New York-based American of Pakistani ancestry who is an investment banker and media commentator. In a bullish first interview with Sportspro magazine, he insisted: “I say it simply, flatly, completely — we’ll be number 1 in 12 months.” He was more cautious when it came to the reports about the Brunei link. “I will not comment on the royal family, whether it’s Brunei or not — I’m not going to comment on that,” said Ijaz.
But he did say Infinity is entering F1 “to bring our technological capabilities”, while Tuesday’s press release referred to the KERS technology in the sport. “I won’t go too much into that today because I want to keep some elements of surprise in terms of what we’re going to do to win the championship, but we have enormous technological capabilities that we can bring and we’re going to make Lotus the number one team for sponsorship within the next year,” added Ijaz.
He said his younger brother Mujeeb will be “an important part of the story”. “I would say we will be integrally involved in the technology development side, as the engines change next year, as technology comes to the front,” said Ijaz.
Info: GMM, Image: Lotus F1 Team