Suzuka (Japan): Formula One team Lotus were locked out of their hospitality hut at the Suzuka circuit and delivery of their freight was delayed due to payment problems ahead of Sunday's Japanese Grand Prix.
The outfit, currently sixth in the constructors' standings, are in a precarious financial position and are in talks with Renault to be taken over by the French manufacturer, even as they battle efforts in court by creditors to force them into administration.
A team spokesman said the outfit's well-documented cashflow problems combined with the time-zone difference between its base in the United Kingdom and Japan had led to the delay in payments.
With the rest of the teams set up and running in the Suzuka paddock, the team's freight – including car parts and their Mercedes-badged engines – was still arriving on Thursday afternoon.
However, the team remained locked out of the hospitality hut assigned to them, and media sessions with the drivers took place in the drizzle falling in the Suzuka paddock.
Despite the difficult circumstances and uncertainty surrounding Lotus' future, the team's mechanics and engineers rushed to get the cars ready to run in Friday's practice sessions, drawing praise from the team's French driver Romain Grosjean.
"The guys are going to do their best as always, we are here to race," said Grosjean, who raced to a podium finish at the Belgian Grand Prix on another weekend when the team's financial problems were in the spotlight.
"I've always said since day one that the group of people working at Enstone is unbelievable and again that's the proof."
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