Haas visit revs up rumors of Lotus F1 strife (Update)

UPDATE

Gene Haas would be wise just to buy the Lotus team than try and start from scratch with a backmarker Dallara chassis. He'll learn quick the error of his ways

This rumor is downgraded to 'false.' A source close to F1's newest team owner Gene Haas has denied reports linking the Californian with Lotus.

Amid rumors Enstone based Lotus is struggling to pay its Renault engine bill in 2014, it was suggested in the Barcelona paddock that Haas was set to visit Lotus' UK headquarters this week.

It triggered speculation Haas, 62, may have listened to the critics and acknowledged that basing his new team in the United States might not be a good idea.

But according to Motorsport.com, a 'top Haas Formula official' denied the Sky Sports report.

"He (Haas) is not looking at Lotus," the source said, adding that Haas is travelling to Europe but not on F1-related business.

05/11/14 (GMM) Big paddock rumors are swirling around the future of F1's Enstone team.

Once Ayrton Senna's first team, Toleman, the outfit subsequently became title winning Benetton and Renault, before Kimi Raikkonen won races in the current black and gold 'Lotus' guise.

But Finn Raikkonen departed after bitterly revealing he was not being paid, and rumors of financial trouble have struck again, despite the millions brought to the team by the well-connected Venezuelan Pastor Maldonado.

Lotus appeared to have been left stranded as the team that has not paid disgruntled engine supplier Renault so far in 2014, after fellow customers Toro Rosso and Caterham insisted all their invoices are up to date.

But a Lotus spokesman said in Barcelona: "We have an agreement with Renault for the payment of our power unit for 2014. We are 100 per cent up to date with our agreement."

Nevertheless, the rumor mill was already shifting gear, as reports on British television Sky emerged that Gene Haas – F1's next team owner – is set to visit Enstone.

Some have suggested the Californian may have listened to the critics and acknowledged that basing his new team in the United States might not be a good idea.

One such critic is Toro Rosso team chief Franz Tost, who said in Spain: "I would not like to do that to be honest.

"Getting highly-skilled technical people to Italy is one of the main problems for Toro Rosso! These people prefer to stay in England, where the best infrastructure for F1 exists," he told F1's official website.

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