Sep.17 (GMM/Inautonews.com) Lotus has been the victim as more powerful teams waved chequebooks to lure key people.
In quick succession, Ferrari has poached Lotus’ technical director James Allison, star driver Kimi Raikkonen, and aerodynamics chief Dirk de Beer.
France’s Auto Hebdo claims computational fluid dynamics boss Jarrod Murphy is also departing.
Speaking before the latest wave of departures became clear, Lotus’ chief executive Patrick Louis said: “It is clear that the average wage at the top teams is higher than ours.
“At certain levels, their salaries far exceed the standards.”
Louis insists, however, that the Enstone based team will continue to thrive.
“People only see the visible part of the iceberg — the stars, let’s say,” he said.
“But our structure is designed so that I am able to replace the various heads of the divisions overnight.
“A team should not be a house of cards that collapses when someone leaves.”
It must also be noted that the Lotus-Ferrari exchange has not been all one-way. It emerged this week that Nicolas Hennel de Beaupreau, a well-regarded aerodynamicist, is leaving Ferrari bound for the Enstone based team.
Italy’s Autosprint reports that a deal may have been struck between the two teams, allowing both Hennel and the Ferrari-bound Dirk de Beer to avoid the customary ‘gardening leave’.
Correspondent Alberto Antonini speculates that the ‘gardening leave’ deal might even be tied up with long time driver Felipe Massa’s possible move from Ferrari to Lotus for 2014.