THE head of the finance firm behind a West Oxfordshire-based Formula 1 racing team has assured workers their future is secure, despite the business racking up a multi-million pound loss.

Gerard Lopez, chairman of the executive board of Lotus F1 and co-founder of Genii Capital, the investment firm that owns the Enstone-based team, spoke to the Oxford Mail after accounts last month revealed the business had made a £56.8m pre-tax loss.

He said: “Since we acquired the team we have continued to hire and we have continued to build its operations.

“It would make no sense to start doing the opposite.”

Accounts for the year ending December 31, 2012 show Lotus losses grew from £20.8m for the same period the previous year, while turnover tumbled from £115.6m to £92.7m.

The team, which employs about 520 staff at Enstone, said a difficult financial climate internationally and within Formula One was responsible for the figures.

Mr Lopez added: “This loss is less than most teams.

“If we wrote off the loans then the team would be in profit.”

The relationship between Group Lotus and Lotus F1 changed in early 2012, from a sponsorship deal to a licensing agreement.

Originally based in Witney, the team that is now Lotus F1 first appeared in the sport as Toleman Motorsport in 1981.

In 1985 global clothing company Benetton purchased the team and in 1992 it relocated to Enstone.

Benetton departed Formula 1 in 2000 and engine supplier Renault took control.

Genii Capital purchased a majority stake in 2009, becoming the sole shareholder the following year.

The name changed to Lotus Renault GP in 2011 when Group Lotus agreed to sponsor and license the Lotus name.

It became Lotus F1 in 2012 when the team took on world champion Kimi Räikkönen and GP2 Serieschampion Romain Grosjean.