Renault buys Lotus F1 team

Renault buys Lotus F1 team

Renault looks set to return to Formula 1 as a works entry in 2016 following an announcement that it has signed a letter of intent to take a controlling stake in the Lotus F1 team.

The Lotus team has been embroiled in financial difficulties all year and is currently fighting legal battles in court as well as its competitors on track.

With Renault's relationship with the Red Bull team having broken down following strong criticism of the French manufacturer's turbo V6 hybrid engine, the scene was set for it either to leave F1 altogether or purchase an existing team.

The move sees Renault buy back the team it sold to Genii Capital at the end of the 2009 season.

Despite lacking the budget of the manufacturer teams, Lotus - which has nothing to do with the road car business of the same name - has performed strongly in recent years, regularly appearing on the podium in 2012 and 2013.

A disastrous 2014 season followed, ironically largely due to the shorrtcomings of the Renault power unit.

Venezuelan Pastor Maldonado is already confirmed as one of the team's drivers for 2016, however his team-mate remains a mystery.

Frenchman Romain Grosjean would be an obvious choice, but he recently signed a contract to drive with the fledging Haas F1 team for 2016. It is rumoured, however, that there is a clause in the contract that allows Grosjean to stay put should the Renault buy-out come to fruition.

 

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