Renault set for majority stake in Lotus to return as F1 works team
French car maker Renault on Monday announced it would buy a majority stake in the financially stretched Lotus Formula 1 motor racing team in a move that could allow it return as a team in time for the 2016 season.
Lotus, one of the sport’s iconic names and the team that won world championships with Michael Schumacher and Fernando Alonso in previous guises of Benetton and Renault, are hoping to be rescued by Renault.
Lotus have faced a series of legal actions against them this season, with bailiffs impounding their cars after the Belgian Grand Prix in a dispute with former reserve Charles Pic.
In Japan, they were locked out of a hospitality unit intended for their use after they failed to pay circuit organisers.
Lotus were due in court on Monday, where they were confident of avoiding administration even if money owed to Britain’s tax authorities remains outstanding.
“Physically, cash doesn’t have to be in a bank account,” Lotus Chief Executive Matthew Carter told Reuters at the Japanese Grand Prix on Sunday when asked about the technicalities.
Official Media Statement:
Renault Group and Gravity Motorsports S.a.r.l., an affiliate of Genii Capital SA, are pleased to announce the signature of a Letter of Intent regarding the potential acquisition by Renault of a controlling stake in Lotus F1 Team Ltd.
The signature of this Letter of Intent marks Renault’s first step towards the project of a Renault Formula 1 team from the 2016 racing season thereby extending 38 years of commitment of the brand to world’s premier motorsport championship series.
Renault Group and Gravity will work together in the coming weeks to eventually turn this initial undertaking into a definitive transaction provided all terms and conditions are met between them and other interested parties.