Renault buyout of Lotus still uncertain
With the Renault buyout still not done, the prevailing mood of uncertainty remains at Lotus for now.
It could be that Red Bull’s eleventh-hour efforts to patch up its broken relationship with Renault threw a spanner in the works of the Lotus buyout deal.
“A letter of intent is something,” the Haas-bound Lotus driver Romain Grosjean told F1’s official website on Thursday, “but it is not the real thing. I am hoping for the team that it survives — for all the great people who work there.”
Some believe that Lotus’ now confirmed lineup for 2016 of Pastor Maldonado alongside Jolyon Palmer – drivers who each bring financial backing – is a strong hint that not all is well with the Renault buyout deal.
When asked about the team’s prospects for 2016, Venezuelan Maldonado said in Mexico: “I hope it will be a completely different year to this one, with more resources. We need to push harder than this year, especially on the car and try to be more solid on the development.”
One theory is that if Lotus does become the works Renault team, the French carmaker will at least want a French driver as the official reserve for 2016.
But BT, a Danish newspaper, said Dane Kevin Magnussen is now linked with that role, perhaps on the promise that he will then step into the race seat for 2017.
“That is speculation, and it (the third driver role) is not something we are giving much thought to at the moment,” a Lotus team spokesman said.