Renault’s future in Formula 1 remains on hold
Renault’s Formula 1 future will remain uncertain into next week at least with the carmaker on Friday ruling out any announcement at the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Renault Sport managing director Cyril Abiteboul told reporters there would be no news this weekend about the company’s intentions, including a long-awaited takeover of the struggling Lotus team.
“There will be an announcement, very likely, in the course of next week,” he added. “We always said we would like to do that after the season — the season is ending on Sunday — around the start of December, so we will stick to that plan.”
Lotus, the team previously owned by Renault, are due back in the London High Court on 7 December in a postponed hearing brought by the British tax authorities seeking to put them into administration.
Renault chief executive Carlos Ghosn has said the carmaker, whose current involvement in the sport is limited to supplying engines to Red Bull and Toro Rosso, will either get more involved or withdraw.
The situation appeared to be resolved a few months ago, when Renault provided a letter of intent to the High Court and seconded staff to work with Mercedes-powered Lotus at their Enstone factory in central England. However, doubt has increased since then.
Lotus have had to be bailed out by Formula One’s commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone amid reports that talks between him and Renault have bogged down over prize money and demands for payments reflecting their historic contribution.
Ongoing discussions about future regulations are also understood to be adding to the uncertainty.
The situation has also delayed an announcement by Red Bull about their 2016 engine, which is expected to be provided by Renault despite a falling-out between the partners who won multiple titles together.
Team principal Christian Horner said, however, that Red Bull were now sure they would have an engine after months of uncertainty.
Lotus deputy principal Federico Gastaldi, whose team were unable to get their cars into the Yas Marina circuit until Thursday afternoon due to financial issues, said it was Renault’s call.
“We are on the same page… we have been working all the time since the race in Singapore. We have Renault people already at the factory and it doesn’t change anything,” he told reporters.
“They are the ones who have to announce, we cannot push Renault to make the decision.”