UPDATE: Official announcement Press Release
If you believe AUTOSPORT, and there are many reason to do so, then Renault have officially completed their takeover of Lotus F1. There were many issues at stake and mainly the car maker’s payment structure within Formula One Management’s prize money distribution model was chief among them. The team were seeking Historic Team status which garners a favorable chunk of the money on top of what they earn via their finishing position in the championship.
The article says that this was part of the obstacles for Renault CEO, Carlos Ghosn, but he agreed to F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone’s final offer. This means the team will be on the grid for 2016 as a Renault works operation and according to Lotus F1 CEO, Matthew Carter, the French manufacturer is buying back its team in much better shape than they left it.
“I’ve obviously my steer on it, but as far as I’m concerned they [Renault] are buying a much better team than when they left,” Lotus CEO Matthew Carter told Autosport.
“For all their faults, and people have had lots to say about Genii and its ownership, but they’ve invested heavily in the place.
“From when Renault sold the team, the windtunnel is much improved, there is now a driver-in-the-loop simulator, while other areas of the factory have been upgraded.”
Fair enough but I will say that Renault did pretty darn well with those shabby accommodations they had in Enstone back in the old days. They won two titles on the trot with Spaniard Fernando Alonso and beat Ferrari. They innovated many of F1’s trick designs and they also executed some of F1’s more controversial and embarrassing incidents such as Crash-gate in 2008.
Regardless, it will be interesting to see just how much progress the team can make with manufacturer resources and 32 new tokens to spend in 2016. The engine development from Renault Sport F1 seemed to hinge on a lot of things but now that it’s making it’s lump for its own chassis, maybe they will redouble their efforts?
AUTOSPORT is light on any details and mainly because this is a pre-announcement story with no details shared such as what will happen to Gerard Lopez, the Genii Capital investor who owns the Lotus F1 team? Is he to remain on board? What about Alan Permane and the folks at Enstone? Same as usual? Will Cyril Abiteboul come back into F1 as a team boss like he was at Caterham? Did Renault get “Historic Team” status with FOM? Can they change their name as registered team entrants with the FIA can’t just change names hence the Marussia tag even though the team was called Manor?
There are a lot of questions and hopefully Renault will make a formal announcement soon and answer some of the questions fans have about the arrangement.
Hat Tip: AUTOSPORT