Welcome back Renault, it’s been a while

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It’s been a while since Renault were a full works team in Formula 1 and the last time they were, they won a few titles. According the the fine folks at AUTOSPORT, the French car maker will once again enter F1 through acquisition of the current team Lotus F1.

sources have indicated the French car manufacturer would take a stake up to 65 per cent, worth a total of £65million, with an initial downpayment of £7.5million to be followed by equal installments over the following 10 years.

Gerard Lopez, currently Lotus F1 team co-owner via his Genii organisation, looks set to remain as a shareholder with a potential stake of around 25 per cent, with four-time champion and Renault ambassador Alain Prost acquiring the remaining 10 per cent.

The arrangement with Lopez and Prost would be very similar to that at Mercedes where motorsport boss Toto Wolff and non-executive chairman Niki Lauda possess shareholdings in the F1 team.

It’s an interesting twist with former F1 driver and world champion Alain Prost involved but it could be a nice fit. What will also be interesting to see is who they retain as drivers. The report says that Frenchman Romain Grosjean is set to stay but that Pastor Maldonado, heavily backed by PDVSA, is negotiating.

The team would do well to look at all potential drivers including Jean-Eric Vergne and Nico Hulkenberg to get their program back on top.

This leaves the engine issue. Renault currently supply Red Bull and Toro Rosso and rumors have both outfits eager to end their engine supply contract early in favor of a Mercedes lump. Regardless, retaining the contract means revenue and it also could be a challenge as Lotus is supplied by Mercedes engines.

While the team would view 2017 as their first real year of being a fully developed works team, the details of engine contracts, driver contracts and more will weigh on the team during the 2016 campaign. Perhaps Lotus turns into Renault through a buy-in and still run Mercedes for a season?

I only have one request out of the whole deal and it’s a big one…could we please get the cars painted in traditional French Racing blue? For crying out loud!

Hat Tip: AUTOSPORT

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Tom Firth

Yayy can stop calling it ‘Lotus’ now! :-)

Paul KieferJr

Just out of curiosity, is there some reason why you want “Lotus” (in whatever guise it’s in) to die?

MIE

The team racing out of Enstone has zero connection to any company started by Colin Chapman. Calling it Lotus just confuses things. At least the world championship wreaths on the side of the car refer to the titles won by the Enstone team (1995 as Benetton, 2005 & 06 as Renault) and not the seven titles of the genuine Team Lotus (1963, 1965, 1968, 1970, 1972, 1973, 1978).

Tom Firth

What MIE said! I have never said I want Lotus to die, What I’ve said is this has nothing to do with either Group Lotus (The car company) or the Grand Prix team previously known as Team Lotus. Companies started by Colin Chapman and rightfully in my opinion, using the Lotus history.

Not just because it’s better to sell to sponsors than Genii F1 or whatever.

Janjua

Nonsense.

Nick L

So does this mean because of the Concorde agreement were going to be in a situation where the the team is called Lotus Geneii Mercedes Renault Racing?

They should just call it Enstone Renault Racing and be done with it. Regardless of what the team is called Enstone and the people who work there is the constant and that should be given some recognition once and a while.

Janjua

There is no need for that. The team is currently Lotus, then Lotus will leave, Renault will come and the team will become Renault. Very simple. I will certainly not like Lotus leaving.

Tom Firth

The team has nothing to do with ‘Lotus’, It is nothing more than a name which was licensed to them. It’s a complex long story that occured in the era when Group Lotus was becoming involved in every race series on the planet, prior to Proton (Lotus parent) to DRB-Hircom, and Dany Bahar leaving the company.

The Lotus F1 team is owned 90% by Genii Capital. The Luxembourg investment company.

Janjua

No, the team is still Lotus.You can not deny that. Even though Genii Capital own the team, the team has always been run with the backing and support of Group Lotus which makes the team actuall Lotus and not what you stupid people think.

Negative Camber

The team is not backed by Lotus. Also, careful with the name calling mate. Please use another F1 website that loves trolling and flaming…this is not one of them.

Janjua

The team is backed by Lotus, as Group Lotus sponsored the team. No one can ‘use a name’ without the consultation and backing of the owner, it is not not possible. You people do not understand

Negative Camber

I’m not going to argue the point, mate. Group Lotus severed all ties. Look at all the links above that Tom provided speaking to that very issue. I also know some folks at Lotus who say the same thing. As for trolling, you said “and not what you stupid people think”. In our book, that is trolling and calling people names. Please find another F1 website to personally attack people and insist you’re right even in the face of clear evidence that you are not. This clearly isn’t the website for you my friend. We encourage the sharing of opinion… Read more »

The Captain

Now this is some good news! Renault back, Grosjean being in a French team. Maldonado (hopefully) getting punted down the grid! As far as the engines goes, this gets really interesting. Lotus is running a Merc, and it would be assumed that the 2016 car is already designed around one. BUT if the lotus/Renault car next year has to run a merc (either by contract or design) and Red Bull and Toro Rosso want out, would it be better for Renault to force them to stay and have the track time running their engine next year and get some money… Read more »

Samouri

Regarding Maldonado…..from your mouth to Gods ears!

Jason Smith

This is a really interesting scenario. I’ll be looking forward to reading a well-informed response.

Janjua

That is possible but highly unlikely as the FIA have probably thought of that potential loophole. Firstly the FIA knows that Renault are currently suppliers and even if Renault terminate and cancel the Red Bull contract, Renault would probably not be able to come back in as a new entrant or participant as the FIA know that they are going to put the engine from the Red Bull and Torro Rosso into there own Renault.

Daniel Johnson

So can we start the Alonso to Red Bull Mercedes rumors yet?

Alp-Ren

Renault colors are yellow not french blue!

Paul KieferJr

Technically, they’re blue-white-and-red…just three broad vertical stripes. (Well, to really be technical, and drawing from my admittedly limited heraldry knowledge, it’s “tierced per pale azure, argent and gules”.)

MIE

Renault while French, does not tend to race with its cars painted to resemble the national flag. It has usually raced with yellow black and white cars.

Tom Firth

Does depend what era, It’s either French Racing Blue, for the national colours of racing and the Gordini history. The traditional yellow for Renault or lets just go completely nuts and do what Louis Renault did and have it Red and Black so we get the history of 1903.

Alp-Ren

That was before Louis Renault change the company logo and change the colors to gold!

Tom Firth

It was Indeed, I just couldn’t resist mentioning it was once Red :-)

Alp-Ren

Since the end of the obligation to race with national colors Renault uses the yellow, only Alpine races with blue.

Junipero Mariano

Renault powered by Mercedes would be really funny. Maybe Enstone, Red Bull, and Mercedes can agree to swap engine supplying contracts. Renault powers its own cars without anybody complaining, Red Bull gets a reliable and powerful engine, and Mercedes supplies gets another engine contract.

Tom Firth

Hey we had BMW Sauber F1 team – Ferrari for abit …

jiji the cat

Nicholas racing for his dad? Can see it happening

Tom Firth

Nicholas wouldn’t get a Super-license in 2016. Not too bad a call otherwise though.

jiji the cat

Yeah, but watch this space. As soon as he’s qualified

Tom Firth

Going to have to win Formula E for it to happen. Isn’t going to get a super-license racing for Rebellion.

Jimmy Wallace

If Ligier makes a comeback…THEN we can bring out the blue paint…can’t use Gitanes sponsorship anymore though…

Tom Firth

Loved that livery! Rest in peace Guy Ligier.
He was still involved in racing until very recently with Onroak in LMP2.

Leyton House was blue but the wrong shade, and do we really want Leyton House back even if could… Hmm ;-)

Prost’s last French blue cars weren’t great. his interview with FIA AUTO magazine last month said that was doomed from day one though, with Peugeot etc.

Let’s hope this is a better venture for him.