Renault-Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn confirms that the French brand will return to F1 in 2016 as a constructor following its acquisition of the Lotus team
Darren Moss
3 December 2015

Renault will return to Formula 1 in 2016 with its own team, following its full acquisition of the Lotus team in a deal said to be worth around €111 million (about £80 million).

Having signed a letter of intent to potentially acquire the Lotus F1 team back in September, the French brand has now confirmed it will compete with its own team during the 2016 season. The deal was reportedly finalised at last weekend's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, when F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone met with Renault Sport president Jerome Stoll. A statement from the company says that particular attention has been paid to competing "in a financially sound way."

Announcing the firm's return to F1, Renault-Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn said: "Renault had two options: to come back at 100% or leave. After a detailed study, I have decided that Renault will be in Formula 1, starting 2016. The final details supplied by F1’s main stakeholders gave us the confidence to accept this new challenge. Our ambition is to win - even if it will take some time.”

Renault admits that the payback given to the brand as an engine supplier has been "limited", and that "the return on investment necessitatated by the new engine regulations and the return in terms of image were low." Renault announced earlier this year that it would cease supplying engines to teams as of the end of this season, and would either look to enter the sport fully or walk away from F1. Renault now returns as a constructor for the first time since 2011.

Work will now continue on the logistics of taking over the Lotus F1 team, but Renault says it wants the acquisition to be completed 'as quickly as possible'. The firm says its return to F1 "is confirmation that it sees motorsport as an essential part of the brand’s identity. Formula 1 is the ultimate symbol of the passion for automobiles."

It's understood that Renault will also use F1 as a technology showcase. The brand is already promising that technology used in its F1 campaign will filter down into its road cars, saying: "It simultaneously allows Renault to build bridges between the advanced technologies seen in the world championship and its road cars, particularly in the fields of electric and hybrid vehicles."

Investment in the Renaultsport division is also being stepped up, with Renault promising the sub-brand will be "active on every continent and in even more segments with vehicles that meet the needs of their different markets."

Renault has a long-standing relationship with the Lotus F1 team, and helped the team to acheive world championship victories in 2005 and 2006.

More details on Renault's return to F1 - including details of its racing programme - will be revealed in January before the new F1 season begins next March. It is understood that the firm has commited to remaining in F1 for nine years, through to the end of the 2024 season. Autosport reports Renault has received an advance payment for its first six years of activity, as well as retaining all historical rights.

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Comments
3

4 December 2015
You can pull out of the files every few years and dust off. Renault quits F1, Renault is back in F1 sort of, Renault commits to F1. And so on.

4 December 2015
So Lotus quits again. Hardly a surprise and about time - the name never felt right to me especially since any connection to Lotus road cars was tenuous. I do hope that the new Renault team can give Red Bull a run for its money, though next year will be very much a transitional year (maybe withy transitional drivers!).

4 December 2015
Lotus are only a small team and were in financial trouble. If you remember a few years back there was Renault-Lotus team and a Lotus-Renault team. I know confusing. One of them teams became Caterham F1 and the other Lotus. That is nothing to do with the Lotus team that was in F1 in the 70s and 80s. The team is unrelated to them.They have struggled to be at most of the races this year. Thats why Renault are taking over them that and they will have F1 historic team status now too as part of there deal with Bernie Ecclestone to take over Lotus.
As for drivers Pastor Maldonado is staying and the 2nd driver has to be confirmed yet.

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