The French manufacturer has signed a letter of intent with the owners of Lotus F1 to take over the cash-strapped team
Matt Burt
28 September 2015

Renault has made the first step towards buying the Lotus F1 team and making a return to the sport as a factory team next year.

A short statement from Renault said the company had signed a letter of intent “regarding the potential acquisition by Renault of a controlling stake in Lotus F1 Team” with Gravity Motorsports, an affiliate of the team’s owner Genii Capital.

“Renault Group and Gravity will work together in the coming weeks to eventually turn this initial undertaking into a definitive transaction provided all terms and conditions are met between them and other interested parties," the statement continued.

The French manufacturer has been contemplating a Formula 1 return as a full entrant as opposed to an engine supplier since its fruitful relationship with Red Bull Racing turned sour last year.

Although the contract between Red Bull and Renault has a year left to run, both parties have been negotiating for an early divorce for months. Christian Horner’s team has yet to confirm which engines it will use in 2016, but Ferrari appears the strongest possibility.

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Lotus F1 has been experienced severe financial troubles of late. It owes a at least £2.7m to the British tax authorities, being penalised £900,000 per month for outstanding payments, and at the Japanese Grand Prix last weekend it was refused access to a hospitality unit due to a payment dispute with Suzuka circuit bosses.

Renault has been involved in Formula 1 for the past 38 years, but during that time it has flitted between being an engine supplier and a full manufacturer team. Its most recent spell as a works entry resulted in F1 world titles for Fernando Alonso in 2005 and 2006. In 2009, during the midst of the automotive industry’s global slowdown, the company sold a majority stake to Genii Capital.

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Comments
2

28 September 2015
How can they fail?

289

28 September 2015
I really struggle to understand some of Renaults decisions...its as if someone is deliberately trying to sink the company.
Here is a brand which is struggling to find a place in the market with clearly financial issues of its own. They heavily invest in EV's when the market is going PHEV and now they will waste millions on a sport which will show virtually no return on investment for them.
F1 will not make a Twingo/Clio.Megane/Captur cooler. It might have a tiny halo effect on the Renault Sport models, but this is a very small part of Renault's range. Grand prix racing will have the same zero return as Honda's part in F1 -NIL. A vanity project then, which they can ill afford. Madness

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Our Verdict

Renault Mégane Renaultsport

Can the Renault Mégane 265 uphold the Renaultsport reputation, or has the hot hatchback segment evolved to the point it no longer delivers?

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week