Renault is set to return to Formula One as a works team with the French automaker pinned to buy a majority stake in Lotus.
According to reports, Renault is working on purchasing a 65 per cent stake in the Lotus F1 team for 65 million euros. Of that 65 million, 7.5 million euros will act as a downpayment while the remaining money will be paid in the next 10 years. Meanwhile, Lotus F1 team co-owner Gerard Lopez is pencilled in for a 25 per cent stake in the F1 outfit while Alain Prost will acquire the last 10 per cent.
As part of the deal, Renault has landed a full sponsorship package for the team and will have a budget to rival Mercedes and Red Bull Racing. One key reason why Renault has opted to purchase a majority stake in Lotus is that the team currently has expansive facilities in the UK including a wind tunnel and full driver simulator whereas Force India – a team Renault looked at investing in – has fewer facilities of this sort.
Obviously, Renault’s F1 cars will feature Renault power. As it stands however, the Lotus cars use Mercedes supplied engines. There’s a possibility that Renault will opt to maintain Mercedes power for a year given its affiliation with Mercedes-Benz through the Daimler and Renault-Nissan Alliance.