The Renault Group has signed a letter of intent to purchase the Lotus Formula 1 team according to reports today, which would secure the long-term future of the Enstone squad.
The saga has been drawn out over recent weeks, as the Lotus team has faced High Court battles and last-minute deadlines to transport its equipment to races. In fact, many Lotus staff were seen eating their meals in the Paddock Club after special dispensation was granted by Bernie Ecclestone, as the team’s hospitality facilities were not available due to the £27,000 cost not being considered a priority for the beleaguered squad.
However, the letter of intent from Renault would now suggest that the French manufacturer will finally complete its purchase of a 65% stake in the team for 2016, marking its return as a full manufacturer entry.
The announcement comes just weeks after Renault’s Chairman, Carlos Ghosn, warned that the French manufacturer may walk away from F1 entirely.
The public letter from Renault reads:
“Renault Group and Gravity Motorsports S.a.r.l., an affiliate of Genii Capital SA, are pleased to announce the signature of a letter of intent regarding the potential acquisition by Renault of a controlling stake in Lotus F1 Team Ltd,” Renault said in a statement”.
“The signature of this Letter of Intent marks Renault’s first step towards the project of a Renault Formula 1 team from the 2016 racing season thereby extending 38 years of commitment of the brand to the world’s premier motorsport championship series”.
“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.”
Meanwhile, the current management of the Lotus Formula 1 team are due for a final appearance in the High Court today over the insolvency case brought forward by HMRC. It is expected that today’s announcement will lead to the case being dropped later today, pending plans for payment on outstanding debts.