Lotus could be set to switch from Renault to Mercedes power in 2015, well placed sources have confirmed.
While the two parties have an ongoing contract inevitably there has been some tension between Lotus and Renault this year. Lotus has been late with payments to the French manufacturer over the past couple of seasons, while the reliability and performance problems associated with the power unit have proved frustrating to the team.
Although the Enstone operation has an association with Renault dating back to the Benetton days of 1995, a fresh start with Mercedes would have obvious appeal. It would also go some way to guaranteeing an improvement in form, which would encourage sponsors – including those of Pastor Maldonado – to stay loyal.
Mercedes meanwhile will have the capacity to supply another team following the departure of McLaren to Honda next season. However, Stuttgart will no doubt demand suitable financial guarantees from Lotus, in the form of payment up front. There is also the question of whether the Lotus and Mercedes names are compatible from a marketing point of view.
No one know how good the McLaren-Honda package will be but the prospect of Lotus joining Williams and Force India in the Mercedes camp will not be an encouraging one for the likes of Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel…