Renault F1 confirms deal with Group Lotus

This is what the new Lotus livery will look like

The deal to bring Group Lotus into F1 in partnership with Renault has finally been concluded, and the team has announced that it will be ‘Lotus Renault GP’ in 2011.

Group Lotus has bought the remaining Renault shares and the team has confirmed that it will race in black and gold, an idea that Tony Fernandes announced first…

We now await news of what will happen to Team Lotus, which has already been given an an official entry under that name by the FIA – using a ‘Lotus Renault’ chassis.

This what has been announced this morning:

“Genii Capital and Group Lotus plc today announced the creation of Lotus Renault GP, the successor to the Renault F1 Team that will contest the 2011 FIA Formula One World Championship. This exciting announcement is made in the context of a strategic alliance between the two companies that will provide Group Lotus with significant technological and commercial opportunities for its range of road cars.

“Following the return of the Lotus name to Formula 1 in 2010, under licence from Group Lotus, this historic announcement marks the complete return of the Lotus manufacturer to the sport, with the full backing of its parent company Proton. Group Lotus plc will become a major equity partner of Genii Capital in Lotus Renault GP, and the two parties have concluded a title sponsorship agreement that will run until the end of the 2017 season. With the continued support of Renault as a supplier of engines and technological and engineering expertise, Lotus Renault GP enjoys a strong, stable platform for future success.

“Gerard Lopez, Chairman of Renault F1 Team, commented: “We are delighted that we can now go public with the news that we will be racing as Lotus Renault GP in 2011. It is extremely exciting to begin a new era for the team in partnership with Group Lotus, and we will continue to enjoy a strong relationship with Renault over the coming seasons. It is a tribute to the excellent work this year by the team in Enstone that we have been able to attract both major sponsorship and new investment for a very bright future.”

“Group Lotus CEO Dany Bahar said: “I can think of no better platform for automotive brand communications than motorsport and F1 is the very pinnacle of open-wheel racing. We’re well aware that there has been a lot of controversy around the usage of our brand in F1 and I’m delighted to be able to formally clarify our position once and for all: we are Lotus and we are back.”

“The new partnership has been enabled by Renault selling its remaining shares in the team to Genii Capital. Group Lotus plc will subsequently become a major equity partner in Lotus Renault GP, which it will co-own with Genii Capital.

“Renault will continue its strong support of the team with which it won the 2005 and 2006 world championships, as a supplier of engines and technological and engineering expertise. Reflecting this technological support, Lotus Renault GP will continue to compete with the Renault chassis name and Renault will enjoy pre-eminent brand exposure on the livery.

“For 2011, the Lotus Renault GP cars will race in a new interpretation of the iconic black and gold colours that were last used when Lotus and Renault joined forces in the 1980s. This livery, which has been on the drawing board for over two months in order to reinterpret its iconic graphic signature to suit modern media requirements, is sure to strike a powerful chord with the sport’s enthusiasts around the world.”

17 Comments

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17 responses to “Renault F1 confirms deal with Group Lotus

  1. Peter

    Oh dear Adam. Oh dear oh dear oh dear…

  2. Oh dear, indeed, looks to me like Bahar’s not been very careful with his words.

    I reckon he’s given Team Lotus an open goal, what’s the next step for Proton, a rename back to Toleman?

    Incidentally, are the rights to the Tyrrell name available, or have Mercedes got those from the Brawn/Honda/BAR history?

    • Yep, Tyrrell is still under the Merc umbrella. Indeed Mercedes GP still has the same UK company number as the team founded by Ken in 1964. And a bit of research flags up the company accounts going back to the seventies! Yeah, Toleman would be good…

  3. I’m not looking forward to the legal messes to follow but if this turns out in Group Lotus’ favour I am looking forward to seeing Kubica wringing the neck of the black and gold car around Monaco.

  4. What a bunch! I’m going to boo them.

  5. What is this I don’t even…

  6. Am I the only one who believes potentially having a Lotus Renault GP team and a Team Lotus Renault team in F1 2011 might be an interesting rivalry? With Proton’s lukewarm support for Lotus Racing (not Team Lotus) in 2010 it was always possible we would end up with two Lotus F1 teams in 2011.

    • I don’t think it will be an interesting rivalry. The Kubica team should finish in the points regularly, while the Fernandes team will be trying their hardest to finish ahead of Virgin and HRT.

      (With the name confusion, that’s the best I could do to distinguish the two Lotus teams…anyone have any better ideas?)

    • bem

      Better yet, every team should be called Lotus and paint their cars black and gold. Red Bull Lotus Racing, Ferrari Marlboro Lotus, McLotus Association, Lotus Mercedes F1, Sauber Lotus BMW Mercedes Jordan Minardi Mid-Grid Team, Virgin Lotus & Friends…

  7. poul

    Lotus is not Lotus without Colin Chapman so what is in that name. renaming a team Tyrrell would never be Tyrrell without Ken…..Williams is Williams if the line off command etc. is continued from Frank to someone he/Patrick choses. And not someone who comes along 10-15 years later. F-1 is not a sentimental sport. Lets have new names like Brawn and let the teamname live as long as he is involved. In Denmark Lotus is the brand name of toilet paper:-)

  8. md

    Adam, how is Group Lotus going to deal with the fact that Kubica and TBA will still be driving Renaults next year?

    Mr Bahar may put up a brave face about there being no problem with four Lotuses on the grid, believing the larger audience won’t mind as well, but it can’t be anything but confusing for the average Joe Fan to see R Kubica in a black-and-gold Lotus while the official FIA graphics state that he is driving a ‘Renault’, his finishes also adding up to constructor points for ‘Renault’.

    As far as I can tell, ‘Lotus Renault GP’ is simply the entrant’s name, similar to ‘Vodafone McLaren Mercedes’ or ‘AT&T Williams’, but the only places on TV where people see Vodafone and AT&T is on the cars and on advertisement hoardings. Apart from that the entrant’s names can only be seen on the FIA entry list and in race programmes. You won’t see them in the FIA graphics displaying driver info and constructor championship standings.

    So how is Bahar going to get the ‘Lotus Renault’ name on the TV screens when it applies to his cars instead of Tony’s? Any real name change will see him losing his claim to the FOM spoils that go with Renault’s 5th place in the championship, as I can’t see the other teams grant him the favour without ‘Lotus Renault’ being regarded as a new team. He’s no Peter Sauber, yet.

    Or has Bahar, as a relative outsider to F1, simply failed to grasp the concept of a ‘constructor’?

    And it won’t be any easier if he does succeed in making ‘Lotus Renault’ a new constructor. The FIA will definitely not add up the points scored by all four Lotus-Renault cars. Two different teams, both named Lotus-Renault, with different constructor points tallies? Even the anorak fan will be confused.

    • Can’t disagree with anything you’ve said, really. One especially amusing sideline is that Bahar and co are disparaging Team Lotus for wanting to promote a brand they have nothing to do with. Meanwhile Group Lotus, as you say, will in effect be promoting Renault – who will one assume be paid as an engine supplier and will have no obligation to provide extra funding…

    • Anders

      MD, I´m agreeing with you on every point!
      Well said!

  9. Kitchen cynic

    We’re not the Judean Peoples’ Front. We’re the Peoples’ Front of Judea…

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