Lotus F1 CEO Matthew Carter insists that Renault has not yet made a formal offer to acquire the team, despite suggestions in the paddock that a deal is almost done.
In recent months Renault talked to all the midfield teams about a possible takeover. However, the French company’s history with Enstone outfit makes Lotus an obvious choice, if the financial issues surrounding the team can be addressed.
Toro Rosso also remains a candidate, according to some sources, and it comes without the associated level of debt.
“As CEO I know nothing of any offers, bids or anything that’s going on,” Carter told this writer. “I know that Renault are looking at their involvement in F1, but whether they get more involved or less involved, I don’t know. I think they’ve got issues they need to resolve with their engine at the moment, and they probably need to concentrate on that.
“We know that they looked at the usual candidates. We probably are the best fit for them. But as I said there’s been no offers, no further interest. I think they need to concentrate on their engine at the moment.”
Carter says team owner Genii does not want to sell.
“The shareholders have repeatedly told me that it’s not for sale. They wouldn’t want to sell it at this point. In terms of where we are as a team and as a business, we’re heading in the right direction. When I came in 18 months ago it was always a five-year plan to sort things out, sort the finances out. We put the Mercedes engine in, and it’s all about trying to move up the constructors’ table. I think if they did do something now I think they’d kick themselves that they didn’t see it through.”
One added complication is that Lotus is committed to Mercedes: “We’ve got a long term contract with Mercedes until 2020, from my point of view as the CEO I wouldn’t want to change that engine, so that’s where we are.”