Renault will make call on Lotus takeover this week, says Ecclestone

Bernie Ecclestone expects Renault to decide this week on whether or not it will take over the Lotus F1 team and turn it into a full works outfit.

Discussions have been ongoing for some time, and it’s understood that Renault boss Carlos Ghosn will make the final call after reviewing the options. The situation is complicated by the fact that much of the team’s debt represents loans from its shareholders.

Lotus is under severe pressure to resolve its financial issues. In Hungary Pirelli did not release its tyres until just 50 minutes before FP1 after a late payment issue was addressed, and funds transferred.

Some sources suggest that one possible scenario is that Renault could enter as a new team, using the Enstone facility and staff, but not taking over the actual company that began life as Toleman in 1981, and subsequently became Benetton, Renault and finally Lotus.

This could gel with the fact that the FIA deadline for interest in future F1 entries was extended to the end of this week – which rather handily co-incides with the Ghosn decision.

“We’re gradually getting things sorted out,” Ecclestone told this writer. “By this week we’ll know which way we’re going. Hopefully then we’ll know whether Renault are going to take them over, or what’s going to happen.”

Asked if there was a Plan B for Lotus if Renault decided against it he said: “Err, semi. I think we’ve got it more or less under control.”

Ecclestone also confirmed that a Renault takeover would not automatically trigger extra payments based on its past performance and historical record, and that the team would have to earn extra cash. However, he added that as a manufacturer there is potential to earn more based on future results than if the team remains in private hands.

“They’ve got to do what everyone else is doing. They’re buying a team, they’re taking over a team. If you took a team over you’d be entitled, except that they are a manufacturer so we are looking after them a bit differently. Renault would come off better than if a private person did it as they’re a manufacturer.”


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7 responses to “Renault will make call on Lotus takeover this week, says Ecclestone

  1. GeorgeK

    Hopefully either way Renault decides the current crop of Lotus creditors will be taken care of.

    And Red Bull will be on the outs, becoming just another customer team.

  2. DW

    With their current engine problems & the restrictions preventing Renault from being able to fix them, if I was in charge I’d pull out of F1 for 2016 … do a year of unlimited testing, and come back with a factory team and customer engines in 2017.

    • GeorgeK

      …and leave RB and TR without engines in 2016? Bernie would have a field day in court as I believe Renault have an engine supply contract.

      • DW

        There are ways to package anything to get around contracts.

        Remember that Renault engine delivery is already a complicated process involving Renault, Mecachrome and now a few Red Bull Technology placed consultants and advisors.

        Red Bull Technology are positioned and semi staffed to take over the current engine in a Mecachrom / Supertec type deal, and it’s unlikely to be much worse than what they would have in 2016 anyway.

        Or, as we’ve heard, RBR & Torro Rosso are already negotiating alternative power units …

        What is common knowledge is that unless the engine freeze is lifted, there is just no way Renault can catch Mercedes.
        Remember that next year the teams will have even less tokens to make improvements, so even if they use them significantly better than Mercedes do, they still won’t necessarily close the gap enough to be competitive.

  3. GeorgeK

    You’ve thought this through DW, sounds very plausible. But will they? NOTHING (well maybe a McHonda podium!) Would make me smile more than RB having to run hand me down rebadged Renaults. Matschitz & company have earned a serious lesson in humility. Now if we can only get Dan the Man into a serious contender next year ( I would hope Ferrari in spite of all the Botas hype ) it would really make my day!

    • DW

      I have no idea if they’re even considering it, but it seems the only logical solution looking from the outside.

      I can’t see anyone other than Bottas ending up at Ferrari, and again he seems the logical choice for them … although I’d prefer to see Hulk in a competitive car.

  4. john de villiers

    Well I think that RBR are the biggest dickheads on the grid and you never heard them moan or cry after winning 4 titles on the trot. They have been very outspoken about the Renault power unit instead of working together with them, like Mclaren have been doing with Honda. Anyway I would love to see Renault back as a team and kick some red bull arse and maybe even get a sponsor with Monster or any other big drink company, maybe the Monster Renault team can kick red bull all the way to the back of the grid

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