Bernie Ecclestone believes that Lotus F1 will not survive if Renault boss Carlos Ghosn does not green light the takeover deal next week.
This week Ecclestone has been in talks with senior Renault executive Jerome Stoll about the team’s future income, on the basis that it becomes a works entry.
Team co-owner Gerard Lopez has said that the team still has a Mercedes contract as a Plan B, and if forced to remain independent Lotus would head into next season with a much reduced staffing level. However Ecclestone suggests that the team could not continue on that basis.
“I’m sure they’ll stop,” he told this writer. “They are running a business unsuccessfully, they haven’t got enough money to keep going. So they’ll stop. They’re in trouble with finance anyway, so I can’t see that a Mercedes contract is going to help.”
Regarding the crucial Renault decision he said: “No news. We’re waiting for Mr Ghosn on Monday.”
Ecclestone also confirmed that negotiations with Renault were complicated when an apparent agreement with FOM that guaranteed a 2016 supply for Red Bull was trumped by a separate deal between Renault and the team.
“We made an offer, they [Renault] came back saying we are happy with the offer, if you change this, this and this. We agreed to buy engines from them to supply to the teams. They said that’s good. We’d pay for the engines and we’d just sell them.
“So they had an offer from us on the table to buy engines to sell to Red Bull, to make sure they got an engine, and then they go and do a deal with Red Bull. We were trying to help, but they didn’t need any help, they did it on their own.”