Renault has finally confirmed that it will stay in F1 next year and will return as a works effort with Lotus.
Negotiations have dragged on for months and reached a critical point over the Abu Dhabi weekend as a long-term deal – believed to be for nine years – was negotiated with Bernie Ecclestone and F1 owner CVC.
“Renault had two options: to come back at 100 percent or leave,” said CEO Carlos Ghosn. “After a detailed study, I have decided that Renault will be in Formula 1, starting 2016. The final details supplied by F1’s main stakeholders gave us the confidence to accept this new challenge. Our ambition is to win–even if it will take some time.”
In a statement Renault made it clear that it was important to be a works effort: “Following the September announcement of the signing of a Letter of Intent with Lotus F1 Team, teams at Renault continued to evaluate the possibility of a return to Formula 1. Particular attention was paid to competing successfully with its own team in a financially sound way starting in 2016.
“As a full team, Renault will take maximum benefit from its victories. The payback as an engine supplier proved to be limited. The return on the investment necessitated by the new engine regulations and the return in terms of image were low.
“Work continues on finalizing the terms of the acquisition of Lotus F1 Team in the shortest timeframe possible. The principal contracts were signed on December 3, 2015. Lotus F1 Team effectively stands out as the best partner. Renault and Lotus F1 Team have known each other for 15 years and were world champions together in 2005 and 2006.”
Renault says that it will gain a lot from its involvement: “Renault’s decision to continue its involvement in Formula 1 is confirmation that it sees motorsport as an essential part of the brand’s identity. Formula 1 is the ultimate symbol of the passion for automobiles. Passion defines Renault as expressed by its brand signature, ‘Passion for Life’.
“In addition to attracting many customers, Formula 1 also fuels employee motivation. As the pinnacle of motor sport, Formula 1 demands technological and operational excellence. The championship serves as a showcase for the technological expertise that Renault dials into its products for the benefit of its customers.
“Formula 1 serves to promote awareness of the Renault brand and its image in all its markets across the world. Formula 1 is one of the sports that enjoys the most media coverage worldwide thanks to a following on five continents, particularly in emerging markets. It attracts 450 million television viewers annually and its scope for growth is enormous thanks to opportunities founded on new technologies, social networks, video games, etc. that have yet to be fully exploited.
“In January, we will provide more detailed information about Renault’s F1 programme ahead of the 2016 championship that begins next March.”
5 responses to “Ghosn finally commits Renault to Lotus deal”
Can’t wait for Renault to drop that name, Enstone had no business being called that because of its own, very successful history.
Childish I know, but I would not be upset to see the old Renault (nee Benetton) squad, stick in Red Bull with the Renault engine in the coming seasons.
While I have no problems with their drivers, Materschitz and Horner’s attitude and sense of entitlement this season has rubbed me the wrong way.
I’m a bit worried by Renault coming back as a full constructor. They’ve hummed and hawed about it for long enough and it looks basically as if they’ve counted the pennies and decided they can just about afford it if everything works in the right way.
Which isn’t necessarily a bad way to approach it in itself, but I hope it doesn’t see them disappear again after just a few seasons of half-hearted “we’ve funded it ok but not really enough to compete at the absolute very front” type running.
Short term they probably do need to throw quite a bit of money at it to bridge the gap, are they willing to do that?
I believe Renault have maximized their cash flow with the negotiated 10 year historical bonus payments from Bernie, not to mention the new engine contract they have extorted from Red Bull.
Getting the biggest payout from RB and CVC, as well as beating up Lotus on their sale price is why it took all the dominoes so long to fall into place.
Now my new Twingo will have a power unit “inspired on F1”. “Optimized” in the same way, surely. Can’t wait to hear the story of thermal efficiency en Français. At least Enstone gets to live another season or two.