Renault is all over the Formula One news circuit for the current season, not because of wins, but because of their decision to be a full-time constructor starting the 2017 season. And it seems like they were quite in a hurry to complete the deal as Autosport has reported that Renault has settled with 65-percent stake in the Lotus F1 team.
The report came as a sign of relief for many motorsports enthusiasts who were eagerly waiting for Renault to return as a constructor. As contrary to earlier reports from the same media house- Autosport - that Renault was mulling to buy a majority stake in the Sahara Force India F1 team or completely withdraw from the game, Renault will now act as a constructor.
Coincidentally, Renault sold the Lotus to the Genii Capital at the end of the 2010 season, while they were also providing engines to the world champions Red Bull. Red Bull won the constructors' title from 2010-2013 for four straight years powered by a Red Bull engine. Come 2014, Renault started facing issues as Sebastian Vettel, the 4-time champion was unhappy with the engine.
With Vettel's exit from Red Bull (he joined Ferrari in 2015), it all came in the open that Red Bull is not happy with Renault. Rumors were that Renault were contemplating among three options as their contract with Red Bull would end in 2016 - exit Formula One altogether, continue providing engine to the Red Bull and return as a full-time constructor.
And now, if the reports from Autosport are to be believed, Renault has opted for the latter one. Renault will be taking up a stake worth 65 million pounds, which is 65% of the total wealth. Among the Sahara Force India and Lotus, the British manufacturer won the bid based on the facilities they offer, including the Enstone factory which was formerly owned by Renault itself.
Lotus also owns a computational fluid dynamics program, driver-in-the-loop simulator, and a 60-percent-scale wind tunnel, an advantage over Team Force India. With a 65% stake in Lotus, the final shareholding will be a split between Gerard Lopez owning a 25% stake and Renault ambassador and former world champion Alain Prost owning 10%.
Renault will be making an immediate payment of 7.5 million pounds, followed by 5.75 million pounds each year for the next ten years. While Carlos Ghosn, CEO of Renault and the board has already approved the deal, it's now upto the shareholders of Lotus to decide at the earliest, in order to move forward and sign the papers.
While the deal will bring joy to the Renault's camp, many are fearing job loss also. Team drivers' Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado will have an uncertain future. On the other hand, Red Bull will have to look for another engine supplier, which, according to many reports, can be Mecedes Benz.
Stay tune for all the updates from the F1 circuit!