The deal for Mercedes to supply Lotus with engines from the 2015 season has already been signed according to reports in the British Grand Prix paddock.
It was reported earlier this week that the British team was refusing to comment on rumors that it would be making the move away from Renault power units, which have proved troublesome at the best of times this season. However, according to British publication Autosport and veteran journalist Adam Cooper, the deal has already been signed.
In fact, the deal was due to be announced in the paddock at Silverstone this weekend, but both parties opted to bide their time before going public.
This new deal will work out for Mercedes, who did look set to drop down to just two external clients upon McLaren’s move to Honda engines in 2015. However, this contract with Lotus will make up for it.
It will also remove the last Renault connection at Lotus. The team emerged out of the Renault works team which won both F1 world championships back in 2005 and 2006, and the relationship at Enstone dates back to Michael Schumacher’s days with Benetton.
The deal will undoubtedly be good news for the Lotus team, given that the Mercedes power unit has been by far the most dominant so far this season.
2015 F1 engine contracts
Mercedes – 4 (Mercedes, Lotus, Williams, Force India).
Ferrari – 3 (Ferrari, Sauber, Marussia)
Renault – 3 (Red Bull, Caterham, Toro Rosso)
Honda – 1 (McLaren)
Brendon Hartley says scoring a point on his Formula 1 debut would be “a dream” after being resigned to last place on the grid for the United States Grand Prix following an engine penalty.
Porsche factory driver Hartley was drafted in by Toro Rosso to replace Pierre Gasly for the USGP when the Frenchman was ruled out due to clashing commitments in Super Formula.
Despite having not driven an F1 car since 2012, Hartley came within one-tenth of a second of making it through to Q2 on Saturday at the Circuit of The Americas, ultimately qualifying 18th.
“Obviously I’d love to be quicker but we knew we were starting at the back, so we put a lot of focus on long runs, getting the peak performance out of this Pirelli tire I didn’t get today,” Hartley told NBCSN after the race.
“In FP3 I had a good feeling. There’s a lot of quirky things to manage with these tires. Honestly I should be happy with how the weekend’s gone so far.”
The New Zealander will start last due to a 25-place grid penalty for changes made to his power unit ahead of practice on Friday, and is daring to dream of making the top 10 in his first race out of a sports car for more than five years.
“I don’t do the 24 hours completely alone!” Hartley joked. “It’s quick. It’s physical to drive. I’ll be happy to be done after an hour and a half.
“A point would be a dream starting from the back. If I can move forward and put a race together, I’ll be happy.”
The United States Grand Prix is live on NBCSN and the NBC Sports app from 2pm ET on Sunday.