Lotus F1 Team has today confirmed that it will be using Mercedes engines from the beginning of the 2015 Formula 1 season, moving away from long-term partners Renault.
Speculation about the deal first emerged at the British Grand Prix back in July, but has only been announced by both parties today ahead of this weekend’s Russian Grand Prix.
“We are pleased to have been chosen by Mercedes AMG High Performance in a significant long term deal,” team CEO Matthew Carter said. “We intend to return to the front of the field with the goals of winning grands prix and being a strong championship contender once more and we see this new agreement as one step towards this aim.
“The Mercedes-Benz Power Unit has shown good performance on track and it is our goal to marry this motive force to Enstone’s chassis expertise. It is our desire that the E23 Hybrid, powered by Mercedes-Benz, heralds a new era of success for Enstone.”
Mercedes head of motorsport Toto Wolff was pleased to welcome Lotus on board, making up for the loss of McLaren as the British team switches to Honda engines for 2015.
“It was strategically important for Mercedes-Benz to continue to supply three customers throughout this generation of Power Unit, in addition to the primary focus on our Silver Arrows works team, and it was therefore clear that we would be looking for a new customer from 2015,” Wolff explained.
“Lotus F1 Team is an impressive organization that has delivered competitive on-track performances in recent seasons. We are pleased to welcome them to the Mercedes-Benz family and look forward to building a productive and performant working relationship in the years ahead.”
Lotus also confirmed that it will be using Mercedes’ current technology partner, Petronas, for its ‘fluid technology solutions’ from the 2015 season, which could put Romain Grosjean’s place at risk given his deal with rival company Total.
The first partnership with Renault for the Enstone-based team came in 1995, when Italian team Benetton switched from Ford power to the French marque for the second of Michael Schumacher’s world championships.
Ultimately, the team was bought out by Renault for the 2002 season, and it went on to win world titles with Fernando Alonso in 2005 and 2006 before withdrawing as a works team at the end of the 2011 season, when the operation became known as Lotus F1 Team.
Given the superiority of the Mercedes engines in 2014, this move should give Lotus a huge boost ahead of next season after a disappointing final campaign with Renault that has yielded just eight points at the time of writing.
Provisional 2015 F1 engine contracts
Mercedes: Mercedes, Williams, Force India, Lotus (4)
Renault: Red Bull, Toro Rosso, Caterham (3)
Ferrari: Ferrari, Sauber, Marussia (3)
Honda: McLaren (1)