Carter dismisses Lotus F1 Team sale rumors

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Lotus F1 Team CEO Matthew Carter has shrugged off rumors of a possible sale of the operation to Renault, but admitted that everything can be sold at the right price.

Renault is reported to be considering a change in the scale of its involvement in Formula 1, airing the possibility of reviving a works team or pulling out of the sport entirely.

The French marque currently only supplies engines to Red Bull and Toro Rosso, with the latter open to becoming a factory-backed team in the future.

Renault last operated as a works team back in 2009 before selling to what is now Lotus F1 Team, which switched to Mercedes power units for the 2015 season.

Speaking in Friday’s FIA press conference, Carter shrugged off the speculation about a possible sale of the team, saying that the shareholders remain happy with the company.

“I continue to say the same thing: the shareholders have told me that the company isn’t for sale,” Carter said.

“I think I’ve said in the press before that everything is sale for a certain price. That’s as much as I can say.

“I continue to reiterate that we signed a long-term contract with Mercedes Benz and as far as we’re concerned we just continue down that route.

“That last information I heard was that we were going to be sold by the end of May but we’re still here and we’re still the same team.”

Despite making an improved start to the 2015 season since joining forces with Mercedes, Lotus has only scored points on three occasions in the first six races.

However, Carter is not concerned, saying that drivers Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado haven’t had much luck in the opening third of the season.

“I think that there has been a lot of bad luck and yeah, I think we can put it down to bad luck,” he said.

“There have been a few driver issues, a few reliability issues and some bad luck. We’re hoping to turn that round and to try to consistently get both cars in the points.”

Lewis Hamilton receives Daytona 500 invitation from Bubba Wallace

Lewis Hamilton Bubba Wallace
Rudy Carezzevoli/Getty Images
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Lewis Hamilton is a fan of the new NASCAR Cup Series team formed by Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan to field a car for Bubba Wallace.

Will the six-time Formula One champion also be a fan in person at a NASCAR race in the near future?

Wallace is hoping so.

After Hamilton tweeted his support Tuesday morning about the news of a Hamlin-Jordan-Wallace team making its debut with the 2021 season, Wallace responded with a sly invitation to the Daytona 500.

Much would need to be worked out, starting with how much garage and grandstand access would be afforded for a 2021 season opener that likely would occur during a still ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

But it would seem fitting given that Hamilton and Wallace have been two of the world’s most outspoken Black athletes about the quest for diversity and racial justice. Hamilton recently reaffirmed his commitment to activism after his donning a Breonna Taylor shirt sparked an FIA inquiry.

The idea of Hamilton attending the season opener already had legs, too. The Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 driver has expressed a desire to race the Daytona 500 after he has retired from Formula One.

He was a spectator (with racing legend Mario Andretti) at four-time champion Jeff Gordon’s final Cup race as a full-time in the 2015 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. In 2011, Hamilton swapped cars with three-time champion Tony Stewart at Watkins Glen International.

Having rubbed shoulders with other racing greats so often, it only would be fitting if Hamilton — who is one victory from tying Michael Schumacher’s career record and also could tie the F1 record with a seventh championship this season — spent some time with the greatest basketball player of all time.

Jeff Gordon was flanked by Mario Andretti and Lewis Hamilton before the 2015 Cup season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway (Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images).