Renault has signed a letter of intent confirming its plans to buy out Lotus F1 Team ahead of the 2016 Formula 1 season.
Lotus and Renault have been engaged in talks for many months about a possible takeover that will see the French manufacturer revive its works F1 team that has not raced since 2010.
Over the Japanese Grand Prix weekend, Lotus’ financial struggles came to a head as its team was left to rely on the rest of the paddock for food when its hospitality unit failed to arrive at Suzuka. The rest of its freight only got to Japan days late on Thursday.
Ahead of Lotus’ High Court hearing in England on Monday regarding unpaid tax bills, both parties have made an official announcement confirming that it has signed a letter of intent with a view to taking a controlling stake in Lotus.
“Renault Group and Gravity Motorsports S.a.r.l., an affiliate of Genii Capital SA, are pleased to announce the signature of a Letter of Intent regarding the potential acquisition by Renault of a controlling stake in Lotus F1 Team Ltd,” the statement reads.
“The signature of this Letter of Intent marks Renault’s first step towards the project of a Renault Formula 1 team from the 2016 racing season thereby extending 38 years of commitment of the brand to world’s premier motorsport championship series.
“Renault Group and Gravity will work together in the coming weeks to eventually turn this initial undertaking into a definitive transaction provided all terms and conditions are met between them and other interested parties.”
Renault had been in talks with F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone about the historic payments that it can expect to receive upon reviving its works team, wishing to enjoy a status on par with defending champions Mercedes.
With an agreement now appearing to have been struck, Renault will now be pushing through the remaining details of its takeover before finalizing the deal and confirming its works return to F1 in the next few weeks.