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Ghosn: Three years for Renault to be competitive in F1

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Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn believes it will take three years for the French manufacturer to be competitive in Formula 1 once again after confirming its works return to the series on Thursday.

Renault will take over Lotus F1 Team for the 2016 season, reviving its operation at Enstone that last raced as Renault F1 Team back in 2010.

However, Ghosn is not expecting immediate success upon Renault’s full return to F1 in 2016, believing that it may take as many as three years for the team to be competitive once again.

“Given how keen our staff is, I think it will take three years to be competitive,” Ghosn told Le Figaro.

“We’ll also carry on developing our activity as an engine supplier, but only in accordance with the interests of our works team.”

Renault will continue to supply Red Bull with a power unit in 2016 despite seeing its relationship with the team sour over the past year due to the quality of its model. However, the power unit will be known as a ‘TAG Heuer’ following a deal announced earlier this week by Red Bull.

In a wide-ranging interview with Le Figaro, Ghosn appeared to hint at a possible change in the existing driver line-up at Lotus, currently set to comprise of Pastor Maldonado and Jolyon Palmer in 2016.

“[Buying Lotus] required several months of reflection, discussion and negotiation with partners and stakeholders of F1,” Ghosn said.

“Now we will wait a few weeks. I refer to a meeting in January 2016, when we will explain the organization, goals, strategy and we will also talk about drivers and partners.”

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).