Pastor Maldonado, Lotus, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, 2014

Renault and Lotus “engaged to be married”

2015 F1 season

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Renault and Lotus are “engaged to be married”, according to the F1 team’s deputy principal Federico Gastaldi.

The French manufacturer confirmed on Monday it had signed a Letter of Intent regarding a “potential acquisition” of Lotus. Yesterday Manor revealed they will use Mercedes engines next season – potentially a further sign Lotus will not use the three-pointed star’s power units in 2016.

Pastor Maldonado, Lotus, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, 2015
Lotus considering “tasty drivers” to partner Maldonado
“It looks like we’re engaged to be married again, which is interesting as we’ve had a few relationships together before,” said Gastaldi. Renault previously owned the team between 2002 and 2009.

“It’s positive for the sport and it’s positive for Enstone that a company with the history and prestige of Renault is looking to strengthen its role in Formula One,” Gastaldi continued. “It’s true we’ve both experienced a few knocks over the years but we’ve also had some exceptional highs and that makes us all collectively exceptionally motivated to harness our resilience and show everyone what we can do.”

Gastaldi also paid tribute to Romain Grosjean, who will leave the team at the end of the year. “He’s been a real asset to us over the years so we’ll certainly miss him,” he said.

“We know we have Pastor [Maldonado] confirmed for one seat and we know that there are quite a few tasty drivers available out there and we’re doing everything to ensure that we’ve got a desirable race seat, which needs to be filled.”

“What happens next is that there’ll be a number of discussions in a number of places then at some point we’ll have an announcement to make. I can at this stage publicly confirm that it won’t be me driving.”

2015 F1 season

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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33 comments on “Renault and Lotus “engaged to be married””

  1. I like Gastaldi. He has sold a lot of bull this season to the press, but it is very good bull. Just check out that last sentence. I hope he stays within the team when Renault takes over, which is likely as Genii stays involved according to Autosport.

    When it comes to who drives for them next year I believe the following names should be on their list of interest.

    – Vergne
    – Kvyat
    – Magnussen
    – Vandoorne
    – Ocon
    – Palmer

    And that’s not counting the other Red Bull drivers that (might) come available.

    1. @force-maikel Autosport forum seems to think that Ocon is looking at Wehrlein’s DTM seat and FP1s for Force India next year, would be interesting to pass that up for joining Renault.

    2. Why didn’t you put those other Red Bull drivers in the list? If they’re without a job at the end of the season, the Renault seat will become pretty attractive to them. Even if Mercedes or Ferrari offer any of them a seat for 2017, they will want to be driving in 2016 as well.

      Either way, Lotus-Renault would do well to wait signing up their 2nd driver.

      1. @me4me I haven’t included them because at the moment they are technically not available due to them being under contract, but I did make one mistake. Sainz has not been confirmed by Toro Rosso for 2016, so he too could join Kvyat on the list as a potential target for Renault.

    3. I hope Max become available and they take him up. Would be reminiscent of Alonso joining lotus in early 2000 and that is an exciting prospect!

      1. Alonso joined F1 with Minardi in 2001.

        1. I meant early part of the 2000s. Indeed he joined Minardi in 2001 but he joined Renault in 2002 in test role and raced for them starting 2003!

      2. Red Bull won’t give up Verstappen that easily. I think if they even considered it, they would “trade” him in for better Ferrari engines for the next year.

  2. Call me cynical but as I said on another thread, I’m still not convinced that this buyout is going to go ahead. I’m sure all the good intentions are there, and there’s a will to make it happen from all sides, but there are some very big obstacles to this being completed successfully. Firstly the issue of Estone’s mounting tax bill, now running into millions, which needs to be resolved one way or another in nine weeks’ time. Someone somewhere needs to front the money for that. Retaining Maldonado (as unpleasant a prospect as it may be) may go some way to mitigating this with the PDVSA money, but it’s by no means a trivial matter, and is just one of many unresolved debt issues for Enstone. Issues which will see it put into administration and wound up should nobody step forward.

    Secondly, one of the crucial sticking points of the deal is the insistance of Renault that they should be given CCB status and put into the Strategy Group. While Ecclestone may have made positive noises about this to the public, behind closed doors such deals are never as straightforward as they seem. And crucially, with two teams now lodging a formal request for the EU to investigate the legitimacy of this governance and commercial model, it hardly seems the right time for FOM to start making new commercial arrangements and handing out advance payments amounting to tens of millions. Again, a deadline looms in nine weeks’ time, and the EU’s competitions commission moves more slowly than a McLaren Honda. It’s unlikely that there will be any EU decision made before Enstone’s next court appearance, and it’s equally unlikely that Renault will simply buy the team out on a promise from Ecclestone.

    All of which in my mind adds up to a situation where the team’s future is far from certain, despite all the positive noises coming from all concerned parties.

    1. ColdFly F1 - @coldfly (@)
      2nd October 2015, 15:18

      I’m remain quite sceptical as well. @mazdachris
      But Renault doesn’t need to worry too much about that. Let Lotus talk to Bernie and between them solve tax bills and catering invoices.
      Bernie seems to be in a very gregarious mood lately, and can always prepay part of this year’s prize money.

      Renault should do its due diligence and only sign when they are 100% happy.

      1. @coldfly Gregarious or not, one thing I think we’ve all learnt about Bernie Ecclestone over the years is that he never simply gives something away without wanting something in return. The future of Enstone appears to rest on significant sums of prize money being pre-paid, and large commercial concessions being made. He’s proven himself more than willing to allow teams to flounder and collapse rather than make small concessions which may have saved them, where he sees no personal benefit in keeping them afloat.

        I really hope it does all go through, but there are still a lot of hurdles to be cleared and the short man is no fan of jumping on demand.

    2. and the EU’s competitions commission moves more slowly than a McLaren Honda

      Ouch!

    3. Never trust French negotiations.

      This all could be a ploy for Renault to get the FOM money, ditch enstone while letting them hanging so they bankrupt. While they speculate that RedBull and Torro Rosso leave F1, due to no engine… and then for Renault to land Torro Rosso, while picking up the important Red Bull bits like mechanics, infrastructure and Riciardo + Verstappen. Now that would be a fun finger to pull to Red Bull.

      /ends fantasy conspiracy mode.

    4. I agree. What the signing of the letter of intent will do is force the books and everything else to be opened up for full due diligence.

      I just can’t see this happening and I can’t see Renaults board allowing it to go ahead when there’s little likelihood of them being even remotely competitive. They’d be just setting themselves up for more bad publicity about their extremely uncompetitive PU.

      My money’s on them walking away from F1.

  3. Did anyone else read the bit about “tasty drivers” and worry exactly how Lotus is planning to solve its catering problems at the next race?

    1. @keithcollantine – I had exactly that same worry… has anyone seen Jolyon Palmer for a while?

      1. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
        2nd October 2015, 16:31

        Now that you mention it, I didn’t see Carmen Jorda at Suzuka.

        1. @fullcoursecaution @bradley13 @keithcollantine the weight restrictions mean there’s not enough meat on any F1 driver, let alone Carmen Jorda, to feed anyone.

          1. @optimaximal – Maybe they decided to start with ex-F1 drivers instead then, those who have started to put on a bit of beef. Damon Hill was missing from Sky’s coverage in Suzuka after all…

          2. If you are gonna start with the ex-F1 drivers that put a little beef then Damon Hill really is a horrible choice. Brundle on the other hand can really go long way.

  4. @keithcollantine Perhaps Romain Grosjean knew something we didn’t?

    1. Yeah, Cha-Ching Cha-Ching $

  5. I’m going to kill Alonso if he moves back to Reno again.

    1. Maybe he just feels at home in Nevada.

      1. Well, it would be a gamble..!

  6. One word…Vandoorne

    1. maarten.f1 (@maarten-f1) (@)
      2nd October 2015, 18:53

      Two words: McLaren contract.

      I don’t know what McLaren is planning with Vandoorne, but for now he’s part of their junior team so he’s not a free agent.

      1. And he already turned down a Toro Rosso offer

      2. @maarten-f1, would it be strange for McLaren to loan him to Renault for a year? What else are McLaren are McLaren going to do with him?

        Also, the man running ART is tipped to be running the Renault team next year (http://www.jamesallenonf1.com/2015/09/meet-the-man-tipped-to-lead-new-renault-f1-team-when-france-calls/), so I suspect they will want Vandoorne.

        1. I’m sure Vandoorne’s sponsors Total and Richard Mille will push for him to move to partners Renault as well as ART Team Principal. With McLaren also offering no seats until 2017 at least, I think Vandoorne to Renault is a real possibility.

  7. Who’s the woman, who’s the man?

  8. What i understood, Heikki Kovalainen has shown some intrests to join Renault F1 team in next year!

    1. I have some interest to join Renault F1 team next year too.

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