Renault has returned to Formula One after it finalised the purchase of the Lotus F1 team on December 18 for £1 (RM6.40). The token payment required Renault to assume the team’s debts, which had left Lotus F1 embroiled in court cases through most of 2015.

The takeover comes on the back of Renault’s split as engine supplier from Red Bull Racing. The decision to leave came after it was reported Red Bull Racing had complained about the performance of the engine.

Renault managing director Cyril Abiteboul affirmed its return to Formula One, “Renault had two options: to come back at 100% or leave. We have been successful as a competitive team before, and from a marketing stand point and connection between F1 and the rest of the business, we have never been so strong.”

The convoluted deal saw Genii Capital and associate company Gravity Motorsports holding 10% of the team, while also writing off £98.2 million (RM628 million) in shareholder loans. The 90% majority of shares is held by Grigny (UK) Ltd, the company that previously owned the team when it raced under the Benetton banner.


Abitetoul said it would take at least three years for Renault to be fighting at the front of the grid. “We have given a time frame [of three years] in the statement that was communicated by Carlos Ghosn, and we need to be pragmatic,” he said.

As reported by motorsport.com, Abitetoul is confident that the team has a good business plan in place to tackle the 2016 season. “What should not wait is the capacity of Renault to turn what we do on the track into tangible marketing value for the group and for the brand. That is really important, as that is what will give us the stability so that we have the capacity – the financial capacity and also the time – to become one of the big boys,” said Abitetoul.

Further details about the structure of the Renault Formula One team are expected to be released at a press conference in February 2016. It was reported that Jolyon Palmer, son of former Formula One driver Jonathan Palmer, would replace Romain Grosjean, with Pastor Maldonaldo taking the other seat.