Renault F1 to morph into 'Lotus Renault GP'
8 December 2010 – Genii Capital and Group Lotus plc today announced the creation of 'Lotus Renault GP', the successor to the Renault F1 Team that will contest the 2011 FIA Formula One World Championship. The announcement comes as part of a 'strategic alliance' between the two companies and at the moment means there will be two teams running as Lotus next season.
“Following the return of the Lotus name to Formula 1 in 2010, under licence from Group Lotus, this historic announcement marks the complete return of the Lotus manufacturer to the sport, with the full backing of its parent company Proton,” read an announcement to the press.
Group Lotus plc will become a major equity partner of Genii Capital in Lotus Renault GP, and the two parties have concluded a title sponsorship agreement that will run until the end of the 2017 season.
“We are delighted that we can now go public with the news that we will be racing as Lotus Renault GP in 2011,” said Gerard Lopez, Chairman of Renault F1 Team. “It is extremely exciting to begin a new era for the team in partnership with Group Lotus, and we will continue to enjoy a strong relationship with Renault over the coming seasons.
“It is a tribute to the excellent work this year by the team in Enstone that we have been able to attract both major sponsorship and new investment for a very bright future.”
“I can think of no better platform for automotive brand communications than motorsport and F1 is the very pinnacle of open-wheel racing,” added Group Lotus CEO Dany Bahar.
“We’re well aware that there has been a lot of controversy around the usage of our brand in F1 and I’m delighted to be able to formally clarify our position once and for all: we are Lotus and we are back.”
The new partnership has been enabled by Renault selling its remaining shares in the team to Genii Capital. Group Lotus plc will subsequently become a major equity partner in Lotus Renault GP, which it will co-own with Genii Capital.
Renault meanwhile will continue its support of the team with which it won the 2005 and 2006 world championships, as a supplier of engines and technological and engineering expertise. Reflecting this, Lotus Renault GP will continue to compete with the Renault chassis name and Renault will enjoy ‘pre-eminent brand exposure’ on the livery.
For 2011, the Lotus Renault GP cars will race in a ‘new interpretation’ of the iconic black and gold colours that were last used when Lotus and Renault joined forces in the 1980s.
Where this leaves Tony Fernandes’ Team Lotus, which is also planning to use the famous ‘John Player’ livery in 2011, as well as Renault engines, is unknown. The dispute between Team Lotus and Group Lotus is currently due to go before the High Court in London next year.