Carmaker Renault reveal aim to acquire cash-strapped Lotus

Source:AFP Published: 2015-9-29 0:03:02

French auto manufacturer Renault have signed a letter of intent to take a controlling stake in the cash-strapped Lotus Formula One team, the company said Monday.

Renault said they had struck a deal with the ­Lotus team's current owners Genii Capital and said it marked the manufacturer's "first step ­towards the project of a Renault Formula 1 team from the 2016 racing season."

Due to their financial problems, Lotus were embarrassingly locked out of paddock hospitality at the Japanese Grand Prix last weekend and left anxiously waiting for their engines before the race.

Despite the pre-race problems, the team's French driver Romain Grosjean finished seventh in the race at Suzuka.

Renault have already announced they will end their eight-year partnership with Red Bull - which garnered four driver's titles in a row - after becoming angered by the Austrian team's criticism of their engines this year.

Lotus have been in financial trouble all year as Genii Capital scaled back their investment in the team, resulting in unpaid bills and a cash-flow problem. They were locked out of their hospitality building over debts relating to last year's race at Suzuka.

On Monday, they were also due in court over an unpaid tax bill.

It has been a dramatic fall from grace since the relatively successful 2012 and 2013 seasons in which they finished fourth in the constructors' championship. Former world champion Kimi Raikkonen of Finland won races for Lotus in both those seasons but walked out two races before the end of the 2013 campaign, claiming he had not received any salary that year.

Posted in: Motorsport

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