Malaysian F1 team confirms Renault deal UPDATE See related rumor. The F1 team currently known as Lotus announced on Friday it will be powered by Renault engines in 2011.
But a dark cloud has moved above the future identity of the Tony Fernandes-headed outfit, with the press release not mentioning the word 'Lotus' even a single time.
Rather, the team – locked in the naming dispute with the Proton-owned Group Lotus - said the new engine deal "is a clear sign of the strength of the Anglo-Malaysian team's ambitions".
And the official quotes attributed to bosses Fernandes, Mike Gascoyne and Riad Asmat all made reference to Lotus simply as "the team".
At the same time, Red Bull announced that it has extended its engine deal with Renault for another two years, including additional branding on the energy drink owned team's cars.
It is believed the French carmaker's president Carlos Ghosn has travelled to Brazil for this weekend's event, amid new rumors Renault is rethinking its commitment to F1.
Currently, it owns only a minor share of the Enstone based team that bears its name, having sold to Genii Capital at the end of last year.
11/05/10 [Editor's Note: Notice there is no mention of the Lotus name in this press release. Might they have decided to drop the name after extreme pressure to do so?] Today’s announcement by Bernard Rey, President of Renault Sport, of the engine partnership with Renault from the 2011 season and beyond finally confirms one of the most interesting stories of the 2010 Formula One™ season and is a clear sign of the strength of the Anglo – Malaysian team’s ambitions to move up the grid as quickly as possible. Team Principal Tony Fernandes, Chief Technical Officer Mike Gascoyne and Chief Executive Officer Riad Asmat gave their thoughts on the announcement today.
Tony Fernandes: “I am absolutely delighted that we can now officially talk about the partnership with Renault. There has obviously been a great deal of speculation about which engine will be powering our cars from 2011 and now the announcement has been made I think everyone can see just how ambitious we really are. The combination of the Renault engine and the Red Bull Technology gearbox and hydraulics gives our design and aero teams a successful, tried and tested platform to work with for next year’s car. 2010 has been all about building up our team from scratch and in just one year we have laid the foundations for many exciting seasons to come and the partnership with Renault will dramatically accelerate our development plans, both on and off track. That is an important point – we have started a partnership with Renault and, much like taking on experienced drivers in our first year, we will be working with people who know how to win and who will help push us even further forward towards the front of the grid. We are realistic – we know what needs to be done to be challenging for ultimate honors in Formula One™ and this partnership will play a very important role in helping us push ahead.”
Mike Gascoyne: “Today’s announcement is the latest confirmation of how far this team wants to go in Formula One™. Having worked with Renault before I know exactly what they will bring to our team and I am delighted that they will be playing an integral role in the next chapter of our story. The engine itself gives our designers, engineers and drivers an excellent platform to work with - it is very drivable, has good reliability and comes with a track support team who have a wealth of experience and knowledge. We are all looking forward to working with Renault and are very excited about the future for our partnership and our team.”
Riad Asmat: “This is a very big day for everyone in our team, in Malaysia and in the UK. Just over a year ago there were four people in an empty factory, and now we have announced an engine partnership with Renault, one of the most successful manufacturers in our sport’s history, a gearbox and hydraulics deal with Red Bull Technology and the start of the process of building our own wind tunnel at the factory in Hingham. We have come such a long way in a very short period, and today’s announcement will give the whole team even more enthusiasm for the challenges that lay ahead.” Press Release