Lotus also set for engine switch despite Cosworth's denial UPDATE #5 This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' with today's announcement.
09/07/10 AUTOSPORT understands that a deal has been agreed in principle for Lotus to secure a supply of Renault customer engines for 2011 – which would see the team receive the same specification of power-unit as other customer outfit Red Bull Racing.
It is believed the move came out when Lotus originally sought out a new supplier of gearboxes and transmissions for next year and they proposed to Lotus that they would do it if they also used their engines.
It is not clear at the moment whether a financial settlement can be reached for Cosworth to agree to cut short its deal, or whether Lotus will be forced to delay its Renault ambitions.
Cosworth general manager of F1 operations Mark Gallagher said: "As with the other new teams, Lotus has a fixed term three-year contract with Cosworth and we are very pleased it is happy with our engines and the job we have done for it during its first season in Formula 1."
Lotus technical chief Mike Gascoyne said: "We've got a contract with Cosworth and there is no further comment to make."
09/03/10 Stories intensified in Belgium that a deal has been concluded for Lotus Racing to switch to Renault engines next year.
The catalyst for the change is understood to be the reliability problems Lotus has suffered in 2010, principally with gearbox hydraulics rather than any issues with the team's current Cosworth engines themselves. It is understood that the supply of a Renault gearbox is also part of the deal.
Speaking in Belgium, chief technical officer Mike Gascoyne said of the Lotus return: "We would have been much happier being more reliable. That has been a disappointment to us. Some of it has been out of our control through outside suppliers and we have got to make sure we put that right for next year
"Gearbox and hydraulics have been a particularly weak area. We haven't had the resources to put all the fixes in place and I think we have been let down by some suppliers who have not done as good a job as they should have done. But you cannot make excuses. You have to put things right."
Asked directly about the power situation, however, Gascoyne said: "We're using Cosworth engines, we've been very happy with their performance this year, their first year back in F1. I think as teams we always evaluate every option that's out there but at the moment we're very, very happy with Cosworth and the job they have been doing."
Although the Renault deal is said to have been done, Lotus is understood to have a three year supply contract with Cosworth.
08/06/10 (GMM) Lotus will reportedly confirm its switch to Renault engine power for the 2011 season during the August break.
|If Lotus drops Cosworth in F1, will they still continue to sponsor Takuma Sato in IndyCar as part of KV Racing? KV Racing is co-owned by Kevin Kalkhoven who also co-owns Cosworth.|
The new Malaysian-backed team is currently equipped with Cosworth engines, but Italia Racing believes a team announcement is due within two weeks.
But just a week ago, Renault engine technical director Rob White said an announcement about the French marque's plans for 2011 is not imminent.
"We have the capacity to supply additional teams in the future and would be willing to do so if it was good for Renault and for the sport as a whole," he said.
"There has been speculation in the press, with different teams mentioned from time to time, but no announcement is imminent," added White.
The original Lotus team was powered by Renault engines between 1983 and 1986. zzzz07/12/10 (GMM) Lotus' potential switch to Renault power for 2011 might still be on, according to a media report. Last week, we reported that the new Malaysian backed team will continue to use Cosworth engines next year, with boss Tony Fernandes saying the British supplier's product has been "competitive enough" in 2010.
But owner Fernandes also said Lotus "received offers from several (other) companies".
According to the BBC, Fernandes and technical boss Mike Gascoyne met with Renault before Sunday's British grand prix.
A reunion with Renault would return the familiar 'Lotus-Renault' moniker to formula one, and it is also believed Lotus is in talks to use the fabled 'Team Lotus' name for its team in the future.
Asked to comment about Renault, Gascoyne said: "We have a contract with Cosworth and we're discussing with them ways to work together in the future."
It had also been rumored that Williams was in talks for a Renault switch, but the British team confirmed at Silverstone that the FW33 will be powered by a Cosworth engine next year.
Asked about the Renault rumors, Cosworth's F1 boss Mark Gallagher said: "Nonsense. We are in partnership with Williams to provide a car up with the best."06/28/10 (GMM) Cosworth has played down rumors that Lotus is set to switch to Renault power for the 2011 season.
Recently, the British independent engine maker also played down speculation Williams could change suppliers, insisting the team last year signed a three-year contract.
But Germany's Auto Motor und Sport reports that, like Williams, Lotus has also been disappointed with Cosworth's 2010 engine, including drivability issues and performance degradation.
"With Lotus, as with all the new teams, we have a three-year contract," Cosworth's business director Mark Gallagher said in Valencia.
He said he has spoken with Lotus team owner Tony Fernandes about the rumors.
"He told me that they were contacted by all three of the engine companies," said Gallagher, referring to Renault, Ferrari and Mercedes.
"That is the reward for being the best of the new teams," he added. "He (Fernandes) told us that for next season, they are planning (to be) with us."