Renault to become Lotus Renault? Chassis manufacturer when they began in Formula One back in the seventies, to engine supplier during the nineties when they conquered the title with Williams on several occasions, Renault has once again got two fingers in the pie, ever since their return to the pinnacle of Motorsports, when they went with Benetton and set up in two directions: in Enstone the chassis, Viry-Châtillon the engine.
Contrary to BMW, Honda and Toyota, Renault did not flee the F1 circus last year, instead they reorganized their policy. The direction of its racing team is now in the hands of the Genii Capital group belonging to Gerard Lopez. This transfer of power was only one first step before the detachment of Renault in regard to the chassis design and its reinforcement in regard to the supply of engines.
Present at Interlagos, the president of Renault, Carlos Ghosn, stressed the importance for Renault to penetrate new markets (Asia, South America and the Middle-East) and therefore become an engine supplier that is impossible to avoid on the F1 platform.
In Brazil, Ghosn confirmed that Renault could probably provide more and more Formula One teams in the very near future. Red Bull Racing showed the way at Interlagos by accompanying the renewal of their contract with the appearance of Renault’s logo on the nose of the RB6. Meanwhile, on the side of the chassis, Renault plans to sell the intellectual property of their cars to the Proton group which controls Lotus Cars.
Lotus will also be the official partner of ART Grand Prix for the 3 next years and plans to reclaim the infrastructure of the name Lotus that the owner of the current Lotus Formula One team, Tony Fernandes, had leased from him in 2010 whilst trying to officially purchase the name Team Lotus with David Hunt.
Lotus (Tony Fernandes team) could therefore be renamed Team Air Asia, the name of the outfit they will compete with in GP2 and is the junior team of the Malaysian racing squad while Renault would become Lotus-Renault.
According to our source, Jean-Louis Moncet, F1 journalist on French television, there is also a possibility that Lotus-Renault could launch their new contender in a `revival' of its original colors from the seventies, black and gold.