There are a number of reports this morning that the protracted saga of Renault’s takeover of the Lotus F1 team may be coming to an end after the French Company have signed a letter of intent about their purchase of 65% of the Enstone based team.
Lotus has struggled financially this year, and was subject to a winding up petition from HMRC that was due to be heard at the high court today.
The takeover has been the subject of speculation for several months, with Genii Capital and Renault negotiating over the value and payment terms for the team.
Although Lotus have struggled financially this season – they were late to the Japanese Grand Prix and did not have access to their hospitality areas at the race due after failing to pay the required fees (rumoured to be £27,000).
After struggling through 2014 with an underpowered engine and an innovative, but ineffective design for the car, Lotus switched to Mercedes Power in 2015 and have seen something of a resurgence in the last few races, with Romain Grosjean scoring a podium at Spa and both drivers finishing in the points at Suzuka.
Pastor Maldonado has recently confirmed he will drive for the team in 2016 (bringing extensive sponsorship from Venezuela), while Romain Grosjean is rumoured to be heading to the new Haas team next season.
At this stage, the price of the sale has not been confirmed, and although the intent has been agreed, the statement from Genii and Renault suggests that the overall shape of the deal is yet to be finalised:
“Renault Group and Gravity will work together in the coming weeks to eventually turn this initial undertaking into a definitive transaction provided all terms and conditions are met between them and other interested parties.”