Sep.20 (GMM/Inautonews.com) Rumours swirling in the Singapore paddock and among international correspondents indicate the buyout deal between Renault and Lotus is finally now done.
France’s RMC said it could be announced in one week, ahead of the Japanese grand prix at Suzuka.
Major publications including Auto Motor und Sport and Bild newspaper in Germany refer to the existence now of a letter of intent, in the name of both Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn and Lotus owner Gerard Lopez.
Renault F1 chief Cyril Abiteboul, however, said the document is “not” definitive confirmation of the buyout, and does not include details such as monetary values.
Many, however, believe the only missing piece now is the green light by Bernie Ecclestone, whose extra official income would reportedly help to pay for the deal.
Abiteboul said those talks are “on track”.
But to Germany’s Sport Bild, he said the Lotus buyout is not yet done.
“Everything is still open,” said Abiteboul. “Lotus is our first choice, but we have other options including Force India.”
The Frenchman said Ghosn wants until the “end of the month” to determine Renault’s F1 plans, but “let us not dictate the timing as to the hearings around Lotus”.
He is referring to the fact that a London high court judge will reconvene a session next Monday, where Lotus could be placed into administration due to unpaid British tax bills.
Lotus owner Lopez, from Luxembourg, said: “Everything is going well but I can’t really comment. We are moving in the right direction.”
It is believed that, once the deal is done, Pastor Maldonado and his PDVSA millions will stay at the Enstone team for 2016, while Romain Grosjean is heading to Haas-Ferrari after falling out with Renault chiefs.
Venezuelan Maldonado said in Singapore: “I have worked for many years with Renault and we have a good and strong partnership.
“They may have some problems at the moment with the power units, but that is not something they cannot solve.”
If and when the Lotus buyout is announced, it is expected the plans of Renault’s current and soon-to-be ex-partner Red Bull will also become clearer.
Asked about rumours linking Red Bull with Volkswagen, Dr Helmut Marko was quoted by Spain’s AS newspaper: “We have negotiated about various things (with VW) for more than seven years, but still we have nothing to say on the matter.
“Although it is true that in the next two weeks we will solve our situation,” he added.