Renault hasn’t fielded its own Formula One team since 2010 but that may be set to change very soon. The French automaker has confirmed the signing of a Letter of Intent regarding the potential acquisition of a controlling stake in cash-strapped Lotus F1.
The Letter of Intent was signed by Renault and a company by the name of Gravity Motorsports, an affiliate of investment group Genii Capital which originally bought the former Renault F1 team at the end of the 2009 season and later rebranded it Lotus F1.
Renault says the signing is the first step towards the rebirth of its F1 team. Working closely with Gravity Motorsports over the coming weeks, Renault intends to turn this initial undertaking into a definitive transaction provided all terms and conditions are met between the parties involved. It’s hoped that the Renault F1 team will be ready to race by next season.
Renault has been linked with F1 for almost four decades, though in recent years it’s served only as an engine supplier, most famously to Infiniti Red Bull Racing. However, following the very public spat between the Red Bull team and Renault this season over the poor performance of the French automaker’s engines, Renault has been hinting it may end its role as an engine supplier and return to being a constructor.
It remains unclear whether Renault will continue to build engines for F1 or whether it will source one from Mercedes AMG, whose parent company Daimler has an alliance with Renault. It’s also unclear who will supply Red Bull with engines next season as its current deal with Renault is expected to be disbanded at the end of this year. It’s rumored Ferrari may step up to the plate.