It was announced on Monday that Renault Sport F1 will takeover the Lotus F1 Team after a letter of intent was signed by both parties. So what does this news mean for Formula One. The French manufacturer’s return as a ‘works’ team brings to three the number of manufacturer teams to be involved in the sport.
In recent years a number of manufacturer teams have entered Formula One and quickly left the sport, most recently the Toyota Formula One Racing Team who entered the sport in a big was in 2002 spending millions, although the team were on the podium numerous times they never won a race and never challenged for a championship and at the end of the 2009 season they pulled their team out of Formula One.
The Honda Formula One team pulled out of Formula One at the end of the 2008 season having sold the team to Ross Brawn who ran the outfit as Brawn GP who went on to win the Drivers and Constructors championship in 2009 with a engine supplied by Mercedes.
Mercedes went on to buy the Brawn GP team outright at the end of 2009 and brought in former world champion Niki Lauda, Toto Wolff and Paddy Lowe to lead the management of the team and in 2014 the team won the Drivers and Constructors championship while so far this season the Brackley based outfit have dominated the season with reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton leading the championship with Mercedes also leading the championship.
Renault returned to Formula One as a ‘works’ team in 2002 after purchasing the Benetton Renault team from the United Colours of Benetton and in 2005 and 2006 the Enstone outfit won back to back world championships.
In 2008, the team were embroiled in what was known as ‘Crashgate’ and in 2009 the team were sold to Gerard Lopez and Genii Capital and in 2010 the team were renamed Lotus Renault GP. The team remain in their Enstone factory and employ 400 people at the facility.
It is unclear whether the new deal which will see Renault purchase 65% in the team will see a restructuring within the outfit however Paddock Eye understands that with the new deal the current management team will be released from their duties with former champion Alain Prost who has long standing ties with Renault coming into the team in a senior management role.
Renault’s return as a works team with the introduction of the Haas F1 Team in 2016 shows that in terms of a major sport Formula One is an extremely attractive investment opportunity.