Renault team to become Lotus Renault GP
The Renault team will be known as Lotus Renault GP from 2011 after agreeing a title-sponsorship deal with Group Lotus, which will run until 2017. The Lotus name returned to Formula One in 2010, under licence from Group Lotus to Lotus Racing. But today's announcement marks the complete return of the British sports car manufacturer to the sport, with parent company Proton giving it's full backing. To mark this great occasion the team plan to race the 2011 season in a new interpretation of the iconic black and gold colours that were last used when Lotus and Renault joined forces in the 80s. The livery for 2011 has been on the drawing board for over two months in order to reinterpret its iconic graphic signature to suit modern media requirements. Group Lotus will also become major equity partners in the Renault team with current owners Genii Capital, as part of a strategic alliance between the two companies that will provide Group Lotus with significant technological and commercial opportunities for its range of road cars. Plus, Renault will continue to support the team as a supplier of engines and technological and engineering expertise. Speaking about the new agreement Gerard Lopez, Chairman of the Renault team said “We are delighted that we can now go public with the news that we will be racing as Lotus Renault GP in 2011. It is extremely exciting to begin a new era for the team in partnership with Group Lotus, and we will continue to enjoy a strong relationship with Renault over the coming seasons." "It is a tribute to the excellent work this year by the team in Enstone that we have been able to attract both major sponsorship and new investment for a very bright future.” Group Lotus CEO Dany Bahar added: “I can think of no better platform for automotive brand communications than motorsport and F1 is the very pinnacle of open-wheel racing. We’re well aware that there has been a lot of controversy around the usage of our brand in F1 and I’m delighted to be able to formally clarify our position once and for all: we are Lotus and we are back.” The new partnership has been enabled after French car giant Renault sold its remaining shares in the team to Genii Capital, meaning Group Lotus will become co-owner of the team with Genii Capital. Although, The team will continue to compete with the Renault chassis name and Renault will enjoy pre-eminent brand exposure on the car. Meanwhile, this announcement also calls into question what Tony Fernandes' team will be called next year. Fernandes brought the Lotus name back to F1 in 2010, after buying a license to use the Lotus name. However, this license has been revoked, and a naming dispute has erupted and with Fernandes' team who insist they the outfit insisting it has the rights 'under licence' to use the Lotus name. Furthermore, it was reported a short while ago that Fernandes's team, were planning on bring back the iconic black and gold colour scheme to the grid themselves, yet after Lotus Renault GP's announcement this now looks as if it won't be happening.