Lotus reforms F1 partnership with Renault

Group Lotus and Genii Capital have announced a partnership that will see the Renault Formula 1 Team renamed ‘Lotus Renault GP’ from the start of the 2011 racing season.

The deal marks a return to the successful F1 partnership between Lotus and Renault from the 1980s and will result in two F1 teams racing under the Lotus name next year.

Group Lotus will acquire a major equity stake in the team from Genii Capital, an investment holding company with a portfolio of automotive technologies, after Renault sells it remaining 25 per cent shareholding to Genii.

According to Lotus, the partnership will allow it to quickly incorporate new technologies from F1 cars into Lotus road cars. The 2011 season will see the return of Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems (KERS), as well as the introduction of adjustable rear wings.

Chief executive at Group Lotus Dany Bahar said: ‘I can think of no better platform for automotive brand communications than motorsport and F1. 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: We are Lotus, and we are back.’

Genii is also offering Lotus’ parent company, Proton, the access to advanced automotive technologies through Genii’s association with Mangrove, a venture capital group.

The team that competed as Lotus Racing this year will be renamed ‘Team Lotus’ after buying the historic rights to the name. Both Lotus teams are expected to use Lotus’ black and gold liveries in 2011.