It has emerged that Renault, in its return as a Formula One works team in 2016, has completed the takeover of Lotus F1 Team for a single pound. Renault takes 90% of the shares, while previous team owner, Genii Capitals retains a 10% stake.
British paper Telegraph reported that French car manufacturer Renault paid only an emblematic amount to Belgian investment company Genii Capitals for taking back the Enstone-based F1 squad. However, Renault has to settle all the unpaid bills and debts Genii Capitals piled up over the years.
Renault retired from Formula 1 as works team in 2010. The team which was renamed to Lotus has been in financial troubles since then. The squad has made a loss of EUR 250 million. Genii Capitals has invested a total of EUR 134 million.
Lotus signed star driver Kimi Räikkönen at the end of 2010. The Finn earned success by having won a race both in 2011 and 2012.
Despite the sporting success, the team suffered financially. Because of the financial slump, Lotus decided for massive money savings. Räikkönen left the team at the end of 2012. In came Pastor Maldonado with his financial backings. 93 team members were dismissed and senior figures also left the squad.
The team endured further issues in 2015. Due to the unpaid bills the team got tyres in the last minute at some races and its trucks were impounded at Spa. F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone had to interfere to keep the team going.
The French company acquired a 90% stake in the team. The remaining 10 % stock remains at Genii Capitals. Its senior figure Gerard Lopez hopes that his company can now make profit from Formula 1 with the help of Renault.