Group Lotus has entered into a 'strategic alliance' with the Renault F1 team to create Lotus Renault GP, which will contest the 2011 F1 season.
As part of the deal, Group Lotus will become a major equity partner in the team and also take up naming rights until the end of the 2017 season.
The deal has come about after Renault sold the shares it still held in the team back to Genii Capital, which in turn has done the deal with Lotus.
It means Renault will now focus on its role as an engine supplier to the Lotus Renault, Red Bull and Team Lotus outfits – although the name of the latter will now be in doubt following Lotus' announcement.
“We are delighted that we can now go public with the news that we will be racing as Lotus Renault GP in 2011,” Renault F1 chief Gerard Lopez said. “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 said F1 was the ideal next step for the carmaker.
“I can think of no better platform for automotive brand communications than motorsport and F1 is the very pinnacle of open-wheel racing,” he said 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 Lotus Renault GP team will run in a black and gold livery for 2011, as Team Lotus had already planned to do.