Renault has announced it has signed a letter of intent to buy a controlling stake in the Lotus F1 team, on the morning of the team's High Court appearance with the threat of administration still a possibility.

The French manufacturer has confirmed it has made the 'first steps' in taking over the team for the 2016 Formula 1 season and the deal is expected to be completed in the next couple of weeks.

"Renault Group and Gravity Motorsports are pleased to announce the signature of a Letter of Intent regarding the potential acquisition by Renault of a controlling stake in Lotus F1 Team," a statement from Renault read.

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"The signature of this letter of intent marks Renault's first step towards the project of a Renault Formula 1 team from the 2016 racing season thereby extending 38 years of commitment of the brand to world's premier motorsport championship series."

Renault has outlined its plans to work with Gravity Motorsport, a global management company who is already involved in managing the Lotus F1 Junior team as well as a number of drivers including Romain Grosjean, to meet the terms and conditions set out in the buyout.

The letter of intent is believed to have been released in support of Lotus ahead of its High Court case over tax claims by HM Revenue and Customs.

Lawyers from HMRC claim Lotus owe over ?900,000 in tax and national insurance contributions in the month of September with similar amounts estimated in July and August.