Renault's Cyril Abiteboul says an announcement regarding the manufacturer's involvement in the sport won't be made until 'next week' at the earliest.
The French firm is considering upgrading its current role as an engine supplier to a fully-fledged constructor, via a purchase of the Lotus team, but discussions behind the scenes have now dragged on for several months with no firm indication that it will definitely commit.
Indeed, though there were hints that Renault would confirm its plans at the Abu Dhabi season finale, Abiteboul says there no plans to reveal anything until after the season, but says an announcement is 'very likely next week'.
“I am not in a position to answer the question today, but I can say. There will be no announcement regarding Renault's future – short-term or middle-term - this weekend, but there will be an announcement very likely next week.”
Despite Renault's coyness on its intentions, all other hints suggest it will follow through with its deal having signed a letter of intent to purchase Lotus in September, while management at the Enstone-based team – which morphed out the previous Renault factory effort under the investment of Genii Capital – suggest a deal has been agreed.
Indeed, Lotus' Federico Gastaldi says Renault engineers are already working at Enstone, but says it cannot rush the French firm's decision.
“We are on the same page, which is a good thing. We have been talking all the time since the Singapore race. We have Renault people already at the factory and it doesn't change anything. We cannot push Renault to make a decision because it is their call.”