Pastor Maldonado and Jolyon Palmer may not want to get too comfortable in Renault garb for 2016, if comments attributed to the brand's CEO are to be taken literally.
Maldonado was confirmed as staying with the Lotus team several months ago, with Palmer announced as the replacement for Haas-bound Romain Grosjean ahead of the US Grand Prix. However, with Renault this week confirming that it will take up the Enstone-based team's place on the grid next season, Ghosn appears to have cast doubt on its line-up.
Renault's return as an entrant in its own right – as opposed to being merely an engine partner to the likes of Red Bull Racing – has been a long time coming, with rumours starting earlier in the season but only morphing from tentative confirmation into something more concrete at the start of the week. Ghosn confirmed that there had been a lot of detail to be ironed out before the announcement could be made, but hinted that some of the things Lotus had put in place may not be carried forward – including its drivers, despite both Maldonado and Palmer bringing useful sponsorship to the previously cash-strapped outfit.
"[The deal] required several months of reflection, discussion and negotiation with partners and stakeholders of F1," Ghosn told the French Le Figaro
newspaper, "Now we will wait a few weeks… I refer to a meeting in January 2016, when we will explain the organisation, goals, strategy and we will also talk about drivers and partners."
It is far from certain that either Maldonado or Palmer would be replaced, but Ghosn's comments came in response to questions about the inclusion of French talent in the line-up, something the team lost with Grosjean's decision to move to US-based newcomer Haas after the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. The former GP2 champion is currently the only Frenchman on the grid, but the likes of Jean-Eric Vergne remain in the wings, the former Toro Rosso star having been linked to the Haas project prior to the confirmation of Esteban Gutierrez as Grosjean's team-mate.