Renault has formally completed its takeover of the Lotus F1 team, paving the way for the manufacturer to begin its preparations for the 2016 F1 season.
After months of negotiations, Renault finally revealed its intentions to return to F1 as a fully-fledged constructor earlier this month through the purchase of the Lotus F1 team, though the completion remained dependent on the resolving of an existing dispute brought by the HMRC over unpaid taxes.
However, despite the threat of Lotus being placed in administration, Renault's purchase has seen the insolvency petition dismissed, paving the way for the French firm to complete its takeover.
“We have the keys, so to speak,” a lawyer told an insolvency judge, according to the BBC
The move means Renault, which has focused on an engine supplier role in recent years, will return to F1 as a fully-fledged constructor in 2016 for the first time in five years. The move will see it take back control of the Enstone-based squad having sold its majority stake to investment group Genii Capital in 2009, who proceeded to rebrand the team as Lotus.
Renault's decision to return to F1 was prompted after it suffered a breakdown in relations with primary partner Red Bull Racing in 2015, despite winning four world titles together between 2010 and 2013, while boss Carlos Ghosn said F1 no longer offered value for money as an engine supplier when compared with the investment required to develop the new generation V6 Hybrid power units.
Despite this, Renault will continue to supply engines to Red Bull, though the British-based team will assume development duties and badge the power units as 'TAG-Heuer'.
Renault is set to persevere with driver line-up of Pastor Maldonado and Jolyon Palmer, who were confirmed by Lotus prior to the takeover. Indeed, Maldonado's substantial cash from Venezuela's state-backed oil company PDVSA was believed to be pivotal to Renault's decision to commit.
Despite recent troubles, the Enstone-based team remains one of the most successful operations in modern times, winning the 1994 and 1995 world titles with Michael Schumacher as Benetton, with Fernando Alonso clinching the 2005 and 2006 titles as Renault.