Renault complete Lotus takeover to revive works team for 2016
French manufacturer complete share purchase agreement and pay off Enstone team's debts as legal case dropped; New team name to be confirmed in February
By James Galloway
Last Updated: 21/12/15 4:52pm
Renault have formally completed their takeover of Lotus, signalling the end of the team's long-running High Court case over unpaid taxes and securing its future.
The French carmarker confirmed earlier this month that, after weeks of deliberating, they had decided to buy back the Enstone team they sold in 2009 to Genii Capital and re-establish a 'works' F1 operation for next season.
Amid mounting debts, Lotus had been in London's High Court in recent months after HMRC had applied to put the team into administration over unpaid bills. After several adjournments to the case, Lotus and Renault were given until December 21 to put the takeover deal in place.
At the latest hearing, it was confirmed that Renault had on Friday completed the share purchase agreement paid the team's debts to both HMRC and other creditors in full. Three winding-up petitions were also dismissed.
Renault have confirmed they have taken a "controlling shareholding" in the team they previously owned between 2000 and 2009, with Genii Capital thought to have retained a smaller stake. Gerard Lopez, the co-founder of Genii and hitherto chairman of Lotus, told Sky Sports News HQ in November that Renault had asked him to stay on into 2016.
The new-look team will reveal more of their plans for 2016 at an event in Paris in February, when the team name, management structure and other details will be announced. Renault are set to rebrand the team under their own name, consigning the historic Lotus moniker to the F1 wilderness once more.
A new board of directors has been appointed with Renault Sport president Jerome Stoll as chairman and Cyril Abiteboul as managing director.
Pastor Maldonado and Jolyon Palmer have already been confirmed as the team's driver line-up for 2016.
Lotus finished sixth in this year's Constructors' Championship, up two places on 2014, although will revert to Renault engines in 2016 after a year with the class-leading Mercedes units.