Formula 1: Lotus-Renault engine deal ‘still possible’
Lotus Racing could switch engine supplier for next season after it emerged meetings took place with Renault bosses at the British Grand Prix.
BBC sources are already reporting the possible switch from Cosworth as development of Lotus’ 2011 car is well underway.
Lotus have been the best of the rookie teams so far this season, and believe they can move forward to push the middle-order teams next year after poaching several top designers from their rivals to improve their chances of returning to success.
Earlier in the season Lotus considered staying with Cosworth, as their engines are reliable and powerful enough, but boss Tony Fernandes has revealed several companies have been in contact over an engine deal.
Mercedes looks unlikely to supply other teams as it already powers its works team and has a long-term relationship with championship leaders McLaren, and now Force India as well. Ferrari supplies just its works team and Toro Rosso.
So that leaves just the current supplier Cosworth or Renault, who supply engines to championship contenders Red Bull as well as its works team.
As Lotus celebrated its 500th race at the European Grand Prix, it is clear that despite being called Lotus Racing -with no direct link to the classic Team Lotus -many now see the team as the true reincarnation of Colin Chapman’s original team.
Indeed, in recent weeks, Fernandes has been in contact with former F3000 driver David Hunt with a view to purchasing the Team Lotus name and formally bring the one of motoring’s most famous marques back to the sport.
A Lotus-Renault partnership has occurred once before between 1983 and 1986, and was responsible for Ayrton Senna’s first grand prix win in Estoril in 1985.
With Fernandes bringing the Lotus brand back to life in F1, it is no surprise that Renault would be keen to supply another team which appear to be going places.