Renault have completed their Lotus takeover, ensuring their return as a works team in 2016. The French manufacturer have finally managed to secure the deal after a lengthy High Court trial over unpaid taxes.
According to BBC Sport, Renault lawyers told an insolvency judge, “we have the keys, so to speak.” This news will provide much needed relief for the employees of the Enstone outfit, as it is believed that Renault have signed a contract to compete in F1 until 2024.
Renault have F1 history
Renault have a rich history in F1, with 168 wins to their name as both a manufacturer works team and engine supplier. They pioneered the turbocharged engines in the early 1980’s, which lead to numerous race wins spearheaded by Alain Prost.
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They subsequently quit F1 as a works team at the end of the 1985 season due to their competitors harnessing the power of turbocharged engines, negating the advantage they had.
Interestingly, the likes of Prost, Ayrton Senna, Michael Schumacher and Fernando Alonso all took their maiden F1 victories with Renault powered machinery.
Their return as a works outfit is a consequence of their feud with Red Bull throughout the 2015 season. Evidently, their power unit was inferior to that of Mercedes and Ferrari, something that Red Bull commented on all too regularly.
This clearly demonstrates the cut-throat nature of F1, as Red Bull and Renault dominated F1 from 2010 to 2013, with four driver’s and constructor’s championships.
What threat will they posses?
The question is, can the French outfit return to winning ways as a works team? Renault now have full control over the power unit and chassis combination, which may spark an improvement in performance.
Instead of producing a power unit for a chassis built by another team, they can now manufacturer a more cohesive unit and chassis combination.
It was only a decade ago that Renault won back-to-back World Championships with Fernando Alonso, something they are undoubtedly aspiring towards in the near future.
The team’s driver line-up will consist of Venezuelan, Pastor Maldonado and Englishman, Jolyon Palmer. Arguably not the strongest driver pairing when compared with Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg for Mercedes, or Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikonnen for Ferrari.
This suggests that 2016 may become more of a research and development season for Renault, in anticipation of the regulation changes for the 2017 season. Nonetheless, it is positive for F1 to have another works team to challenge the all-conquering Mercedes.
How will Renault do in the 2016 season? Give YOUR opinion in the comment box below!