Renault is threatening to pull the plug on its buyout of the Lotus team if Ecclestone does not offer Mercedes and Ferrari-style bonus income payments, in a move that would also endanger Red Bull and Toro Rosso.
“If it (the buyout) doesn’t happen, Lotus will close. They simply don’t have the money to keep going,” the F1 supremo is quoted by Speed Week.
Paddock whispers, however, suggest that the fourth meeting between Ecclestone and Stoll resulted in a compromise. Gerard Lopez, the current Lotus owner, suggested the talks had indeed been “constructive”.
“We have done everything we can,” he said. “There is an agreement between Lotus and Renault, the contracts are ready. As for the rest, we have to wait.”
Ecclestone agreed: “We are waiting for an answer from (Renault CEO) Mr (Carlos) Ghosn.” If approved, so too will be Red Bull’s apparently EUR 30 million Renault engine deal for 2016.
If Ghosn says no, Lopez says Lotus could keep going with Mercedes power, but “we would not want to finance the team as we did in the past. We would probably start with about 300 employees. But that is not the goal,” he insisted.