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2015 F1

Lotus F1 set for Renault talks in Hungary

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Lotus F1 set for Renault talks in Hungary
Gerard Lopez is planning a rare-in-2016 visit to a grand prix next weekend. The Luxembourger, who owns and officially heads the Enstone based team known today as Lotus, has hardly been seen trackside this year, amid swirling speculation about the future.

“He’s certainly been to two if not three of the races this season,” team CEO Matthew Carter insisted recently, whilst admitting that Lopez is “busy on other projects”.

However, one of the matters on Lopez’s desk at present is the need for urgent talks with Renault, according to the Finnish newspaper Turun Sanomat.

It has been rumoured he is close to agreeing a sale of the Enstone team back to the French carmaker, which was rebranded as ‘Lotus’ after the 2010 season.

On this matter, “Time is running out,” explained correspondent Luis Vasconcelos.

“Our information is that Lopez and (Renault CEO Carlos) Ghosn will meet at the Hungarian grand prix to make the deal.

“Lotus’ financial situation is difficult, under pressure in the courts from creditor Xtrac. If a deal is made, the debts will move to Renault,” he added.

Turun Sanomat went on to claim that if Renault does buy Lotus, Cyril Abiteboul is determined to lead the team but some officials believe the former Caterham chief, who is just 37, lacks the experience.

Quadruple world champion, former team owner and boss and Renault ambassador Alain Prost has been linked with the job.

If it does all happen, Red Bull could be left in the odd situation of no longer being the premier or ‘works’ Renault team.

But boss Christian Horner insists that can’t happen.

He told F1’s official website that Red Bull has “a very clear agreement with Renault which guarantees us priority status”. (GMM)

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