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Lopez admits interest in Renault

NEWS STORY
09/12/2009

Speaking at the Motor Sport Business Forum in Monaco, Spanish businessman Gerard Lopez has admitted interest in buying the Renault F1 team.

With the French manufacturer due to announce its future plans in the coming weeks there is continued speculation as to who might buy the team should the company opt to follow Honda, BMW and Toyota out of the sport. Initially speculation focussed on David Richards and Prodrive, however, speaking at the weekend Bernie Ecclestone said he was aware of a number of other potential buyers including Lopez.

The Spaniard, who is co-founder and managing partner of Luxembourg-based Mangrove Capital Partners, one of Europe's leading venture capital firms, is also involved in Gravity, a sports organisation which looks after several promising young racers including Ho Pin Tung who tested for Renault at Jerez last week.

"We are very opportunistic," said Lopez. "We have been in F1 for quite a while as friends to lots of people there, we have done some business in the environment, and never thought about getting more heavily involved than that.

"The situation is such now that it presents an opportunity for new teams or new investors in a time, not of uncertainty, but of change," he continued. "We are in the middle of times of change.

"We have looked at one other opportunity, and that is about it. We believe there is a chance now to enter the sport and build on a platform that will reinvent itself, and we can be part of that reinvention."

Asked specifically about Renault, he said: "It would be very different from a start-up team. If we were to do a deal with Renault, we would still be basing ourselves as a constructors' team, but it will be a different kind of business. For us, it is important to confirm the stability over time. The business opportunities should rely not on making more out of the team, but it should be about making money out of the business platform we have."

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