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Renault completes takeover of Lotus F1 team

NEWS STORY
21/12/2015

Renault has officially completed its takeover of the Lotus F1 team.

At a hearing in the High Court in London today, a lawyer for the French manufacturer confirmed that the takeover had been completed, that all debts had been paid including that to the British tax authorities.

"We have a completion of the share purchase," the lawyer told the Mr Justice Birss at the hearing which formally dismissed the insolvency petition that would have put the team into administration.

"We have the keys, so to speak," he added, according to Reuters.

"The insolvency procedure has worked in the way intended," said Birss in summing up, the Lotus F1 team is saved and its debts paid in full.

Meanwhile, Alain Prost has revealed that the French giant was "very, very close" to pulling out of F1 entirely, with CEO Carlos Ghosn unhappy with the budget requirements and the (commercial rights) terms being offered by Bernie Ecclestone.

"In Abu Dhabi a few days ahead of the weekend, it was almost a no go," the four-time world champion told Motorsport.com. "Only Carlos Ghosn made the decision. He had to make it himself, but it was very, very close.

"It was difficult, for sure," he continued. "It was a long decision because of what happened you know, the relationship with Red Bull and the fight that being only a supplier was not the right choice for the future. So it was quite a big commitment.

"You need to understand that they had to take their time to decide what to do. We all know in this company maybe it takes time, but when they are committed it is going to be okay."

Echoing Ghosn's claim that it could take three years before the team is competitive, Prost said: "It will take a lot of time. He was talking about three years and I think that is the minimum. It is going to be very hard.

"My philosophy is that it is a new project, it's a new story and what is important is that we are going to start in a very difficult environment. The deal has been signed a few hours ago. So the first year it is going to be difficult.

"But what is more important is to build a strategy and to build the story for the future, and to make a progression. That is the most important. You don't need to win next year, it is a long project."

Referring to speculation over whether he will have a role within the team, Prost was giving little away.

"I'm waiting for January," he said. "Then we will see what is the organisation and if I can be a part of it or not. I'm very open. We are still talking, we are very open. But we need to have a clear picture."

Pastor Maldonado and Jolyon Palmer have already been named by Lotus, but in recent weeks there has been speculation that now Renault is in charge that could change.

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1. Posted by mickl, 21/12/2015 17:26

"3 years to be competitive. Bet that is music to Mateschitz's ears.........."

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