Renault looks set to announce its return to full works team status in formula one at the Abu Dhabi finale next month. Citing sources, that was the claim on Friday of Michael Schmidt, the highly respected correspondent for Germany's Auto Motor und Sport.
F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone warned that "It could be December until the decision is made", but sources have now told Schmidt that the deal to take over Lotus is effectively already done. Indeed, Renault has reportedly been signing long-term deals with staff, the final engine development for Red Bull this year was approved, and a debt owed by financially-troubled Lotus has been repaid. "We're working hard behind the scenes and we'll have some good strong and positive announcements to make in due course," said Lotus deputy boss Federico Gastaldi.
If the deal is finalised, it will mean a very late change of engine supplier for the currently Mercedes-powered team, but technical boss Nick Chester said Enstone will cope. "Certainly for any team having a late call on engine change it's a pretty intense timeframe for next year, but no one ever said formula one was easy," he said. (GMM)
Bahrain International Circuit - Winter testing