Lotus Racing have announced that they will use Renault engines from 2011 and beyond – a move strongly rumoured for months.
The speculation linking Lotus with Renault was further enhanced last month when the Anglo-Asian outfit announced that they would source gearboxes and hydraulics systems from Red Bull, who also use the Renault powerplants.
The move for Lotus cuts short a supply deal with independent engine manufacturer Cosworth.
Tony Fernandes, the Lotus team principal, says that this deal emphasises the team’s ambitions to move up the grid as quickly as possible. “I am absolutely delighted that we can now officially talk about the partnership with Renault. There has obviously been a great deal of speculation about which engine will be powering our cars from 2011 and now the announcement has been made I think everyone can see just how ambitious we really are.
“The combination of the Renault engine and the Red Bull Technology gearbox and hydraulics gives our design and aero teams a successful, tried and tested platform to work with for next year's car. 2010 has been all about building up our team from scratch and in just one year we have laid the foundations for many exciting seasons to come and the partnership with Renault will dramatically accelerate our development plans, both on and off track.
“That is an important point – we have started a partnership with Renault and, much like taking on experienced drivers in our first year, we will be working with people who know how to win and who will help push us even further forward towards the front of the grid. We are realistic – we know what needs to be done to be challenging for ultimate honours in Formula Oneâ„¢ and this partnership will play a very important role in helping us push ahead.”
Mike Gascoyne, now the Chief Technical Officer at Lotus, was technical director at the Benetton team when Renault took them over. He knows from this previous experience that their new engine partner should help Lotus to challenge further up the grid. “Today's announcement is the latest confirmation of how far this team wants to go in Formula One,” explains Gascoyne. “Having worked with Renault before I know exactly what they will bring to our team and I am delighted that they will be playing an integral role in the next chapter of our story.
“The engine itself gives our designers, engineers and drivers an excellent platform to work with – it is very drivable, has good reliability and comes with a track support team who have a wealth of experience and knowledge. We are all looking forward to working with Renault and are very excited about the future for our partnership and our team.”