Lotus F1 Team CEO Matthew Carter remains confident Renault will complete the take over of the team and return to Formula 1 as a manufacturer entry in 2016.
The French manufacturer signed a letter of intent to take over Lotus in September, but nothing has been announced since by either party, but Carter remains positive that the deal will happen and Renault will assume control of the Enstone-based team.
“Renault issued a letter of intent, so behind the scenes the Renault and Lotus senior management are working flat out to make sure that we get the deal done,” revealed Carter to Formula1.com.
“Things are progressing, but these things take time. I am confident that the deal is going to happen, but as I said, it needs time to get it across.
“We know that in business anything can happen and as long as there are no signatures on the documents the deal is not concluded – but confidence is very high!”
The CEO also revealed that the Lotus name will once again disappear from Formula 1 should Renault indeed take over the running of the team.
“If the deal with Renault goes through, then the team will not be called Lotus – the name will fall out of Formula One,” revealed Carter.
“Right now we have a license to use the name Lotus – and that license will be terminated. So someone else could go for that name!
“They [Renault] will then hold the controlling interest. That is also stated in the letter of intent. They would run the team as a manufacturer’s team, like Ferrari and Mercedes are doing at the moment.”
Carter revealed the team are working on a contingency plan should the Renault deal not materialise, with two different designs for the 2016 car to cater for either Renault or Mercedes power.
“We have two options for an engine next year: either we go with Mercedes or Renault,” said Carter. “We are progressing along that route. We’ve got two designs for next year’s car and we are pushing forward with both options.
“[It] is a rather unlikely option that we will go into the 2016 season with a Mercedes engine. And if we were to, yes, that would mean that the Renault deal felt flat. But my strong guess is that it will be a Renault engine next year.”