Renault to confirm Lotus deal in Abu Dhabi as Mario Illien denies Red Bull rumours
Red Bull Racing
Posted By: Alex Kalinauckas  |  06 Nov 2015   |  7:30 pm GMT  |  120 comments

Renault has reportedly given the green light to take over the Lotus squad and could announce that the deal has been completed at the Formula 1 season finale in Abu Dhabi.

According to reports from Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport, Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn has approved the deal to re-purchase the Enstone-based team it owned from 2002-2010.

However Frech colleagues have responded with caution, saying that it’s not finalised yet.

Carlos Ghosn

Although there has still been no formal confirmation of the arrangement, sources have indicated that Renault has locked its employees into long-term contracts and the engine department was allowed to complete its most recent development cycle. These signs suggest the French manufacturer has no plans to go back on its word from September that it intends to buyout Lotus.

French magazine, Auto Hebdo, is also reporting that Renault could opt to keep the Lotus name on the team next season. This would guarantee the squad could collect its F1 prize money from 2015 in a similar way to the how Manor Marussia has been officially named this season despite having no links to its former Russian owners.

Pastor Maldonado

Keeping the Lotus name points to a transitional year for Renault in 2016, and this ties in with the decision to keep Pastor Maldonado and his sponsors on-board next season as the manufacturer can use the funding he brings to help it get re-established in F1.

Former Renault team principal Bob Bell is understood to be back at Enstone having left his role as consultant to Manor. Bell is a technical director and in the fullness of time may work alongside Frederic Vasseur, who has been sounded out for the role of team principal of a Renault works team.

Meanwhile, Renault’s current engine partner, Red Bull, is still facing an uncertain future and famous engine specialist Mario Illien has denied speculation that he will help the four-times constructors’ champions assemble its own power unit using unbranded Renault components for next season. Daniil Kvyat

Illien, who’s company Ilmor formerly worked with Mercedes in F1, told Auto Motor und Sport that he had no idea where the reports had come from.

He said: “I know nothing of a dispute. I also have no idea what upgrades Renault has incorporated in its modified engine. I cannot imagine that a large company like Renault [would] secretly install my development.”

Mario Illien

Illien did work with Red Bull and Renault during the first half of 2015 to help develop the power unit the team has been running this season, but the Swiss engineer explained that he would be more interested in helping to produce the independent engine that has been proposed for 2017.

He said: “I [will] look at times, what stands in the tendering [process]. Then I will decide what I’m doing.”

What do you think Renault can achieve in F1 next season? Will they improve as a full manufacturer? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below.

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Anyone else notice the similarity between Alonso in 2015 and Red Bull in 2016. Both parties cancelled their existing contracts (with Ferrari and Renault) believing they were the best and any other partner will be willing to work with them.Both forgot that they have a reputation of being ‘difficult to work with’.

Alonso ended up with Honda at the back of the grid. Wonder if the same will happen to Red Bull now.


Why would Red Bull mess around with this solution with the timescale they have left when even a complete Renault engine isn’t good enough for them? They’d end up having a year like Honda.


The engine will never be a VAG unit as the fines and compo they need cover will in effect make them run in the red for a number of years, and I’d be surprised if this doesn’t affect their participation in WEC.


It’s hard to believe that Motor Sport should run an article (The Story Behind RB’s 2016 Engine) written by one of F1’s top journalists, Mark Hughes, confirming RB’s plans with Mario Illien for the latter to then deny it.


Here is some background on the rumor that Illien would be involved in creating an unbranded/rebranded “branch” of the Renault PU:


Would Illien really want to be tied into Red Bull. It is one thing to do some consulting, another to be at their beckoned call. What happens to Illien’s reputation if the PU isn’t Red Bull’s idea of competitive, does he receive the verbal abuse Renault did from Red Bull? The upside could be good, the downside disastrous. He has a Chevrolet Indycar contract and a world class reputation and I doubt he needs the money, in his shoes I wouldn’t jump in with both feet.


My prediction is that Lotus will be chasing Manor tail lights with McLaren and Sauber next year.



I fancy myself as a bit of an oracle. Almost changed my Username from Thompson to THE ORACLE! (que thunder and lightning) but decided against it.

Anyhoo I predict Renault will be successful and Palmer to be the Rookie of the year – I also predict Rossi to change team mid season to Ferarri


Lewis in a bit of hot water about his Schumi comments. Rightfully so. He really should be a bit humble considering what car has been given to him and the fact had he been absent with a broken leg, his team mate would have won the WDC no problems…with this car. Why doesn’t he big up himself in private to a mirror. We know he’s the 2015 WDC, and now a 3x, what more does he need at this time?


Sebee, perhaps Rosberg is a better driver than Irvine? Remember how close “The Swerve” came to adding his name to a list he had no business being on!


That’s an interesting point you make Sebee – considering Schumi’s team mate could not do just that shows Hamiltons convincing win of the WDC this year is more impressive than many will admit.

He has a live teammate Schumacher never did.


In hot water………not with most F1 fans.

He has had the courage to say what a lot of others think.

Schumacher was a [mod], if he couldn’t win by fair means he would take his opponent out.


@ buzzzzzz….we don’t always agree but on this point we are in unison.


You only like full contact racing when it’s for P7?


Funny he never says that about Senna!

Senna was a (I want to write what you wrote but it will be deleted by the moderators), if he couldn’t win by fair means he would take his opponent out.


Another non story from the anti LH brigade. Nuff said.


Thompson, maybe Mercedes products don’t excite him?


On the face of it Brent, it might not have gone down very well in Stuttgart but at least he rolled up in an eco-friendly hybrid and not a gas guzzling Mercedes!


He’s also posted pictures of his Zonda on the Tweeter earlier in the year…… the nerve of the guy.

Maybe Merc forgot to offer him a few extra pennies to only be seen in a Merc during their contract negotiations earlier in the year.


Clearly Lewis wants to drive the red car soon. I’m just glad you guys continue to give unfollow him on twitter and in this sites rehash posts from social media “aka population monitoring and inventory”


Oh come on, Hamilton is always a story. How about him showing up at some fancy shindig, this week, in a limited edition Ferrari. Don’t you think it would have been fun to see the faces of the group paying him 30 mill (or whatever) a year to race and represent their brand, when they saw this? He is in the Mercedes ads on tv that are running now and his picture is then spread through the international media climbing out of a Ferrari at a glitzy public event. Ferrari, who don’t even advertise, got more advertising from Hamilton then they get from either driver or Mercedes got from spending millions of dollars on advertising. I couldn’t believe it. Is he so vain that attention on him clouded his judgement or is he just stupid?


“What more does he need at this time?”- A role in the reality show ‘Keeping up with theKardashians’


No, he’s already been signed up for the next Celebrity Big Brother


@HP…actually it should be the other way round…the K’s need a place on the ‘hamilton dorky dress parade’ hahaha


Are my comments being sent straight to the bin ? The site recognize the last comment I posted (If I repost it says duplicate). But it doesn’t show up as a waiting moderation


@James Encore

being sent straight to the bin ?…

Same here – it’s always the really witty and insightful ones that get rejected – my theory is proved by this comment getting through 🙂


@ C63… was good one. witty, pithy, incisive and a masterful literary confection that was so good that it would have taken your breath away, hahaha.



Whooshka ……

I bet it was a really good one as well 🙂


I admit my comment was a bit toungue in cheek , but you have to admit it was mighty strange. The car was nowhere either before or after that race. It was dry, so that didn’t throw everyone a double six and yet on the very weekend of Sir Franks 70th, it wins !

The only one in years and years of otherwise barren results . A welcome result (I’ve a soft spot for Williams) but very odd 🙂


I had a couple dissapear a week ago. Not sure if it was a website error or whether the mods were getting tougher. One of them I said that Ginger Spice could do a better job on managing the Red Bull team. It was just light humour but maybe it got moderated. I mean who knows?


No, we can cope with that!



I expect better of you.

Now you sound like Sebee

The Williams was very quick for that race and if Hamilton had not run out of fuel he would have started on pole and won.

To say Bernie fixed it to win is rubbish.

Those sort of “fixes” do not happen, “fixes” arranged by Briattore do.

The teams can’t even agree what engines to run and you think that they will give a race to Frank.


@ C63…just tried 3 times to reply to your last post….whoooshka gone never to be seen again.


THE most uninspiring driver line up on the grid.


You’re not the only one to say it, but I honestly don’t understand it.

First you have a guy who is arguably one of the most exciting drivers on the track – Put Maldonado in the mix and action is almost guaranteed, and to his credit he has won a GP which is more than most F1 drivers can say.

As for Palmer he might not have had stellar results in the feeder series, but he’ll be looking to make his mark and he’ll likely be looking to learn what he can from his much more experienced team mate Maldonado – Need I say more? 🙂

Uninspired? Maybe. Unexciting? I don’t think so 🙂


everything smells funny to you Sebee……


Random, to be honest, all Ferrari wins this year have a slight aroma around them. And look who’s saying it!



A smelly win is still a win 🙂


@ torchwood 5….a one off, right place right time never to be repeated and a bit like hulkenbergs pole in brazil!!!!!


@Random 79 and Torchwood

to his credit he has won a GP…

That win doesn’t count as it was a gift from Bernie to Frank. The car was nowhere at every other race that season, but miraculously they get a win on the weekend of Sir Franks 70th…. Give me a break. It doesn’t pass the smell test 🙂



Someone besides me, takes Maldonado’s win into account.



Alex/ James- Is it not just as important to use the Renault name for historic payments purpose which Bernie has agreed to? This might be a technicality that conflicts with the use of the Lotus name for share of prize money.

I dont think Mario llian has done any more than act as a consultant between Red Bull and Renault on the PU development – more specifically the ICE & it is now at the point where Renault have introduced updates which will be the basis of the 2016 unit. Perhaps RBR will continue its own development on ERS systems in its own right and the IP around the ERS is the sticking point now between RBR & Renault -not only the branding but also how it will work operationally going forward.


Lotus hasn’t done much with the Mercedes engine so unless Renault pull a rabbit out their hat, they will be further back, then in a year or so might start to move towards the upper midfeild.

Maybe Red Bull will pull out. Then sponsor or buy Manor, supply staff, drivers and next years chassis. Then you have a Mercedes powered Red Bull.


@ daryl…. i think you’ll find that contractually that wouldn’t happen as mercedes would have that covered. a simple clause stating that the contract was between two ‘known’ entities and should the shareholding change then the contract would either end or become negotiable. common.


Bearing in mind that lotus have had the same car since the start of the season, I think they have done ok tbh.

They can still get in the top ten and on a good days still out scored TR and force indian. Thay tells me that the chassis wasnt half bad.

As for next year I do fear for them, as it has been designed for a merc engine Renault obviously know and im pretty certain that next year has already been written off, so perhaps keeping mal and taking on Palmer was actually quite astute on their part. Why piss off a good driver if you dont need to, just look at Alonso at honda !


Enstone at least have the advantage of having used the Renault configuration in the previous chassis, so at least the designers will understand it’s body packaging, cooling, placement needs. It has to be easier to switch back then to start from scratch with a different PU.


@Daryl. There is a clause in the Mercedes/Manor engine deal that says if the team is sold then Mercedes reserves the right to cancel the engine supply contract. So if Red Bull were to buy Manor, I don’t think that that would help them get a Mercedes PU.


I suspect Mercedes may have something to say abut that 🙂


Then when VAG come in with RBR in a couple of years, they will have a heads up on the engine, not that VAG need it.

I wonder how the MB board would take that…


VW? They haven’t ever got a fix for my Blumotion Golf yet! F1 js miles away!



I know redbull have been crying from months over not having an engine for 2016 but arent they in the same or better situation than Braun was when Honda left. Pretty sure Braun won the championship with a bolt in engine. To me this is great marketing from rebull. Wont win the championship or races this year but all you hear is redull, redbull, redbull…..


Honda also left Brawn a farewell operating budget that got them through the first half of the year without any real sponsors. RBR would rely on Mateschitz to pony up every penny.


jps, it is indeed correct that Braun managed to shoe-horn a Merc engine into their chassis designed around a Honda. But you have to remember that back then, the engines all had a pretty similar layout, they had the same “V” angle and virtually identical cylinder sizes etc. etc.

Nowadays the PU’s have so many ancillary components, and they are very different in overall shape/size. It will not be the simplest of tasks to modify a chassis at this late time of the year.

I suspect the only practical solution for RB will be to run Renault engines next year (if the deal can be sorted)


Yes you do hear “RedBull” all the time, but it is negative publicity. So not a good marketing strategy from them if that’s what they have been doing



Renault look like they are moving forward more confidently than RB……

Looks like this season was a testing season for Renault.

From my observations they’ve nailed the reliability issue and improved the base performance of their unit all without the use of tokens.

A quick glance at the performance of Kyvat minus his spin, over the last few races shows there on the right track – although few will admit to it.

Now looking forward to the winter, development of the PU’s driveability, improve software and power…..all I can say is welcome back Renault!

Considering Renault are the most successful engine manufacturer over the past 30yrs, Palmer potentially as landed in a great position …….oh to be a fly on DM’s and Horners wall.

It’s like kicking out a once gorgeous girlfriend who let herself go only to bump into her a few months later she having renewed her gym membership, getting her hair done and her nails did walking confidently down the street taking lives and breaking hearts.

Then slowly it dawns on you that it was infact you who was sucking the life out of her…….hard lesson.


@ thompson……a small error there. renault over the past 30years as the most successful? out of the last 30 years renault have possibly been the most successful for 28 of them.


@ thompson…hahaa we are all suffering the vagaries of a site that has a will of its own!!!! some posts work and some don’t. a bit like renault engines in fact hahaha


Ignore this draft Kenneth the other one above disappeared then re appeared this was in fact the 3rd attempt.

Nowhere near as clever witty and good as the 1st draft and worse than the 2nd above…

Anyhoo 28yrs Naaah it’s the last 30yrs include the bad with the good.


So it seems the Judges story is not correct, and not for the first time either….



If my understanding is correct ( probably not ) isn’t this mysterious building 9 some sort of underground complex ? If that is so , it’s hardly the work of a moment to complete , nor is it exactly something which can be constructed in secret . For that reason I’m finding it hard to believe the Tj13 exposa. I’m also finding it hard to believe other , mainstream, reporters wouldn’t have heard something about it as well. Why would RBR choose TJ13 to let the world know about their hithertoo secret plans . As you say , who knows – if you throw enough mud at the wall some of it will stick and that appears to be TJ13 philosophy. Time will tell .


The ‘Building 9’ thing cracks me up. The RBR website has a little ‘factory tour’ available, and I believe they mention buildings 1-3. So we are missing a few other buildings as well. What sooper-dooper top-secret projects are they cooking up in buildings 4-8? I want to hear that story! Unless they are the broom closets, and then that seems relatively boring.


C63, my thoughts exactly. It seems they are using the “scatter gun” technique, just predict every possible outcome and then say ” you read it here first” when one comes true!

I hope the story is true, I don’t want RB to leave, and if they manage to solve their own supply problem, then good on em, but I doubt that TJ13’s version is accurate, or has come from a quality source.


Time for a forum war me thinks…


Do posts dissappear on TJ13? I might go there instead….

Who am I kidding….this won’t make it through…


Forum wars? Brings back memories from the Usenet days of the war between alt.tasteless and rec.pets.cats! For what it is worth (nor a lot) I think TJ13 probably has it about right.


Andrew, lol! I’m sure an all out conflict isn’t necessary!


For facts I stick to here and Joe Sawards blog, for sometimes interesting reading I look at TJ13 – but always take the stories with a pinch of salt.


Torchwood, who knows maybe they do have it right, but looking at the standard of their other work, I remain to be convinced. Remember we don’t know if all the “building 9” stuff is right yet either.



Are there any actual reporters who work at TJ13 ? Like actual attend races, hold press passes and report reporters ?


Joe Saward, despite being a bit prickly, has at least attended every GP for decades and for what it’s worth he’s never met anyone working for TJ13. So unless it’s other journalists working on the side and often writing in bad English to throw everyone off the scent, I think we can safely assume TJ13 is a gossip aggregator site.


3 attempt and no post appears ggrrrrrrrrrrr



Why don’t you ask them….

Couldn’t I just ask you – after all, you know everything 🙂

Actually, on the subject of asking; are you still of the opinion that RBR have everything under control and they are several moves ahead etc? I know that was your firmly held view a while back, what with you not being a galah like you said everyone else was. I wondered if you felt things might possibly not be going exactly to plan and maybe they were in the mire just a tiny little bit?

Torchwood (mobile)

In the 2-3 days that I have been aware of TJ13, the site mentions being in the F1 paddock at Jerez, which is an unusual mention, if you had attended more recent races.

On this issue, the site has apparently been covering the secret progression for months, centering around Building 9 in Milton Keynes.

So for this article, I don’t know that it would be necessary to be attending races.


C63, it has the whiff of ‘fan generated content’ around it doesn’t it? My feeling is if they had properly accredited journalists contributing, then they would be named. If you look back through the previous articles you will find they have confidently predicted every possible out come of the Red Bull saga, and some of the other articles are appallingly written. In future I will stick to reputable sites, like this one!


@ C63…why don’t you ask them? i’m sure they’ll give you an answer.


So 2016 Lotus Renault

2017 Renault Le Coq Sportif F1 😉


so if this is true what a GREAT name we will see – Lotus-Renault-Mercedes !!! That’s SOMEthing ! Well, let’s wait and see. As for RedBull – again, let’s wait and see


Yes the name will be interesting. I recall some years ago we had BMW Sauber-Ferrari!


My observation is Renault are indeed moving forward and with alot more certainty than RB.

I have to say Palmer has found himself in potentially a great position.

Looks to me like 2015 was indeed a development year for Renault. They seem to have nailed reliability without the use of tokens and performance is heading in the right direction – though few will admit this.

A quick look at Kyvats performances minus his spin is the proof (giving Riciarrdio’s stock a good kicking on the way).

Indeed a winter of improving driveability, software and power ….. being the most successful manufacturer over the past 30yrs or so one can only say welcome back Renault!

Oh to be a fly on DM’s and Horners wall….

It’s like kicking out a once gorgeous girlfriend who let herself go only to bump into her a few months later seeing she renewed her membership to the gym, she’s getting her hair done and her nails did, walking down the street taking lives and breaking hearts.

Then it dawns on you it was you sucking the life out of her all along……painful lesson.

Talking of gorgeous – that Lotus looks stunning at the top of this topic.


I agree with Arno. There’s a lot of talk about Illien working with RBR to assemble a new PU package, based on a Renault block, Illien heads and RBR energy recovery units. I don’t see where Illien’s quoted remarks deny this. If the talk is true and the unit is successful, what’s to stop RBR telling Renault to find their energy recovery units elsewhere? Perhaps thgis might explain some of Horner’s cryptic reassurances that things are being “negotiated”.


Umm guy’s what excatly did Mario say… He said according to this and other pieces that. He does not know what if any of his ideas, upgrades Renault would be using with out his permisson. That isn’t excatly denying anything about working with RBR is it?

What i would like to know and maybe James can comment on this? Is if the RBR unbranded / infinity or what ever is even possible within the current rules regarding the Power units?

If it is then maybe if not then it’s hot air.


RBR I think as Auto Motor And Sport do that RBR will run rebranded PUs ( I think using the Mechachrome name) fully and solely by Renault without modification from outside companies.

However the PUs the Milton Keynes team uses will an ERS system that has been developed in house. This sounds like a feasible answer to the dilemma to me.


Take note of these three words follow this sentence. Red Bull Mecachrome.

That is what I think will happen RBR will get an ICE fully and only developed by Renault (rebranded as Mechachrome) but equipped with RBRs own ERS system.


What Phil said. If RBR indeed build their own PU based on the ICE block from Renault, then why bother badging it as “Mecachrome”?


Why bother with Mecachrome? No value in it for anyone…


I remember hearing that the main components must be from the same manufacture – or something like that.

Thus making it impossible to take a Ferrari ICE and Merc ERS for instance.

But if RB buys these components or makes them themselves and brands them red bull I would suppose this fits within the guidelines.

They will be a defecto PU manufacture (although a hybrid of sorts) – they can use this in house PU to offer a sponsorship location. Infiniti could continue for instance as the powered by sponsor. Any other company could pay for this spot to – Audi-Nike, it’s actually quite genius to offer companies a chance to not only sponsor the chassis but the power unit as an independent entity.


“Defecto” PU… Quite the Freudian typo.



it’s actually quite genius to offer companies…..

Aren’t you getting a bit ahead of yourself? What makes you think their in house PU (assuming they actually manufacturer one) will be any good? It’s clearly not an easy thing to get right.


Will they be getting some decent drivers for 2017 then?


Alonso and Dan Ric 😉


Although it might sound crazy, I think they will do better than Lotus did this year.

On top of better funding (+ hiring key people), they will have whole bunch of tokens to spend on improving the PU over the winter and whole season.

My understanding from reading different sites, is that they were working whole year mostly on next year engine.


I don’t know, they won’t have Grosjean, and with a line-up as uninspiring as Maldonado/Palmer they may struggle to take the big results when the opportunity presents itself.


Hope this is true…but if Red Bull/Torro Rosso pull out they will finish higher up anyway.


RBR and STR are not pulling out.

STR will probably get a Ferrari PU, while RBR is building their own (rebranded Renault).

Aparently they will build they own heads, intakes etc (entire upper part of the engine), ERS is RBR’s anyway, while lower part of the PU (block etc) will be Renault.

If STR manages to ger Ferrari, even from this year, that would provide RBR with lot of useful data.

Well, that’s what in my mind sounds plausible, from reading lot of stuff recently all over the place. 🙂


Renault can achieve big losses on paper for their shareholders via their F1 venture.

That’s about it. Grats to them, 😛


Whilst I agree 100 % with your comments re keeping Pastor, it should have also included the ‘hiring’ of Palmer.


Not much for sure… Engine aside, they setting off with ZERO aggression and questionable strategy with the Driver line up they set off with!

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