At 13:15 (12:15 GMT) today, February 3rd, Renault will formally reveal their 2016 F1 intentions. It is expected the team will announce the 2016 driver line up, which is widely expected to be Jolyon Palmer, Kevin Magnussen, and Esteban Ocon as reserve and development driver.
With the team returning to full works status and the departure of Pastor Maldonado along with PDVSA and Venezuela Tourism branding substantial livery changes and team branding are expected.
Renault Sport are streaming the launch live, to follow the event click here.
The Renault Sport have confirmed the formal launch of the their Formula One team will take place on Wednesday this week at the Renault TechnoCentre in Paris.
Whilst the team have made no comment, it is widely expected Kevin Magnussen will be confirmed as a driver for the team at the event. The team are also expected to reveal a new livery and sponsorship portfolio as well as mapping out expectations for the 2016 season and ambitions for the future.
Carlos Ghosn, Jérome Stoll, & Cyril Abiteboul will host the event.
You can follow the event live on social media through the Team twitter handle and by using the hashtag #HearUsComing
The Lotus F1 Team transition back into the Renault F1 Team continues with the confirmation earlier this week that Eric Lux and Andrew Ruhan have left the company.
Eric Lux, a founding partner of Genii Capital, the previous owners of the Lotus F1 Team, took directorship with the team in 2010. His move away from the team further suggests Genii Capital’s future involvement in the team will be minimal. At this time there has been no indication over the future of Gerard Lopez, Genii Capital co-founder, with the Enstone based F1 team.
Andrew Ruhan, an entrepreneur finding success in the property sector, joined the team as an investor in a director position in 2013. He latterly became a partner within Genii Capital. Andrew Ruhan’s involvement with the team came at a time of refinancing and consolidation. It is not clear if the investments made by either Genii Capital or Andrew Ruhan have been or will be recovered as part of the Renault takeover of the team.
Groupe Renault and Gravity Motorsport S.a.rl, an affiliate of Genii Capital SA, formally and successfully completed the acquisition by Groupe Renault of a controlling shareholding of Lotus F1 Team Limited.
The new team name, full management structure, team partners and other details will be announced during an event to be held in Paris in February.
In the interim, a new board of directors has been appointed, with Jérôme Stoll as Chairman and Cyril Abiteboul as Managing Director.
Following the signing of a letter of intent by Groupe Renault and Gravity Motorsport S.a.rl on 28 September 2015, the parties entered into the various agreements on 3 December 2015. Since then, all parties involved have been working relentlessly to comply with all of the contractual and legal obligations under the agreements to enable the transaction to successfully complete. The technical teams are making good progress to have the 2016 car ready for testing in Barcelona at the end of February.
At this time the team have made no comment on possible driver line up or sponsorship changes. With PDVSA sponsorship coming under scrutiny, questions remain as to how 2016 funding plans.
Lotus F1 Team has qualified thirteenth and fifteen for today’s United States Grand Prix. In extremely wet and slippery conditions, both drivers proceeded to the second qualifying session but were unable to break into the top ten for this afternoon’s race. Both drivers gain two positions on the grid as a result of penalties for other competitors, meaning Romain starts in P11, Pastor starts in P13.
Romain Grosjean, E23-04. Q: P13, starts P11, 2:00.595
“Conditions were certainly very hard for everyone out there. We knew our relative performance on the wet tyres wouldn’t be as good as it is in the dry. We pushed as hard as we could to get into the top ten but we just couldn’t make it. The rain fell harder in Q2 and it became too wet to run any further laps.”
Pastor Maldonado, E23-03. Q: P15, starts P13, 2:01.604
“At the end of Q2 it was raining too much which made it very tricky. I found it very difficult with our car as even staying on a line was tough. The rear was very unstable and we had a lot of oversteer. The track itself was too wet for the last few laps so I can understand why Q3 didn’t take place.”
Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director:
“The weather is clearly the primary consideration.”
How was qualifying?
For the drivers it was a game of finding some clear track away from the spray and maximising the opportunities when the track was at its driest. It rained all through the session so it was difficult for everyone out there. The conditions were very poor at the end of Q2 which was highlighted by Q3 being aborted.
What are the considerations for the race?
The weather is obviously the primary consideration. It’s raining right now and we’re watching the skies and the satellite maps very closely.
Lotus F1 Team endured a soggy waiting game at the Circuit of the Americas with a very wet FP3 and a much delayed and ultimately postponed qualifying session. Qualifying is now scheduled for 9am tomorrow morning at the track.
Romain Grosjean, E23-04. Q: Delayed. FP3: P12, 2:02.825
“Many years ago as part of the Renault Driver Development programme I enjoyed surfing as part of the training. This would have been really useful had we tried to qualify today! The weather was pretty extreme and I really feel for all the fans who braved the elements to come watch us. I hope we’re able to put on a fantastic show for everyone tomorrow.”
Pastor Maldonado, E23-03. Q: Delayed. FP3: P13, 2:02.921
“There’s nothing you can do about the weather and it’s been a pretty long day waiting to see if the weather would improve. We got some laps in the morning and it was very slippery on track. I definitely think it was the correct decision not to run, but I’m sorry that everyone at the track had a wasted day.”
Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director:
“Not a productive day.”
What does a Sunday morning qualifying mean for the team?
It will make for a busy race day. The weather is predicted to be better tomorrow, however there’s still a chance of rain. It’s going to be important for both cars to come through qualifying with minimal issues as there will only be a short time between qualifying and the race. We saw a Sunday morning qualifying last in Australia a couple of years ago so it’s not an alien concept.
What are the considerations for tomorrow’s race?
We have less time to work on strategy permutations based on starting position and we don’t have much dry run data. If it’s wet there are the usual wet weather considerations. We certainly are looking forward to the race and we have a good opportunity for points.
Lotus F1 Team is pleased to announce that Third and Reserve driver Jolyon Palmer has been promoted to a race seat for the 2016 season, completing the team’s driver line-up alongside Pastor Maldonado.
Jolyon, 24, has driven for the team in the majority of this season’s Free Practice 1 sessions, and will be back in the E23 Hybrid at this weekend’s United States Grand Prix. He joined Lotus F1 Team in January, following an outstanding GP2 campaign in 2014 where he won the championship in dominant fashion, becoming the first British driver to win the GP2 Series since Lewis Hamilton in 2006.
Gerard Lopez, Chairman and Team Principal, Lotus F1 Team:
“We are very pleased to announce that exciting British racing talent Jolyon Palmer is promoted to a race seat with the team for next season. We’ve seen Jolyon’s hard work and talent this season in the way he’s approached his third driver role and he is a really popular choice for the team. As well as having a great future ahead of him behind the wheel, Jolyon is an intelligent and highly marketable asset to the team. He deserves this opportunity, and everyone at Enstone is excited to see what he can achieve next year.”
Jolyon Palmer, 2015 Lotus F1 Team, Third and Reserve driver; 2016 race driver:
“I’m obviously delighted that I’ll be racing in Formula 1 next year. Lotus F1 Team gave me a tremendous opportunity this season and I thank them for assisting my development to a level where they have put their trust in me for a crucial season in their evolution. I’ve enjoyed and learnt a lot from my year as Third and Reserve driver so I’m looking forward to putting this into practice as a race driver in 2016. I can’t wait for next season to get underway!”
Renault have this morning confirmed signature on a letter of intent regarding the potential acquisition of the Lotus F1 team. At this time there has been no formal public response from the Lotus F1 Team of Gravity Motorsport, but it is likely this notification will lead to the sale of the team which should serve to resolve the immediate cash flow issues faced by the team.
In the short press release from Group Renault, a keen emphasis is placed on the long association Renault have with Formula One, it can be expected this history will place a significant role in the rebranding of the Enstone based team.
The announcement makes no reference to the relationship between Red Bull Racing and Renault, with the latter formally under supply agreement for 2016. Further news on this should be expected in the coming days and weeks. No mention has been made around the Power Unit the team will use in 2016, logically it can be assumed the team will run the Renault unit, despite agreements in place with Mercedes Benz. Renault have elected to focus power unit developments on the 2016 program rather than introducing upgrades through the token system in 2015, no doubt significant strides will be made in 2016 regarding performance and reliability.
Sponsors and Driver Line up developments will be of particular interest, with Renault likely to transfer Infiniti and Total Agreements from Red Bull Racing to the Renault team.
Pastor Maldonardo has been announced as a 2016 driver for the Lotus F1 team, the Venezuelan brings substantial national backing to team in the form of PDVSA branding. It will be interesting to see if the team which will act under a new legal entity maintain this contracted commitment.
Romain Grosjean is expected to announce his departure from the team on tomorrow moving to the newly formed Haas F1 team. Possible replacements include Esteban Ocon & Jolyon Palmer. It should also be noted with the possible departure of Red Bull Racing from the sport Daniel Riccardo, Daniil Kvyat, Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz may also be seeking a seat in 2016.