Lotus "has done all it could" to finalise Renault deal - Lopez

Nov 29, 2015, 8:54 AM

Lotus owner Gerard Lopez says there is nothing else the team can do to secure the deal with Renault as it awaits the green light from Carlos Ghosn.

Federico Gastaldi, Lotus F1 Team Deputy Team Principal with Gerard Lopez, Lotus F1 Team Principal
(L to R): Jerome Stoll, Renault Sport F1 President with Christian Horner, Red Bull Racing Team Principal
Pastor Maldonado, Lotus F1 E23
Romain Grosjean, Lotus F1 E23
Romain Grosjean, Lotus F1 E23
Romain Grosjean, Lotus F1 Team
Romain Grosjean, Lotus F1 E23 locks up under braking
Romain Grosjean, Renault F1 Team
Sébastien Loeb tests the Renault F1

The future of the Lotus takeover is now believed to hinge on external factors, and Renault executive Jerome Stoll is in Abu Dhabi this weekend to finalise an agreement with Bernie Ecclestone over future payments.

“We've done everything that we could,” Lopez told Motorsport.com. “As far as Lotus and Renault go, we have an agreement. I can tell you the contracts are finished. Then the rest, let's wait and see.”

Asked if it was simply a case of waiting for a decision from Renault boss Ghosn, he said: “You can say that, yes.”

He added that Stoll's talks with Ecclestone were progressing, and that it was a question of a small difference in figures.

“I think that is being done in a constructive way.”

Lotus has Mercedes deal in place

The Lotus boss is adamant that, should the Renault deal collapse at the last minute, the team can continue with its current engine supplier.

“There is Lotus F1 Team with a Mercedes engine," he said. "We would probably cut down to what I always said.

"If we cannot compete at this level, we don't want to be funding it the way we did in the past, then we'll run it at say 300 people. But that's not the objective.

“The idea is to do Renault, but legally speaking, I can still run a Mercedes car next year. If I need it, we have a contract with Mercedes. We do, trust me.”

No Ecclestone bailout

Lopez also denied suggestions that the team had been bailed out by Ecclestone after its freight arrived late at Abu Dhabi.

“Other teams are asking for their £10m advance. We haven't, at all," Lopez said. "I read that Bernie paid for everything here, which he didn't. He advanced by a couple of days out monthly payment, that's it.

“It's not easy because we are refusing to just pour money into something when we know that the decision that we've taken is to sell. If I didn't do that, people would say: 'He's a bit of an idiot as a businessman.'

“I think we've done the right thing, first of all, to keep 470 people employed. Number two, we've shown that with minimal development, this team can score points, which goes to show what others are doing with money. The third thing is, we've pushed on with this deal.

“Either we get more money, or costs come down in F1, or it's a constructors' sport. If it is, then I might as well be a constructor, which is the aim for this team with Renault.

"At the end of the day, all that bullshit about the financials and so on, we're always there, we're always competing.”

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