Formula One: Renault finalise Lotus takeover

French company Renault has finalised its takeover of the cash-strapped Lotus Formula One team.
French company Renault has finalised its takeover of the cash-strapped Lotus Formula One team.PHOTO: AFP

(AFP) - Renault finalised their takeover of the Lotus team on Monday as the French constructor prepares to return to Formula One in 2016.

"On Friday, Dec 18, 2015, Groupe Renault...formally and successfully completed the acquisition...of a controlling shareholding of Lotus F1 Team Limited," read a statement.

The new team name will be announced in Paris in February.

The statement added: "The technical teams are making good progress to have the 2016 car ready for testing in Barcelona at the end of February."

Renault boss Carlos Ghosn had announced the takeover earlier this month.

The French firm's return as a full team comes after the acrimonious split with Red Bull which garnered four drivers' world titles in a row but ended after Renault had become angered by the Austrian team's criticism of their engines this year.

In taking over Lotus, Renault are essentially buying back the team they had sold to Genii Capital in 2009 and which was renamed Lotus F1 Team for the 2012 season.

Associated with the sport since 1977, Renault has two drivers and constructors titles to its name when Fernando Alonso won back-to-back championships in 2005-06.

Lotus had been in financial trouble all year as Genii Capital scaled back their investment in the team, resulting in unpaid bills and a cash-flow problem.

The 2016 Formula One season will begin with the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne on March 20.