SUZUKA (REUTERS) - The fate of the Lotus Formula One team hung in the balance on Friday, with the risk of administration looming and even the sport's commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone unsure whether Renault would ride to the rescue.
"Apparently Renault are going to take over Lotus. Apparently. This is what has been foreseen. Whether it will be completed, I don't know," Ecclestone, 84, said by telephone from London. "If they don't complete it (the takeover) by Monday or put some money in soon... unless Renault come to the party, it won't happen."
Asked whether he felt Renault would step up, or whether there was an element of wishful thinking on the part of the Lotus owners and the 400 factory employees, Ecclestone said he did not know.
"It's strange that a company as large as Renault are taking such a long time to make a decision, to be honest with you," he said. "They've been waiting for us to make a contribution to give them a reason to do something, which we've done two weeks ago. So I don't know."
Media reports have indicated that Renault want "heritage" payments and status that would put them on a par with Mercedes as a reward for their contribution to the sport over the years.
These would be in exchange for a long-term commitment to the sport, something major car companies have been reluctant in the past to sign up to.