PROTON TO BUY RENAULT F1

The London High Court tussle between Datuk Tony Fernandes’s Lotus Racing and Proton’s Group Lotus over the use of the Lotus name in Formula One could get more complicated with a report in the French newspaper Le Figaro.

In a report, Le Figaro said Renault was set to sell its remaining 25 per cent stake in the Renault F1 Team to Proton.

Proton and Renault were due to sign a contract formalising the deal on Wednesday, Le Figaro said in its report on Friday.

Talk about a deal had been circulating since the opening practice session at the Brazilian Grand Prix in Interlagos a week ago.

BBC radio commentators then had talked about “strong rumour” in the Brazilian paddock that Group Lotus could buy into the Renault team.

Le Figaro, quoting unnamed sources, said Group Lotus would become the title sponsor of the F1 collaboration with Renault, in a deal worth €30 million (RM128 million) a season over five years.

Renault president and chief executive Carlos Ghosn, asked to comment, would only say that “we’ll be there next year and in future seasons”.

Le Figaro said Renault’s role in F1 would be reduced to that of an engine supplier to the renamed Lotus-Renault, Red Bull and Lotus Racing next year.

Renault last year sold 75 per cent of its F1 team to investment firm Genii Capital Partners.