The confirmation comes more than two months after Renault signed a Letter of Intent to acquire a controlling share in Lotus - the team it operated from 2002 to 2009. Principal contracts between the two parties were signed on December 3, though Renault say work continues on finalising the terms of the acquisition “in the shortest timeframe possible”.
“Renault had two options: to come back at 100 percent or leave,” said Carlos Ghosn, Renault’s Chairman and CEO. “After a detailed study, I have decided that Renault will be in Formula One, starting in 2016. The final details supplied by F1’s main stakeholders gave us the confidence to accept this new challenge. Our ambition is to win - even if it will take some time.”
Renault have had uninterrupted involvement in Formula One racing for almost 40 years, both as a works entrant and an engine supplier. Renault and Lotus, meanwhile, have known each other for 15 years and were world champions together in 2005 and 2006.
“As the pinnacle of motor sport, Formula One demands technological and operational excellence," said Renault in Thursday's announcement. "The championship serves as a showcase for the technological expertise that Renault dials into its products for the benefit of its customers.
“Formula One is a means for Renault to accelerate development and remain at the forefront of the sport’s technological progress.
“It simultaneously allows Renault to build bridges between the advanced technologies seen in the world championship and its road cars, particularly in the fields of electric and hybrid vehicles.”
Renault will provide more detailed information on their planned F1 programme in January.