The signature of the letter, agreed between the Renault Group and Gravity Motorsports S.a.r.l - an affiliate of Lotus owners Genii Capital SA - is the first formal step towards the formation of a Renault Formula One team, which would compete from 2016.
The full statement from Renault Sport read: "Renault Group and Gravity Motorsports S.a.r.l., an affiliate of Genii Capital SA, are pleased to announce the signature of a Letter of Intent regarding the potential acquisition by Renault of a controlling stake in Lotus F1 Team Ltd.
"The signature of this Letter of Intent marks Renault's first step towards the project of a Renault Formula 1 team from the 2016 racing season thereby extending 38 years of commitment of the brand to world's premier motorsport championship series.
"Renault Group and Gravity will work together in the coming weeks to eventually turn this initial undertaking into a definitive transaction provided all terms and conditions are met between them and other interested parties."
Renault have a long-standing history in F1 competition, with their first works team effort dating back to 1977. Though 2011 marked the withdrawal of a Renault team, they have continued to be involved as an engine manufacturer - indeed only Ferrari and Ford engines have claimed more victories in the sport.
Should a final purchase be agreed, Renault can focus on which driver they wish to sign as a 2016 partner for Pastor Maldonado, the Venezuelan having been confirmed on the Sunday of this year's Grand Prix in Singapore.