MAY 28, 2015
Deadline on Lotus-Renault buyout deal looming
International media sources believe Lotus is on the cusp of being sold.
Just two weeks ago, amid rumours the Enstone team was in talks with its former owner Renault, Lotus chief Matthew Carter declared: "My shareholders have said quite specifically the team isn't for sale".
But the speculation did not stop.
It has been fuelled, in part, by the fact that Gerard Lopez, representing the majority owner Genii, has been almost completely absent from the paddock so far in 2015.
The Luxembourger then suddenly appeared in Barcelona, where Italy's Autosprint now reports that talks to sell a major chunk of the Enstone team back to Renault took place.
It is well known that Renault is openly contemplating its approach to F1 at present, having not ruled out staying as a supplier, quitting altogether or returning to full works team status.
Autosprint reports that one plan devised by Renault's F1 operations chief Remi Taffin is to buy back Enstone and re-install Bob Bell as team boss.
It is claimed a final decision - at least with regards to the Enstone plan - could be made by the end of this week.
Renault chairman and CEO Carlos Ghosn was a notable figure in the Monaco paddock last weekend.
Writing in Finland's Turun Sanomat, correspondent Luis Vasconcelos agrees: "Negotiations on the purchase of the Lotus team have progressed to the decisive phase.
"A deadline for the Lopez and (Renault F1 boss Cyril) Abiteboul negotiations is the end of May, so the outcome is expected in the coming days," he added.