Formula 1: Lotus agree Renault engine deal until 2018

By Andrew BensonChief F1 writer
Lotus reveal new F1 car in Bahrain

Lotus have sealed a new contract to continue with Renault engines in Formula 1 for the next five years.

The announcement was timed to coincide with the first public appearance of the their car at the second pre-season test after missing the first test in Spain.

The two parties said they had signed a deal "for 2014 and beyond".

But BBC Sport has learned the contract lasts until 2018, which underlines both parties' commitment to F1 despite Lotus's recent cash-flow problems.

The team finished fourth in the constructors' championship last year, but lead driver Kimi Raikkonen quit the team with two races still to go because he had not been paid.

Lotus have this year replaced the Finn, who has moved to Ferrari, with Venezuelan Pastor Maldonado, who brings with him about £30m of annual sponsorship from his country's national oil company.

Lotus is owned by the investment group Genii Capital, which re-named the team after buying it from Renault at the end of 2009. The team, as Renault, won the 2005 and 2006 world titles with Fernando Alonso.

Lotus chief executive officer Matthew Carter said: "Lotus F1 team and Renault Sport F1 have enjoyed a successful partnership these past few years and we look forward to continue to build on our relationship and collaboration in 2014 and beyond.

"It is the beginning of a new era in Formula 1 and we are pleased to embrace it together with Renault Sport F1."

F1 is this year introducing the biggest rule changes for a generation, with the advent of complex and high-tech 1.6-litre V6 hybrid turbo engines.

Renault has had a troubled start to its pre-season programme but its engineering chief Remi Taffin said after the first day of testing in Bahrain on Wednesday that the company was now "on plan but still recovering".

He said he expected by the end of the final test later this month that Renault "will have a specification we will be happy with" which can be used at the first race of the season in Melbourne, Australia on 16 March.

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