Renault complete Lotus takeover for 2016 F1 season

Pastor Maldonado
Pastor Maldonado will be one of Renault's drivers next year

Renault have completed its takeover of the Lotus team and will return to Formula 1 as a constructor in 2016.

The French car giant has finalised the deal and its lawyers told an insolvency judge: "We have the keys, so to speak."

The move ends months of speculation and secures the future of the team based in Enstone in Oxfordshire.

They have won four F1 drivers' titles - two as Benetton with Michael Schumacher in 1994 and 1995, and two as Renault with Fernando Alonso in 2005 and 2006.

An insolvency petition that would have put the team into administration was formally dismissed.

Renault sold the team to investment group Genii Capital at the end of 2009 after deciding to quit as a constructor, although it remained involved as an engine builder.

Jean-Pierre Jabouille in the 1978 Renault at the United States Grand Prix
Renault entered F1 in 1977 with driver Jean-Pierre Jabouille, seen here at Long Beach during the 1978 United States Grand Prix West

However, following the breakdown of its relationship with Red Bull, the French manufacturer has decided the best course of action is to run its own team once more.

Renault and Red Bull won four world driver and constructor doubles together from 2010-2013 but tension grew following the engine builder's inability to produce a competitive power-unit under the new turbo hybrid formula introduced at the start of 2014.

Red Bull had a contract with Renault until the end of 2016 but broke this off in the summer in order to seek a different engine.

Renault's buy-out of Lotus was in doubt following a row over prize money with F1 commercial boss Bernie Ecclestone.

But an agreement was reached and some sources say Renault will commit to F1 until 2024.

Jolyon Palmer
British rookie Jolyon Palmer will drive for Renault next season

The Renault drivers for next season will be Venezuelan Pastor Maldonado and British rookie Jolyon Palmer, who was the Lotus reserve driver this season. Both drivers were signed by Lotus while the Renault takeover was still in doubt.

The role of team principal is expected to be taken by Frenchman Frederic Vasseur, the boss of the successful ART team in the GP2 feeder category.

Rene Arnoux in the 1982 Renault
Frenchman Rene Arnoux led Renault into the 1980s era but by 1986 the manufacturer had turned engine supplier as the costs of the sport took their toll
Fernando Alonso
Glory was restored for Renault with Fernando Alonso's 2005 championship victory, a feat he repeated the following season
Nelson Piquet Jr at the Singapore Grand Prix
The Singapore Grand Prix in 2008 marked a low point for the team, being forced to face claims that Nelson Piquet Jr was ordered to crash to help team-mate Fernando Alonso

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