Lotus Owner Gerard Lopez Says He Has A 'Plan B' If Renault Takeover Falls Through
Lotus Owner Gerard Lopez said that he "has a Plan B" if Renault fails to take over the cash-strapped Formula 1 team "but is not expecting to use it," according to Alan Baldwin of REUTERS. An announcement from the French carmaker "is imminent," with the main options being to buy back its former title-winning team or announce it is walking away from the sport. Lopez said everything was ready to sign from his side and he was "pretty calm" and "comfortable" with a situation that has been dragging on for months. Lopez said, "There is no Plan B that we are discussing right now. There is a Plan B that was set up quite a while ago when things were still maybe a bit (uncertain). We could take it out of the drawer and put it in place but it is not on anybody’s desk now." Lopez's upbeat words "were a marked contrast" to those of F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone, who sounded far less certain about the team's prospects, and some others in the paddock. Ecclestone: "They are running a business unsuccessfully, they haven't got enough money to keep going. So they'll stop. They're in trouble with finance anyway, so I can't see that a Mercedes contract is going to help" (REUTERS, 11/30).
RED BULL ENGINE DEAL: SKY SPORTS' James Galloway reported Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner expects to confirm the detail of Red Bull's 2016 engine supply "within a week." Horner confirmed at the Abu Dhabi GP that "the former world champions had finally secured an engine deal for next season, but he was not yet able to divulge further information." Horner said, "I have a contract for an engine, the details of which I hope to be able to announce within a week." Red Bull is expected "to confirm a revised partnership with long-time suppliers Renault, whereby the team run unbranded or rebadged power units supplied by the French manufacturer." The "hold-up in getting the deal" over the line has been thought to center on the failure of Renault and Ecclestone to agree on a deal for the heritage bonus payments the carmaker expects to receive for its return as a works squad (SKY SPORTS, 11/30).