Vasseur tipped to be boss of new Re­nault F1 team

F1 Racing - - INSIDER -

Lo­tus sale edges closer to com­ple­tion, amid spec­u­la­tion over new man­age­ment struc­ture

Frédéric Vasseur, boss of the ART GP2 team, is poised to lead Re­nault in their lat­est out­ing in F1. The 46-year-old French­man will take the helm once Re­nault’s pur­chase of Lo­tus is conrmed – which is only a mat­ter of time, ac­cord­ing to se­nior in­sid­ers.

Four-time cham­pion Alain Prost, a Re­nault am­bas­sador and ad­vi­sor, will take a se­nior role, mir­ror­ing that of Niki Lauda at Mercedes. As a non-ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Lauda has no author­ity to take de­ci­sions on his own, but advises team bosses Toto Wolff and Paddy Lowe and the Mercedes board.

There is un­cer­tainty over the role of cur­rent Re­nault Sport man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Cyril Abite­boul, with ru­mours of fric­tion be­tween the three men who look to be ear­marked for se­nior po­si­tions with the team.

Re­nault have signed a let­ter of in­tent to take back con­trol of the team they sold to in­vest­ment group Genii Cap­i­tal at the end of 2009. There have been ru­mours that Re­nault pres­i­dent Car­los Ghosn had not signed off on the in­vest­ment re­quired to take con­trol of Lo­tus, but he has agreed in prin­ci­ple to a ten-year com­mit­ment aimed at re­turn­ing Re­nault to the front.

Re­nault’s pur­chase of a ma­jor­ity share­hold­ing in the team – thought to be in the re­gion of 65 per cent – is not be­lieved to be in doubt. Mercedes only ac­tioned their plan to sup­ply Manor Marus­sia once they were condent that Lo­tus would not need their en­gines, since Mercedes and Re­nault have close ties at a cor­po­rate level and are en­gaged in sev­eral joint ven­tures. Lo­tus are now busy de­sign­ing next year’s car around a Re­nault en­gine.

Mean­while, talks be­tween Re­nault and Lo­tus own­ers Genii Cap­i­tal over the set­tle­ment of the team’s debt are drag­ging on. The sale price of the team is un­der de­bate, as is the length of the pe­riod over which the debts must be re­paid.

ART’s Frédéric Vasseur is likely to head up the new Re­nault F1 team, with Alain Prost as an ad­vi­sor

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