Renault Announces Return to Formula 1 in 2016: Latest Details and Reaction

Rory Marsden@@roomarsdenFeatured ColumnistDecember 3, 2015

Lotus F1 Team's French driver  Romain Grosjean drives during the third practice session at the Yas Marina circuit in Abu Dhabi on November 28, 2015 ahead of the Abu Dhabi Formula One Grand Prix.    AFP PHOTO / MARWAN NAAMANI / AFP / MARWAN NAAMANI        (Photo credit should read MARWAN NAAMANI/AFP/Getty Images)

Renault is to make its return to Formula One in 2016 as a constructor having completed the takeover of the Lotus team.

The news was confirmed on Thursday, with Renault chairman Carlos Ghosn stating his intention to produce a winning car:

Even at the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, the return of the historic French manufacturer to the sport hung in the balance.

Per BBC Sport's Andrew Benson, a dispute over prize money with F1 chief Bernie Ecclestone threatened to jeopardise the long-running negotiations.

However, Renault's return to the sport has now been confirmed with the "principal contracts" having been signed on Thursday, per the company press release.

The takeover of the Oxfordshire-based Lotus team has not been fully completed but will be done "in the shortest timeframe possible."

SHANGHAI, CHINA - OCTOBER 15:  Fernando Alonso of Spain and Renault looks on in the paddock following qualifying for the Chinese F1 Grand Prix at the Shanghai International Circuit on October 15, 2005, in Shanghai, China.  (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Im
Mark Thompson/Getty Images

Renault has a long history in F1, and Fernando Alonso won world championships driving under the name in 2005 and 2006.

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It was also the engine partner for Red Bull as they won world title doubles from 2010 to 2013—Sebastian Vettel claiming four consecutive drivers' championships.

However, the relationship has become strained as Red Bull have been less successful in recent seasons and Renault has now said "the payback as an engine supplier proved to be limited," hence the decision to return as a constructor. 

The 2016 Formula 1 season will begin on March 20 in Melbourne, Australia, and will be the first opportunity for the returning Renault team to make an impact.