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Group Lotus Signs Deal to Become Renault F1 Title Sponsor

Confirming rumours that had been circulating for the past several weeks, the Renault F1 team announced today that it will become Lotus Renault GP in 2011 after completing a title sponsor deal with Group Lotus that will run until 2017. The Lotus name returned to F1 in 2010, which was licensed by Group Lotus to the Lotus Racing team which competed with Cosworth engines.

Group Lotus will also acquire an ownership stake in the Renault team, along with Genii Capital. The partnership represents a strategic alliance between the two companies that will give Lotus technological and commercial opportunities for its line of production vehicles. Renault will continue to supply the team’s engines, along with technological and engineering support, but the French automaker will no longer have an ownership stake in the team. Its remaining shares have been sold to Genii Capital.

Lotus Renault GP cars will sport black and gold liveries in 2011.

“We are delighted that we can now go public with the news that we will be racing as Lotus Renault GP in 2011,” Renault team chairman Gerard Lopez said in a statement posted on formula1.com. “It is extremely exciting to begin a new era for the team in partnership with Group Lotus, and we will continue to enjoy a strong relationship with Renault over the coming seasons.”

“I can think of no better platform for automotive brand communications than motorsport and F1 is the very pinnacle of open-wheel racing. We’re well aware that there has been a lot of controversy around the usage of our brand in F1 and I’m delighted to be back to formally clarify our position once and for all: we are Lotus and we are back,” Group Lotus CEO Dany Bahar said.

The team also plans to race cars with and updated version of the black and gold liveries (pictured) that were last used when Lotus and Renault joined forces in the 1980s.

Meanwhile, Lotus Racing, the Malaysian-backed outfit owned by Tony Fernandes, has confirmed it will return in 2011 but will switch from Cosworth to Renault power.

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