Lotus, Renault partner up

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, Last Updated: 3:37 PM ET

LONDON -- The Renault Formula One team will be renamed Lotus Renault GP for the 2011 season after announcing a title sponsorship deal with Group Lotus on Wednesday.

After leaving F1 in 1994, the Lotus name returned to the sport, under the license from Group Lotus, at the start of this season. Now, the British sportscar manufacturer will make its complete return to F1, with the full backing of its parent company Proton.

The new partnership was created after Renault sold its remaining shares in the team to Genii Capital, a Luxembourg-based investment firm. Group Lotus will become a major equity partner in Lotus Renault GP, which it will co-own with Genii. The title sponsorship agreement will run until the end of the 2017 season.

"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 able to formally clarify our position once and for all," Group Lotus Chief Executive Officer Dany Bahar said in a statement. "We are Lotus, and we are back."

Renault will continue to supply the team with engine and technological support. Poland's Robert Kubica and Vitaly Petrov from Russia drove for Renault during the 2010 season. The team finished fifth in this year's F1 constructors' championship.

The 2011 Lotus Renault GP cars will sport the black and gold colors that were last used when Lotus and Renault joined forces in the 1980s.

"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," Renault F1 Chairman Gerard Lopez said.


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