Lotus silent on reports 2015 switch of engines from Renault to Mercedes afoot
Enstone team currently only eighth in Constructors' Championship
By Pete Gill. Last Updated: 01/07/14 4:05pm
Lotus: The Enstone team have a long-running association with Renault
Lotus have refused to comment on reports they have reached a deal to be powered by Mercedes engines in 2015.
According to Joe Saward, a doyen of the pitlane, Lotus ‘will shortly announce that it will become the fourth Mercedes team, replacing McLaren, and joining Mercedes GP Petronas, Williams F1 and Force India using the German firm’s V6 engines'.
A spokesman for the team, who are currently powered by Renault, declined to comment on the claims on Tuesday morning.
However, if true, the news would see Lotus replace McLaren on the roll-call of Mercedes-powered teams and represent a much-needed boost for the Enstone team. After finishing fourth in the Constructors’ Championship last season, the cash-strapped outfit lost both their star driver, Kimi Raikkonen, and team boss Eric Boullier over the winter. The team have scored points in just two of this year’s eight races, with Romain Grosjean’s pair of eighth-place finishes in Spain and Monaco representing their best results of the season.
While Lotus have undoubtedly paid a price this year for the parlous state of their finances, the Renault engines have been a significant contributing factor to the team’s decline. By common content, the Renault units lag far behind both those of Mercedes and Ferrari with the Silver Arrows’ power plant believed to boast a considerable advantage over the rest of the field. In the Austrian GP at the power-hungry Red Bull Ring last month, Mercedes-engined cars claimed seven of the first nine places.
Were Lotus to switch supplier, it would leave Renault powering just Red Bull, Toro Rosso and Caterham next year. Although Red Bull’s frustrations with the Renault package have been publicly pronounced on numerous occasions this year, the World Champions have committed to continue with the French manufacturer for next season.
But changes are afoot. Honda will return in 2015 to power McLaren and introduce a fourth supplier to the sport and it’s thought the embryonic Haas outfit have held talks with Ferrari, who already supply both Sauber and Marussia, about being their engine providers for when they join the grid in 2016.
Who powers who in 2014
Ferrari: Ferrari, Marussia and Sauber.
Mercedes: Force India, McLaren, Mercedes and Williams.
Renault: Caterham, Lotus, Toro Rosso and Red Bull.
Watch the 2014 British GP live on Sky Sports F1. Extensive coverage of the Silverstone race weekend begins with Friday Practice from 9.45am on July 4.