Renault unveiled the outlines of its new strategy at a conference named Renaulution, specifying in particular the direction that its sports brand, Alpine, whose name will be used in F1 from the 2021 season, will take. A partnership has been announced with Lotus for the development of an electric version of the A110. The agreement between the two entities could take other forms, in particular in motorsport. “A collaboration to strengthen the Alpine platform, covering Formula 1, Formula E and Endurance is […] in the study”Lotus said in a press release.
Alpine is already present in WEC and the brand will leave LMP2 for the main category this year, by entering an Oreca LMP1 chassis. In the longer term, the manufacturer is evaluating the feasibility of a Hypercar program, with which Lotus could therefore be associated, but the British brand clarified that no decision has been taken for the moment, whether it is the Formula E or endurance.
“We are exploring opportunities in motorsport together”, a Lotus spokesperson confirmed to Motorsport.com. “Lotus obviously has a rich history in motorsport and a rich track record at the highest level, while Renault and Alpine are experts in Formula 1, Formula E, Endurance, and more. This could open up very interesting but at this point it’s just a possibility. “
Renault has been involved in the first four seasons of Formula E with its own brand alongside French structure e.dams, securing three team titles and one driver, thanks to Sebastien buemi. From the 2018-19 season, Renault gave way to Nissan, another flagship brand of the Alliance. Lotus’ last major program was in F1, when the brand gave its name to the team owned by Genii Capital, which has since become Renault and then … Alpine.
Several manufacturers interested in Formula E
This interest of Alpine and Lotus in Formula E is good news for the category after a difficult end to the year, which saw BMW and Audi announce that they will be leaving the championship at the end of the 2021 season. other new arrivals are possible, starting with McLaren. Earlier this week, the British formation announced that they had signed a option allowing him to join the category for the launch of Gen3, in the 2022-23 season, and at least one other manufacturer has expressed interest.
“We are really confident to replace the Audi team, there is a strong interest in this team model”, Jamie Reigle, Formula E general manager, told Motorsport.com. “Then there’s the issue of new builders coming in. Without naming a name, there’s one we talked to just before Christmas.”
“They said: ‘We studied Formula E in 2018. It seemed really competitive, it seemed a little expensive, we knew we had to spend some money on the powertrain. That’s why we are not came in 2018. Looking at Gen3 now, if you’re serious about controlling spending and continuing to grow, we want to look at it again. ‘”
“They are still a long way from making a commitment and setting up a program, but it was new and it was after [les annonces d’Audi et BMW]. There is a whole list of builders at different stages in their transition to electric and we still believe the proposal [de la Formule E] is very relevant because it is linked to research and development, and it allows to confront the best in competition. Then there is the marketing aspect. “
Interview by Matt Kew