LONDON (Reuters) – Lotus say next year’s Formula One car is coming along well while they wait for Renault to finalise an expected takeover of the financially-struggling team.
“We’re well progressed through the design process and most of the layout has been done,” technical director Nick Chester said on Tuesday in a team preview of this weekend’s Brazilian Grand Prix.
“There hasn’t been the greatest amount of development through the year on the E23 (the 2015 car) so we’ve been able to dedicate quite a bit of additional manpower to our 2016 challenger.
“Manufacture of some of the parts is already underway and we’re looking at a lot of the final detailing currently,” added Chester.
Lotus have struggled to pay their suppliers this season, facing several court cases brought against them as well as having to overcome difficulties at the race track.
In Belgium in August, bailiffs prevented the team from removing their cars from the Spa circuit as part of legal action taken by their French former reserve driver Charles Pic.
They also managed to fend off an attempt by the British tax authorities to put the team into administration as a result of unpaid dues.
Renault, who previously owned the British-based team before selling control at the end of 2009 and exiting it completely in 2010, are expected to make an announcement in the next few weeks.
Deputy team principal Federico Gastaldi told Reuters at this month’s Mexican Grand Prix that the takeover remained on course with due diligence completed and Renault following their own internal procedures.
“They hire a company to go through the due diligence, they have done it and it’s signed and presented to the board of Renault,” said the Argentine.
“We started liaising with the Renault technical department during the Singapore race weekend (in September) and it’s been an ongoing process with the technical department, marketing and administration.
“Renault is a mega multinational company, they have their own procedures and timing and we cannot put pressure on. But they have been hands on and helping us since they signed the letter of intent. It’s just a normal process,” added Gastaldi.
(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Tony Jimenez)