Renault to step in and save Lotus F1 team from administration

Lotus will avoid becoming the latest Formula 1 team to fall into administration as future owner Renault is to step in with a last-minute reprieve on Monday, AUTOSPORT understands

Renault to step in and save Lotus F1 team from administration

Lotus is due back in the High Court on Monday in what should be the final act of its insolvency battle with HMRC as it owes £2.7million in back PAYE (income tax and national insurance) - £900,000 for each of June, July and August.

Up until Friday it appeared the first stage of the deal for Renault to take over the team had been held up, leaving a very real possibility of the team going into administration with 400 jobs at risk.

AUTOSPORT sources, however, have suggested Renault is to come to Lotus's rescue as certain hurdles have been cleared and the French manufacturer will pay off the HMRC debt.

A Renault statement is due next week, potentially as early as Monday following the final visit to the High Court.

If so, it is a convincing step towards Renault formalising its 65 per cent stake in Lotus for an agreed £65million, therefore returning to F1 in 2016 as a constructor.

Over the past few weeks and months, while negotiations have been conducted, many bills have been placed on the back burner for payment, and insolvency proceedings were brought against Lotus by a number of parties.

One source said: "Both Renault and the owners can afford to pay the bills that are open, but the question has been who should pay?"

Due to the financial issues the team's freight did not arrive at Suzuka until late this week at a time when the other nine teams were already fully set up.

To add insult to injury, all Lotus staff have been locked out of the hospitality unit as the team has not paid the building's rental fee, a situation described by CEO Matthew Carter as "not good for the team at all, nor the sport".

Despite hope of a deal with circuit officials, that has not been the case and the unit will remain closed over the weekend.

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