Renault face a year of rebuilding, says Palmer

Wed Feb 3, 2016 2:19pm EST
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By Alan Baldwin

PARIS (Reuters) - Renault face a year of rebuilding in Formula One after taking over the financially struggling Lotus team that was on the brink of collapse, British driver Jolyon Palmer said on Wednesday.

The rookie, winner of the feeder GP2 series in 2014 and son of ex-racer Jonathan Palmer, was the Lotus reserve last year and took part in regular practice sessions at grands prix.

Speaking to reporters at the team's official launch, Palmer did not try to put a gloss on the situation.

"It's not going to be an easy year rebuilding from what was Lotus. It's impossible to say right now where we are going to be on the grid," he said.

"I've got a back-to-back (view) with how Lotus were last year. It was very tough. They were struggling to make all the races at the end of the year, trying to get money in from anywhere they could."

Lotus had their cars impounded by bailiffs after the Belgian Grand Prix and were locked out of the paddock hospitality in Japan due to unpaid bills.

At the season's Abu Dhabi finale, the cars were not allowed into the paddock until payments were forthcoming. Little money was spent on development of the 2015 car, with knock-on consequences for 2016.

Renault finally bought the team in December.   Continued...

Renault Chief Executive Carlos Ghosn (2ndL), Renault Formula One racing driver Kevin Magnussen of Denmark (R) and teammate Jolyon Palmer of Britain (C) unveil the new Renault RS16 car during its official presentation at the company's research center, the Technocentre, in Guyancourt, near Paris, France, February 3, 2016. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier