Sidepodcast - All for F1 and F1 for all

Lotus ditch Cosworth and turn to Renault for power - A change of engine supplier for the backmarker team

Published by Christine

Lotus and Cosworth, an iconic partnership.
Credit: Lotus Racing

Cosworth issued a statement last night confirming that they would be ending their engine supply agreement with Lotus at the end of this season. The initial contracts were set up on a three year basis, and all three new teams signed up with Cosworth, but Lotus have been particularly vocal about their dissatisfaction with the product they've received.

Last week, Autosport reported that Lotus had already been in talks with Renault for engine and gearbox supply in 2011, and that the deal rested solely on the team being able to wriggle out of their contract with Cosworth. With that being the case, it looks like it's full steam ahead for a Lotus-Renault next season.

That should please team boss Tony Fernandes, who wasn't exactly subtle about his feelings during the race yesterday.

jarno has some gear issues. boy i hate this gearbox

tonyfernandes tonyfernandes

its such a shame on gearbox and back of engine. cosworth is a good engine

tonyfernandes tonyfernandes

jarno retired gearbox. oh well . making decsions easier

tonyfernandes tonyfernandes

Making decisions easier, and speeding them up too, no doubt.

This is bad news for Cosworth. When it was first announced they were going to return to the sport, we were worried that the equipment would be outdated and worthless. We may have overestimated the disaster a little, but there's no argument that the three new entrants in 2010 have been slow and unreliable. Lotus have been the first to jump, but I wonder if HRT and Virgin would also do so if they were in a stronger position. We know that Tony Fernandes and his boys think they can join the mid-field soon, and are pushing for every bit of competitiveness they can get. It feels more as though the other two are in survival mode, so perhaps the engine and gearbox contract is not high up on their priority list.

Even so, with Renault seeming to have done a bit of a turnabout on their decision to distance themselves from the sport in all but name, Cosworth need to push to make themselves a known and trusted entity again. Now Honda and BMW are gone, there's room for new engine manufacturers to break in, but they need to do well and they need to be reliable from the start.

Perhaps it is just a matter of time, and Cosworth needed a year to get bedded in. Perhaps Lotus are making the switch too soon and the other two teams will be laughing all the way to the chequered flag in 2011. With Renault on board, I think Lotus will feel a lot happier, though, and to be honest, I don't blame them.