Lotus F1 team lost millions before Renault takeover in 2015

Kevin Magnussen driving the Formula One Team Renault  during final practice for the Formula One Grand Prix of Great Britain.

Charles Coates/Getty Images

The Lotus F1 Team posted a loss of £57m ($74 million) in 2015 prior to the takeover by Renault, newly released accounts indicate. That represents a massive change from 2014, when the company lost £5.8m. ($7.5 million)

The Enstone team operated under its previous identity until almost the end of the 2015 calendar year, as the deal to sell it to Renault subsidiary Grigny (UK) Limited was completed on December 18th, for a consideration of 1 British pound. The name was formally changed to Renault on February 3rd.

Last year turnover fell by £36.3m ($47 million) from £114.7m ($150 million) in 2014 to £78.4m, ($102 million) which the team says “relates predominantly to a reduction in sponsorship for the year.”

Meanwhile cost of sales fell by £11m ($14 million) as the team reined in spending, a number that “recognizes the difficult season and associated budgetary constraints faced by the company during the year up until the takeover in December 2015.”

The team has highlighted a “positive movement in shareholders funds of £76.1m,” ($99 million) which “represents the capitalization of existing company loans upon Renault SA’s acquisition and the waiver of interest related to those loans and other intercompany creditors.”

Sauber 'working on solution' for team's future, but no deadline set

In an overview of its position the team says “the company’s strategy for 2016 is to reconstruct the company with the right level of spend, investment and new working practices to reflect Renault’s long term sporting ambitions and strict business plan. On track, improved performance is expected to be achieved in the second half of the season. However, due to the handicap resulting from the lack of development during the 2015 season, the team do not expect to improve upon the prior year’s championship position.”

Renault’s 2017-’18 engine supply deals with Red Bull and Toro Rosso are cited as a key part of the French manufacturer’s on-going commitment to the sport.

The accounts reveal that the average number of employees at Enstone in 2015 was 475, which was actually up from 464 the previous year.

The team also owns 46 historic cars, of which nine are “loaned to sponsors and technical partners on a contractual basis,” while 24 are at Enstone and 13 at an off-site storage facility.