Lotus F1Renault Group has signed a letter of intent with the owner of the Lotus F1 Team to buy a controlling stake in the Grand Prix constructor.

The French carmaker has reached a deal with Gravity Motorsports S.a.r.l, which is an affiliate of Genii Capital S.A.: this is the company that has been running the Lotus F1 team for the past few years.

Renault says it and Gravity “will work together in the coming weeks to eventually turn this initial undertaking into a definitive transaction provided all terms and conditions are met between them and other interested parties.”

It will mark Renault’s 2016 return as a full F1 constructor – and also extend its involvement in F1 to 38 years. This latter point may be significant: Renault is hoping to get enhanced income from F1 bosses through gaining ‘historic team’ status.

The Lotus F1 cars are currently powered by Mercedes-Benz engines: Renault’s takeover of the team will likely see this engine supply move to the British startup Manor F1 team.