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Proton wants stake in RenaultF1

ESPNF1 Staff
December 3, 2010 « Schumacher targets wins in 2011 | »
Proton was previously believed to be interested in a title sponsorship deal © Sutton Images

Proton has confirmed that it is keen to undertake a partial takeover of the RenaultF1 team.

It was previously understood that the Malaysian car manufacturer was interested only in a title sponsorship deal with the team with Renault team to have the Proton-owned sports car maker 'Lotus' as part of its re-branded name.

But Proton's group managing director, Datuk Syed Zainal Abidin Syed Mohamed Tahir, said that Proton is in fact negotiating to buy 25 per cent of the Renault team before the start of the 2011 season.

"Yes, that's the intent," Zainal told Malaysian newspaper The Star. "A decision will be made soon.

"We're close, just wait for a few days. (The) 25 per cent (shareholding) is something that we are discussing. It's still too premature to disclose the exact percentage but it has to be a position where we can control our brand."

The news confirms what Genii capital chairman and RenaultF1 majority shareholder Gerard Lopez told ESPNF1 last week.

"We know the people at Proton quite well and the people at Lotus Group quite well and we have been looking at Lotus Group investment for the past 15 months or so," said Lopez. "There is a high chance of something happening between Lotus Group and Genii Capital and Proton but we're not there yet."