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Renault to race under British licence in 2011

ESPNF1 Staff
January 14, 2011 « Rome GP's hopes not over - promoter | »
The new Renault livery was unveiled in Birmingham on Thursday © Sutton Images
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Renault will race under a British licence in Formula One this year as the team looks to forge a new identity in the sport.

On Thursday the team officially launched its new Lotus livery at the Autosport International Show in Birmingham. Group Lotus bought into the team last year and now shares ownership with Luxembourg investment company Genii Capital.

The team is still officially called Renault, although the French car company no longer owns a stake in the outfit, but as a nod to Lotus' British routes and the fact that it is based in Enstone, Oxfordshire the nationality has been changed. As a result, if Renault wins a race the British national anthem will be played rather than the French for the constructor.

"Lotus is an English manufacturer," team principal Eric Boullier told Autosport. "I have not announced this before, but we will be running under a British licence now. It means that if we win, we will play the British national anthem - and that is important for everybody inside the team. We are rebranding everything inside the company now."

Vitaly Petrov was also present at the Autosport International Show and revealed that he would move to the UK from Spain to be more involved with his team. Before the Russian secured a new contract with Renault for 2011, team owner Gerard Lopez insisted the 26-year-old needed to "move to the UK" to be "close to the factory" and in an "English speaking environment".

"I'm now closer to the factory, and if I need to I can go any time," Petrov is quoted by the Press Association.

Petrov, who previously lived in Valencia, admitted he was worried recently that he would not be retained by Renault after his rookie season.

"I was a little bit nervous," he said. "It was my rookie year and I knew I had made mistakes, but I also had some good races, so it was 50-50."