Lotus rejoins, BMW departs F1

Lotus is set for a return to Formula 1 next season alongside BMW Sauber, following its sale.

Alessandro Zanardi - Lotus 1994

The luxury sports car marker is to return to the sport for the first time in 16 years and joins Campos GP, Manor and US F1 as one of four new teams for the 2010 season.

Meanwhile, BMW has sold its 80% stake in BMW Sauber team to Middle Eastern investment vehicle Qadbak Investments.

The team, the name of which is yet to be revealed, says it intends to compete next season despite losing a guaranteed slot.

F1 governing body, the FIA has handed the team “14th place” next season, which means it is now first reserve.

BMW announced its intention to pull out of the sport in July, claiming the sport does not fit in with its sustainability positioning.

Qadbak Investments’ move into F1 follows its purchase of English League 2 football club Notts County in July. The club has since named former England manager Sven Goran Errikson as director of football.

Separately, Spanish bank Santander has announced it is extending its sponsorship of the McLaren F1 team despite signing a five-year deal with rival Ferrari last week.

The bank has been with the McLaren team since 2007 and credited the association, in particular the campaigns fronted by McLaren driver Lewis Hamilton, with increasing brand awareness in the UK from 20 to 82% recognition.

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