Malcolm Flynn | Oct 3, 2012

Caterham has again emerged as the likely development partner for Renault’s expected revival of the Alpine brand, according to reports out of Europe this week.

Lotus was most recently billed as a likely partner for the still-unconfirmed project, but UK mag Autocar has lined up some pointers that would seem to indicate the balance has shifted in Caterham’s favour.

As suggested previously, a Renault/Caterham tie-up could stem from the French company’s existing engine supply relationship with the Caterham F1 team.

The September appointment of former Renault Sport F1 MD Cyril Abiteboul as new CEO of the Caterham Group is the strongest suggestion that this relationship is set to expand, as the known ‘Renault man’ is expected to maintain ties with the French organisation.

Furthermore, Caterham recently added a ‘Technology and Innovation’ department to its existing Cars, F1 and Composites divisions.

The Technology and Innovation division is known to be liaising with other manufacturers regarding the development of future Caterham road cars.

This fits logically with Renault boss Carlos Tavares’ previous suggestion that a future Alpine model hinges on such a development partner to develop a model platform to be shared among brands.

Regardless of whether such a partnership reaches fruition, Renault has reportedly dedicated significant resources to the project and has asserted its focus toward enthusiasts.

"The platform layout is now finished. This is a car that must appeal to the emotions", Tavares told Autocar recently.

An official announcement was expected at this week’s Paris Motor Show, but all reports indicate the project will be confirmed before the end of the year.

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