Lotus-Renault's then driver Kimi Raikkonen drives in action during the Formula One Korean Grand Prix in October 2012 Getty

Renault have confirmed they will return to Formula 1 as a constructor and take over the Lotus team after signing a principal contract on 3 December, Thursday. The deal is not completed, but they claim it will be done "in the shortest time frame possible".

"Renault will return to Formula One racing as a works entrant in 2016, the French manufacturer announced on Thursday," a statement on Formula 1's official website read.

The first step of the takeover took place in September when a letter of intent was signed agreeing to the formation of a Formula 1 team between Renault and Gravity Motorsports S.a.r.l - an affiliate of Lotus owners Genii Capital SA.

A full statement on Renault's website read, "Following the September announcement of the signing of a Letter of Intent with Lotus, teams at Renault continued to evaluate the possibility of a return to Formula 1. Particular attention was paid to competing successfully with its own team in a financially sound way starting in 2016."

Renault chairman and CEO Carlos Ghosn admitted that he had two options, before deciding to return to the sport as a team in 2016.

"Renault had two options: to come back at 100 percent or leave. After a detailed study, I have decided that Renault will be in Formula One, starting in 2016. The final details supplied by F1's main stakeholders gave us the confidence to accept this new challenge. Our ambition is to win - even if it will take some time," Ghosn explained.

They have won four world titles, two with Michael Schumacher in 1994 and 1995 (as Benetton) and two with Fernando Alonso as Renault in 2004 and 2005. With 40 years experience in the sport, they have won 12 Constructors' Championships and will return to Formula 1 in the next season.