Axe hangs over Renault’s F1 team

Posted on Author Keith Collantine

Was Abu Dhabi the last F1 race for Renault?
Was Abu Dhabi the last F1 race for Renault?

Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn has said the company could close its F1 team at the end of the year.

He told reporters today a decision will be taken before the end of 2009. The team already has Robert Kubica contracted for the 2010 F1 season.

Toyota and BMW have previously confirmed they will not be racing in 2010. If Renault were to leave only Ferrari and Mercedes would remain as car manufacturers active in F1.

Like Toyota, Renault was a signatory to the new Concorde Agreement, committing it to remain in F1 until the end of 2012. The FIA has expressed concern at Toyota’s decision to leave the sport despite having signed the Concorde Agreement.

It also hinted the Max Mosley’s abandoned plans for budget capping could be resurrected by new president Jean Todt:

Toyota?s announcement demonstrates the importance of the original cost-reduction measures set out by the FIA.

There is no sign yet whether a third party might take over the Toyota entry. The slot could be taken by new BMW owners Qadbak.

Should Renault pull out the team could be taken over by another company. The Enstone operation was previously run by Benetton (1986-2001) and before that Toleman (1981-1985).

If history tells us anything about Renault it’s that we can expect them back within a couple of years if they do quit.

They entered as a full constructor in 1977 but withdrew at the end of 1985 having failed to win a championship. They remained an engine supplier to several teams in 1986 before leaving the team for two years and then returning with Williams in 1989.

After many championship wins with Williams and Benetton, Renault left again at the end of 1997. But they returned as an engine supplier to Benetton in 2001 and took over the team the following year.

They’ve had a difficult three years since their back-to-back double championships of 2005-6 with Fernando Alonso. He made a beeline back to the team after a one-year stay at McLaren in 2007. But their triumphant return to form at the end of 2008 has now been tainted by the Singapore scandal, and they had already lost title sponsor ING.

Alonso is now on his way to Ferrari and Kubica is set to take his place – but only if the team commits to F1 for another year. With the Pole potentially back on the driver market, it could lead to a further hold-up in driver signings for 2010.

108 comments on “Axe hangs over Renault’s F1 team”

  1. I think they should just fire up an F1 simulator and do the races from there. No more talk of teams jumping ship, no more accidents. Unless there is a power cut.

    1. Dunno what’s up with all these teams? Its official, isn’t it? The great American recession has ended. Now is the time to be investing, but Toyota & Renault seem to be doing the opposite. Why?

      There is a old saying:

      Winners never Quit
      Quitters never Win.

      Toyota will never win.

      1. No one is saying that the end of the Great American recession is ‘official’….

      2. ended…not really….more so leveled off, like we wont get worse. but despite false booms in auto industry, housing markets, and national economy, we arent getting ‘better’.

        1. gee I am glad you guys aint economists…
          It aint over by a long shot, the goverment protective bubble will burst soon leaving a greater gasping wound than before. Why because there isn’t all the sudden more money in the world…it’s just been plastered over for the mean time.

      3. HounslowBusGarage
        5th November 2009, 20:52

        Because they are having to show their shareholders that they are cutting the losses incured in the previous year.
        Works like this. The company makes a loss in Year 1, when the results are announced three months into Year 2, the big shareholders say “What are you doing about the loss?” And the company has to be able to point to remedial steps it has already taken – “We’ve ended our $450 million F1 racing programme” – and even though sales might beginning to rise again, the company won’t be able to confirm the benefit until part way through Year 3 when they might say “We’re embarking on a racing programme . . .”

        1. and bingo was his name-o

      4. Since when is the recession over, the falls have slowed, but thats inevitable, global economy is still in a mess, Toyota, leading automobile manufacturer just 3-4 years ago is on verge of bankruptcy.

        Investment to recover from recession would nnot be huge marketing investment anyway, but core business.

        Thats my two cents anyway.

  2. Kubica will end up somewhere I am sure should Renault call it a day.

    I find it a bit odd that teams throw the towel in because they dont win. I mean like many other sports, the winners often come from a small pool. OK we have seen Brawn come from nowhere and maybe thats part of the frustration of teams towards the back who have been plugging away for years.

    Renault may not be winning right now but in the recent past they were a big team. I hope they can be salvaged in a Brawn style buy out. Sponsors might be keener not to associate with ‘Renault’ after this season’s events.

    1. Just had this crazy idea! What if Benetton re-purchase the team from Renault if they were to quit? Is there a possibility we could see Flavio back? I mean Max is not in charge anymore & who knows, Flavio & Todt might strike a deal or something.

      1. I think we will see Flav back at some point but not for a long while yet.

        1. Just the small matter of over-turning that life ban…

          1. Consistency isn’t really a strong point of Formula 1 :P

          2. Life ban, there are a lot of people with a prison life sentance walking around after they only did a fist full of years.

      2. Benetton have said they wouldn’t re-enter the sport a few months ago..

  3. If Renault were to leave too I fear it might mean that F1 is in crisis. Toyota are gone, there’s a question mark above Renault, QADBAK are suspicously secretive, and I won’t be convinced that USF1 are serious until I see their car.

    The recession may be all but over but a lot of experts always said its effect on F1 would be delayed for a year or two until contracts came up for renewal. Looks like they were right.

    1. The recession isn’t over…

      1. No, but the worst of it is, most economies are growing slightly again. It peaked in late 2008/ early 09 didn’t it?

      2. Its over, at least according to the US dept of commerce or something.

        1. It usually takes time until we start feeling positive movements again as everything needs to build up confidence. Lots of areas are still in a financial mess.

        2. the dept of commerece has a very weak statement about the end being near to trick people into buying crap….it’s not over. Also, the global auto industry was on of the worst hit and will not recover for quite some time.

        3. Rule #1 from an American, NEVER TRUST THE GOVERNMENT. The fact that more jobs were lost in September (and likely October) means we’re still in a recession. People are still tightly hanging on to their money. If any of you guys believe what our government says, you’re bigger fools than Peter Windsor!!!

          1. Speak more oh wise one!..Actually you are the closest to the truth about the “recession” of anyone here talking of it.
            Companies are still laying off employees and the ones they are keeping are working harder to keep up, and they wont complain as they dont want to loose their jobs.
            This is going to last another 18months minimum.
            These stimulus packages that they are trying to use to get the economy going again arent working either.

          2. employment is a lagging variable. A recession can be over whilst unemployment is still increasing.

          3. what gives with the uncalled for cheap shot at windsor?

        4. The Germans and China called it “over” a quarter ago already

          1. So that makes it fact! Seriously, you will know when it is over because there will be more people taking big vacations and buying things they really dont need again.
            The Chinese nor the Germans have half a clue as to when it will be over especially in the US. And only after the US recovers will the rest of the worlds economies recover.

          2. The US economy grew by 3.5% last quarter.

            This recession has hit the US hardest of all. The rest of the world has recovered much sooner than the US has.

  4. The worst part about all these departures is the smug sense of self satisfaction that Im sure Max Mosley is now expressing. Probably feels totally vindicated.

    “I told you we needed a budget cap! Now look whats happened!”

    I agree with Ferrari’s estimation of the situation; the sport is no longer a viable business venture with the owners waging war against the teams (and fans).

    1. somehow I don’t think a budget cap would have made them stay.

    2. If Max really is thinking I told you so, then for once he’s right and there ain’t much anyone else can say about it

      1. I dont think so at all. If it was ever a choice between budget cap and not racing, the F1 teams (including toyota) would have known and would not have fought against it. Formula 1 SHOULD be a profitable business model for teams that participate. Its not, and there are many reasons, but budget capping would just be a band-aid on a bullet-wound.

        1. I agree that there are many other ways to improve the return on F1 investments, but surely a strict budget cap is one way to stop teams from hurting themselves and level the playing field as well.

  5. If Renault finally, as Honda, BMW & Toyota already have done, decides to leave F1 it would be fine with me. In general I think F1 was a lot more interesting back in the days where the F1 show was run by teams and not car manufactors. It was more about the sport and less politics

  6. Renault is considering leaving because they are not a private team. They are a publicly owned car manufacturer in the middle of a global recession. The board of directors demands fiscal responsibility. If the company is facing plunging car sales and the stock price has been falling they are sure not going to fund a racing team to the tune of, what?, 300/400K per year? It’s just economics. Hope they don’t pull the plug, but it looks that way right now. If they stay, they will undoubtedly move up the standings. The only teams that will outperform them will be McLaren, Brawn (probably), Red Bull, and Ferrari (maybe). Williams, no, sorry. Renault will surely outperform everyone else. Most of all, the newcomers. Should they choose to leave I would hope they remained as an engine supplier. Who would buy the team if they wanted to sell rather than just shut it down? Please don’t say David Richards. That guy is around everything for sale and never can get it together to buy. (Except Aston in which case that would’nt have gotten done except for middle eastern backing.)I remember when it was just Ferrari as the only manufacturer. We all worried what would happen to the independents as the manufacturers got involved. Now I kind of worry what will happen when all the manufacturers leave. (Except Ferrari) F1 will undoubtedly survive, but I got used to seeing the manufacturers involvement and the huge investments they all made. It really did take F1 to a new level. Can it continue to grow after they leave? Will it seem like it is going back to a bunch of smaller independents? I think Bernie will have quite the marketing job on his hands when all the manufacturers are gone and he is selling F1 to wealthy countries who have no idea what F1 is except that all the major car manufacturers are involved. Can he continue to do it on the strength alone of Ferrari? Stay tuned because I think we all are going to have the chance to find out.

    1. they are sure not going to fund a racing team to the tune of, what?, 300/400K per year?

      An F1 team for 400k — what planet are you on? In the Toyota article their expenditure was discussed at a possible 450 MILLION.

      1. Lol I hoped that was a typing error! Run an F1 team for the price of an SLR…bargain :-)

      2. Sorry Nitpicker, I meant to say MILLION. (Jeez…what a nitpicker!)

        1. nitpicket, you’ll easily get a job at the FIA. There are so many pests to be cleared off there . You’ll be doing a great humanitarian service :P

      3. Vapors. Teams do not go out of pocket for the whole 400-500 million. That is the team “budget.” When it comes time to turn tail, that’s the excuse—look at what we spent! Do you think a public company could put in its 10K: Expenses — 400Mil (F1 team)?

        They obviously recover some revenue from the endeavor though not all and some teams more than others. Red Swill makes a lot of money but do you think Mateschitz fields a team as a hobby? McLaren F1 would continue to be a profitable operation if they had to “buy” engines from BMW or whomever.

        The issue is that they failed to reach a level of success creating marketing value and corporate “goodwill” in excess of the opportunity costs of the capital committed to the team.

        1. I agree with what you say. However, I recall when Jaguar, (Ford), was getting out. The board wanted to know who the heck Edward Irvine was, and why was he making more than the CEO of the company. They may not put up all of the “budget” but they are responsible to account for where it all goes. If it begins to get too uside down, this is what happens.

          1. Well that’s a good point too. For a major firm, in a downturn, the cosmetics of certain investments and spending matter.

            But in many business, lots of key employees make more than the CEO. Is a bond trader worth his $100 million bonus? If that was the profit on his desk last year, then yes. This is much more true for certain business enterprises known as sports teams. So the complaints about certain people’s salaries in the support is nonsense.

            The irony is that the glamor and expense of F1, and the potential to burnish a bland corporate image run down by producing too many boring economy cars, is what has attraced companies like Ford, Toyota and Renault to the sport in the first place.

            So when the economy is properly back, they will back. Because no other automobile marketing platform is like F1.

            And there is no way Mercedes could get Nicole Sherzinger fortnightly to jump and clap in their garage in a clingly gown without shelling out a major six figure sum to her agent.

          2. And no wonder Ford is/was in trouble, thats what you get when your CEO doesnt understand the basic of economics. It isnt like you could grow F1 drivers on a tree, is it. They are expensive because there are so few of them.

        2. Also the rumoured figures for Toyota’s budget were at the very top, whereas Renault were said to have the smallest budget of all the manufacturers when they had there World Championship successes.

          1. DMW, you make a good point. Frankly, I care nothing of the salaries other than the talking point and the sheer hugeness of the numbers. Someone must think these guys are worth it. When I turn on the TV every other week it costs me nothing. However, when I have journeyed to GP’s…thats another story. I do agree that when the economy straightens out in a few, (or more), years most of the manufacturers could indeed be back. Now, regarding Ms. Sherzinger. Thats pretty funny. I thought the relationship thing with Lewis was what got her at all the GP’s and into the McLaren garage. I didn’t think she actually had to pay her way, but do you really think she’s getting paid for all that? Oh and by the way your description of her is right on. But, she’s easier on the eyes than the grid girls they come up with.

          2. I remember that Renault F1 actually made a profit in 05 and 06, their earnings were more than their spendings.

    2. Ferrari survive Because of F1, F1 would survive without Ferrari…..
      The manufacturers have pulled out before, and F1 still finds people willing to sell their souls to participate, because of the manufacturers, F1 became hideously expensive, without them we will likely see great ingenuity with smaller budgets, hey, who knows we might see some racing….

  7. Yeh Max should look smug and good for him, he told them and they wouldnt listen. Now its payback time.

    The sport being back in the hands of enthusiasts and engineers is a far better end result than it being in the hands of greedy useless car companys. ANyone with any handle on history knows F1 does not become weaker just becasue a manufacturer bales out. This year has already proved to be a renaissance for smaller better run teams, long may it continue.

    1. Back in the hands of engineers? Have you seen the tech regs? F1 is as much in the hands of engineers as A1GP.

  8. Kubica’s people are meant to be in talks with Mclaren. I imagine he is cheaper than Kimi but then again Anthony Hamilton has been rather complimentary about the Fin of late.
    This year has just been really unstable and the power is beginning to shift with manufacturers pulling out, ueventually the landscape will settle once evryone knows their place again. These little times of ‘crisis’ will happen every so often and the rumours surrounding Toyota and Renault have been going on for quite a while.

    1. I imagine he is cheaper than Kimi

      Lol! That’s a bland way of putting it :P

      1. I try to be nice about the drivers. Well…:P

  9. I hope Renault don’t leave, out of all the manufacturors they where the only team you really felt where racers, as well as that they’ve got definite F1 heritage and they just signed a star driver!

    The problem with all this YAY the manufacturors have gone is that McLaren and Ferrari are essentially manufacturors who will keep on with the massive budgets, whether Redbull and Brawn can keep up I don’t know but don’t expect names simular to Lotus Brabham Tyrell an Jordan or even Campos USF1 Manor and Lotushackmalaysiaproton to occasionaly pop up and be properly competative over a season as in the age of the privateer. Unless things seriously change those days is over. And proper inovation won’t come back untill the age of aero is ended and mechanics becomes the name of the game.

    Maybe a budget cap would help but I think what we need is a major deregulation in everything apart from driver saftey.

    1. And proper inovation won’t come back untill the age of aero is ended

      And when did this ‘age of aero’ begin exactly? F1 has always been about clever chassis and aerodynamic design, and that delivers plenty of innovation. Not that it makes for great racing. But if you think F1 doesn’t have ‘proper innovation’ then you’re not looking closely enough.

      1. The age of aero began with the ground effect revolution of the Lotus78 and Lotus79. When groundeffect was banned and we moved fully into the age where primary performance gains started to be made from top side aerodynamics, hurting the performance of the car behind you.

        The last proper inovations where tuned mass dampers and brake steer. Both banned, everything since has been about aero aero aero. MECHANICAL innovations, F1 has not always been about aerodynamic design some of the greatest innovations to come out of F1 have had sod all to do with aerodynamics. The most “inovative” thing to come out of this season was the double diffuser which was hardly an innovation, more of a loop hole. The FIA is turning F1 into a spec series limiting innovation and if you can’t see that then you’re not looking closely enough.

        1. Yep. Agree with you Scribe. Too much emphasis is being laid on aero. Seriously tell me how many of Adrian Newey’s or Neil Oatley’s aero designs have spilled over to road cars? No road car on this planet uses double decker diffuser :P

          None of the road cars implement F1 aero solutions. But the same cannot be said of mechanical innovations. Active suspension, ABS,damper systems, semi-auto gearbox etc have found their way into normal road cars.

          I think its high time we move away from aero & concentrate more on mech & engine issues. Even KERS has a great future. Aero should be left to Boeing & Airbus :P

          1. Agree with every word.

          2. Active suspension was used in Citroens since 50s.
            ABS was introduced in 1971 in Cadillac as an option. What the heck is a semi-automatic gearbox, there are a million of them? Do you mean flappy pedals.
            I didnt see any road car with a J damper system.

          3. just Boeing

        2. Right. Those tear-dropped Auto Union cars and the Ferraris of the pre-war era paid no heed to aerodynamics, and their engineers spent no time or money on the topic.

          Those who don’t know or care who Newey, Barnard, Oately, Gascoyne, etc. are spectators, not fans, and will never enjoy the sport until it is GP2 with slightly less restricted engines.

          1. That’s aero that actually works for road cars.

            All the stuff with wings and such doesn’t

          2. Word.
            Plus, can I add that aerodynamics was the reason independent teams could hang onto Ferrari in 70s and beat them in 80s. Some people here sound like Enzo Ferrari who said “aero is for people who cant design a powerful engine”. We all know what happened to Ferrari next, 21 years without a championship.

  10. Like Toyota, Renault was a signatory to the new Concorde Agreement, committing it to remain in F1 until the end of 2012.

    But who exactly made the signature. I do not believe the actual manufacturers did themselves. Concorde agreement is that between the FIA and its teams only, and should includes rules of the sport. Besides the team can still be blinded if they like, but the manufacturer is gone bye bye…

    It also hinted the Max Mosley’s abandoned plans for budget capping could be resurrected by new president Jean Todt:

    Toyota’s announcement demonstrates the importance of the original cost-reduction measures set out by the FIA.

    I doubt Todt will be stupid like Mosley to now create further problems to F1 by resurrecting the old Mosley saga, because it will not work and he should be smart enough to know that. Binding the teams with Concorde agreement was Mosley’s idea, a mystified man, who tried to take world law into his own hands and it shouldn’t have even been implemented, because it doesn’t apply, and it cant apply.

    1. Concorde agreement is that between the FIA and its teams only, and should includes rules of the sport.

      The Concorde Agreement is between the teams, the FIA and FOM. And of course it is signed by the manufacturers you fool — it is signed by the teams, who are owned by the manufacturer. The manufacturer is responsible for whatever commitments are made by its subsidiary companies.

      Binding the teams with Concorde agreement was Mosley’s idea

      The Agreement has also been chased down by all the teams for a number of years. All three parties involved want long-term stability and commitment, instead of the one-year agreements that have been in force until recently. So it is not all Max’s idea that is forced onto everyone else, do your research.

      1. That was one of Max’s complaints, that the Manufacturers would not themselves sign. Non of them including FIAT were prepaired to do so. They would only sign as the teams and would not offer any parent company guarantees….. that basicaly makes the signatures not worth the paper they are written on…. The teams have far more debts than assets… and without any guarantee from the parent company any of them can walk away …. the FIA can go to court but as the Teams have no money what is the point? …. It seems that BMW were actually the only ethical company here, not signing when they knew they were probablly pulling out…. Toyota and Renault must both have had at least serious doubts but signed anyway.

      2. The latest Concorde agreement was muddle up in under a month and did not include planing and preparation of years you talk about. No agreement can bind a car manufacturing company or any company to compete in any sport, that is outside of the jurisdiction of the FIA, even if Mosley wanted and tried very hard to implement it. Concorde agreements between the sport governing body and its teams should include rules relating to the sport itself and rules issued by the “sport” governing body. And yes it was Mosley’s plan to take more control, have you been sleeping for the past couple of years? Even if it was written in the Concorde agreement, it doesn’t apply, just wait and you’ll see. If an international company was inescapably contractually bound to compete in a sport, which in reality isn’t possible, then im sure they wouldn’t have pulled out. It doesn’t say anywhere that the latest Concorde agreement was in fact signed by the manufacturers themselves, none of us could be sure exactly who signed what and how. So stop talking **** #$%^head

    2. Yeah. We don’t need Mosley’s “dead” zombies to be resurrected. Those sinister ideas can go into oblivion with him, if he leaves of course. But I highly doubt it. Ferrari’s press statement says it all. They’ve totally blamed Mosley for the Toyota debacle. What F1 needs now is stability, but Mosley’s overshadowing presence at the FIA will lead only to further complications.

      The best thing to happen to the sport is, is Mosley & Todt fall out. That would set thing in order :P

      1. I don’t usualy agree with the bile that comes out of those Ferrari statements but I couldn’t agree more with what they said on Lotus, Colin Chapman’s rpm is climbing ever higher.

  11. How come all these smalltime outfits are queing up to get into F1 (Superfund, Stefan GP, N. Technology, USF1) but massive manufacturers can’t afford to stay in?

    Big manufacturers dropping ia worry for the future of F1, so it makes the decision to deny a place to quality outfits like Prodrive/Aston Martin and Lola look even more silly!

  12. I personally think Renault are already gone.

    Their shareholders have no doubt heard about how other car companies have left the sport, and there is no way that they will accept a drag on Renault’s bottom line when their competitors have taken this step to save money.

    It will be hard to justify, and even harder to tolerate the noize that those pushing for their withdrawal are sure to make. Dont forget, also, that as a publicly traded company, Renault’s board faces the very real threat of litigation from shareholders if they are alleged to be squandering company money on an expensive hobby while the company is struggling financially.

    1. uuugghhhh, your probably right. Its promising that Renault haven’t quit with immediate like Toyota but this is the kind of thing I’ve been trying to block from my mind.

      denial I hear they call it.

    2. HounslowBusGarage
      5th November 2009, 21:07

      Absoluteyl right, Minus Two.

  13. We’re going back to the early 90’s!! Remember the Ford adverts: “Half the Formula 1 grid is powered by Cosworth…”
    I agree with Steph90, it’s a natural ebb and flow. It probably follows the prospects of the world economy, albeit losely.
    If Renault quit tomorrow, it’s not good for the sport but I don’t see it as being a disaster. And maybe it’s worth mentioning that nobody is tipping them to win anything next year so it’s not going to change the course of the Championship in 2010.
    And whilst I’m at it: their car has been so ugly, both in livery and in shape, over the past two or three seasons. It won’t be a huge loss from that particular perspective.

    1. We’re going back to the early 90’s!!

      I wouldn’t mind, but in the early 90’s F1 did not have a pair of guys exhausting F1 revenues.

      *Tyre Manufacturers: Michelin, Bridgestone
      *Circuits: Silverstone (in two days), France, USA (and some more to come)
      *Manufacturers: Honda, BMW, Toyota, Renault (quite possibly)…

      And not to talk about Team managers.

      F1 looks like a morgue in this days…

      1. F1 looks like a morgue in this days…

        Sad :( but true.

        1. Ah come on, it’s not that bad. The perfect F1 would be 13 teams who exist to go racing in F1 and nothing else, with independent engine builders supplying the majority and some manufacturer presence to supply the others with engines.
          This would be more sustainable for the future because with this situation, the only thing the teams would need to protect is the F1 team, because that’s all they would have!
          And guess what? This is the situation F1 finds itself in right now.

  14. Oh..BTW,,I read yesterday the Kubica’s manager is making frantic phone calls to McLaren.

    1. Where? any links?

      1. Mp4 fellow fanatic Rich said it was on f1 scoop twitter if I’m not mistaken

  15. I’m not sure what’ll happen if there are very few manufacturers left- more private companies that only want to race which is good (but that said look at some of the new teams and the doubts they have had surrounding them, with tight budgets they can drop out just as easily) however if the cosworth engine does prove to be less strong compared to the mercedes/ferrari/possibly renault units then won’t they naturally filter to behind the big teams?
    Possibly the big change will be the political clout as now most teams will seem to be more ‘neutral’ with the Cossies or that is what Mosley hopes/hoped.
    RBR were meant to be near signing another engine deal with Renault so there going to have to wait and see what happens.
    Personally, I would prefer it if Renault stayed. I like teams with history and who want to win. New teams have to come along and challenge and bring new competition but the traditional teams bring a lot of soul and inspiration to the sport. They tend to be more commited and know what to expect wheras new teams can be a bit more flimsy. Whatever happens F1 will go on and continue to do well.

    1. Most people seem to forget that Toyota was the ONLY manufacturer team and now they have gone…. all the rest always were just glorified sponsers…. they ALL bought a priveteer team and rebadged it as their own …except FIAT who kept the Ferrari name (and Ferrari were a race team before they produced road cars)…. They often make the engines… but getting engines has never been a real problem in F1… and Mercedes didn’t even do that, they just bought an F1 engine business….. That I think is half the problem… they think of them selves as Manufacturers but in reality are little more than sponsers… and sponsership is hard to find at the moment…. Priveteer teams make money out of F1…. and the Manufactureres loose it… big time!

      1. I agree totally with the above

      2. spelling aside…:) spot on

  16. I thought after Renault had signed Kubica for 2010 it was a sign that they would still be in F1 next year but the latest announcement that they will decide their F1 future by the end of the year shows just how shaky the future of Renault F1 is.

    I wonder what has changed since they signed Kubica, have they had trouble finding a new title sponsor and so the thought of footing the whole bill has made Renault HQ a bit wary.

    Before Briatore was banned from F1, the rumours were that Renault would sell the team to him and just remain as an engine supplier, so I wonder if Renault would prefer this option if they could only find a suitable buyer.

    And then you have Red Bull who were close to extending their engine deal with Renault.

    1. And how shaky is Kubica’s 2010 season now? He must be feeling a little grumpy, methinks.

  17. It’s too bad FOTA didn’t move forward with their plans for a breakaway series. Car company teams closing down, more interesting and historic venues off the calendar. Darkness is spreading. All of this could’ve been avoided. What is F1 coming to? Looks like the end to me. Honda, BMW, and now Toyota can take their marketing dollars back to the States and do IndyCar, for now. As for venues, now we’re into the State Sponsored-Tilke track era. What’s next? The Grand Prix of Egypt? And with Bridgestone leaving, another cost-cutting/ grip reducing opportunity looms on the horizon. As for Renault, it’s back to the street corner dealing speed.

    1. Damn right, I think the breakaway series, with no Bernie, FIA and CVC is exactly what is needed and the sooner the better.

      Have a premiership style organisation with each team taking an equal portion of the TV money.

      Cicuits should NOT be charged for having the GP turn up, a portion of the money they earn should be profit, places like Silverstone are buisnesses after all, another portion should go into young drivers programmes an the rest can go into redoveloping stands and such like.

      What reason is their for CVC and Bernie, NONE, they’re leaches on our sport providing boring tracks and nothing else that anyone wants. This is a sport and it shouldn’t be run for a profit in the way it currently is. The teams should roughly get the money they need to get stronger every year and they can make the big bucks of sponsership. The circuits SHOULDN’T HAVE TO PAY, maybe they can donate towards traveling costs.

      2012 is when the new Concord agreement runs out and the teams are free to leave, I watch in hope.

  18. Honda, BMW and Toyota. some of the heavyweights in car manufacturing. if you’re an average consumer, you would certainly look at the segment of the cars that these brands are in. if you want an economically rational (cheap but still decent) car, you can compare small Hondas, downbranded BMW’s, most of the Toyotas to the Renaults. like a Clio or Megane or whatever, and their counterparts.

    you don’t compare a Renault street car to a Ferrari or a Mercedes. these are premium brands, not exactly mass production, and a totally different target audience. with the exit of the 3 named mass-car manufacturers, there is absolutley noone the Renault could compare itself on the current grid. even if they are at front, what’s the point?

    their commitment to F1 considered always more marketing than sporting aspects. “win today, sell tomorrow” – or more precisely, beat your opponents, and sell more cars than they do.

    the “great economic crysis” is a perfect event, you can blame everything on it. “ah, it’s a hard time, everyone’s downsizing, we have to get rid of the F1 department, bla-bla”.

    my other theory is, that Renault and Alonso meant the same. when Renault took over Benetton in April 2000, Briatore already knew who will be driving for the team in long run. Alonso was running in F3000 by that time, in 2001 he became the test driver and drove for Minardi, in 2002 Renault returned, and from 2003 it was Alonso who kept them flying. now there’s no Alonso any more, his sponsors left as well, they don’t really want to build it up again from scratch with Kubica or whoever they sign.

  19. Penelope Pitstop
    5th November 2009, 20:26

    Renault deserves to lose Kubica now, regardless of what they eventually decide. He is too talented a driver to be stuck with a team that doesn’t know where it will be in 2 months, much less several years into the future. Glock, if he was indeed in negotiations, also deserves better (I think it was impossible for him to prove his worth in a Toyota, and frankly, I didn’t think a Renault would do him justice, either).

    1. Agreed. By the time the Renault management decides which path to choose, there’ll be no decent places for those two talented youngsters to go. Make a choice quick or let them go for the sake of the sport.

  20. The only reason Renault have not announced their withdrawal is to give their lawyers time to go over the agreement to look for wriggle room out of the contract they signed to stay on in the sport to 2012.

    And if they do decide to pull out it seems to me that they will have successfully made a complete mockery of the recent suspended pathetic slap on the wrists they just received for blatant cheating as it will amount to absolutely zero, if it did not already. Bah humbug…

  21. Funny that Renault should sign up a driver before they even know if they’re gonna bother to make a car for him to drive.

    What is the legal position of the FIA anyway I mean what happens to the contract they just signed with Toyota for the next 3 seasons, are they gonna get some dosh outta them?

  22. Kieths drivers prediction was great, but anyone looking for a real challenge should try to predict the 2010 teams and thier drivers…ha!

  23. hoho just read the Ferrari statement, now there’s two fingers to the FIA if I ever saw it but what does it mean now that Jean Todt is El Presidente.

    I have to say my own thoughts are more along the lines of Ferrari’s than the FIA’s, it’s the FIA’s agenda that has led us to where we are. Although I do wonder if Nelson Piquet Jr effectively brought about the end of Renault F1 as we know it today.

  24. Mike "the bike" Schumacher
    5th November 2009, 22:36

    Is 2010 going to have the greatest number of new teams in f1 ever?

    1. No way, races with 35-40 cars were common in 80s. And looks like they drop like flies everyday.

  25. It should be very interesting watching how Briatore’s case against the FIA plays out. I’ve said before that I’m no fan of the man, but his contributions to the sport and history of F1 are undeniable, just as the stench of the rot coming from the FIA can’t cast aside either. I would haveno problem with Flabio succeeding in overturning the FIA’s decision.

    That brings up the point of undeniable guilt and what a reasonable punishment should or should have been, but if he can navigate himself through theses shark waters, Briatore is certainly rich and connected enough to take over Renault’s F1 operations. But can anyone explain to me how he made his vast fortune? With “those” NY condos and “that” yacht, the man is clearly swimming in it. He couldn’t possibly have made that much from being a team principle, selling some engines, skimming driver salaries and running a feeder series. I don’t get it.

    Either way, I get the sense that he has unfinished business in F1 and with Max gone and Bernie never seeing a deal that wasn’t worth breaking, who knows?

  26. I am disappointed that the grid isn’t going to be as full as first anticipated. Hopefully they let BMW back in and maybe even some of the teams that weren’t accepted earlier. The more teams on track the better.

  27. 2 years and the car companies will be cashed up again and ready to consider re-entering f1.

    also, the mention of only 2 car manufacturers left… wouldn’t there be 3? forgive me if i’m wrong, but Lotus that is entering, is a car manufacturer… backed by proton the parent company of lotus… kinda like fiat backs ferrari f1, fiat being the parent company of ferrari…

  28. sounds like they are in for 2010

    After the departure from Toyota, speculation fired up that Renault would leave Formula One as well. Renault F1 Managing Director Jean-Francois Caubet, however, inisted in the French newspaper ‘L’Equipe’ that the team has an approved working budget for 2010 and that the outfit will race next season.

    Caubet said: “We have already contracted our drivers, had our budget approved and are enrolled in the world championship. Season 2010 has begun already.”

    1. Penelope Pitstop
      6th November 2009, 7:00

      That story made me optimistic, too, but I’ve also heard that the interview was conducted in Abu Dhabi, before Renault’s top-secret conclave.

  29. The season may be over but the dramas are not.

  30. OT Keith, can you specify the credit for the gorgeous picture you used in the heading of the article?

  31. If Renault do go can they sell the team back to who they brought it off so we can have Benetton or at a stretch Toleman back on the grid.

  32. F1 race. Please inform me no. of minimum and maximum competitors participated so far. Thanks.

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