Renault lose interest in F1 despite strong season

2010 F1 season review

Robert Kubica, Renault, Monte-Carlo, 2010

Robert Kubica, Renault, Monte-Carlo, 2010

Renault enjoyed a resurgence in form in 2010 – but it seems that wasn’t enough to keep its parent company interested.

Today’s news that Renault has sold its remaining shares in the team to Genii Capital and Group Lotus have bought into them, signals a further dilution of Renault’s Formula 1 activity.

What a pity, for the distinctive yellow-and-black cars enjoyed such a strong 2010.

Renault team stats 2010

Best race result (number) 2nd (1)
Best grid position (number) 2nd (1)
Non-finishes (mechanical/other) 8 (5/3)
Laps completed (% of total) 1934 (85.65%)
Laps led (% of total) 0 (0%)
Championship position (2009) 5th (8th)
Championship points (2009*) 163 (74)
*using 2010 system

Question marks hung over Renault’s future at the end of last season as the team lost Fernando Alonso to Ferrari and saw Flavio Briatore and Pat Symonds depart over the Singapore 2008 affair.

A reorganisation saw Eric Boullier take over as team principal – he later became managing director in Bob Bell’s place as well.

While Robert Kubica was signed in October last year the identity of his team mate wasn’t confirmed until the R30 was launched at the end of January.

Having ended 2009 at or near the back of the grid, the new car propelled the team forward. They made huge strides in aerodynamic development, reflected in the seemingly endless stream of new front wing configurations. It’s F-duct and exhaust-blown diffuser executions were particularly effective, in marked contrast to the likes of Mercedes.

Armed with a much better car than he had the previous year, Kubica went giant-killing. He split the Red Bulls on the front row at Monte-Carlo and brought the car home on the podium.

He was up at the sharp end again at Spa as the car ran its new F-duct for the first time. A botched pit stop, caused by Kubica struggling to get his car stopped in the wet pit lane, cost them a shot at victory.

Kubica was quick at Suzuka too and worked his way up to second at the start. Unfortunately it soon transpired the team hadn’t sufficiently tightened his wheel nuts and he was fortunate to avoid a huge crash.

Even so he was pleased enough with the team’s progress to sign an extension on his contract in July, taking him up to 2012.

It was clear from pre-season testing that Renault’s eggs were in the Kubica basket, as they shuffled test dates around to get him as much dry running in the car as possible.

That made life more difficult for rookie team mate Vitaly Petrov, who had a season of mixed results.

Inevitably he was some way of Kubica’s pace – the gap between them in qualifying was up to a second even in the latter stages of the season. There were quite a few crashes as well, including Suzuka and Korea (race), Monaco (qualifying), Shanghai and Catalunya (practice).

But it all came good in the final round of the season as he out-qualified Kubica (for only the second time all year) and raced to a strong sixth, incurring Alonso’s wrath on the way.

With Kubica in fifth place Renault’s decision to hold a fresh set of engines back for the final race paid off with their best result of the year.

It should be onward and upward for Renault in 2011. But it remains to be seen is exactly what they’re going to be called, for at the time of writing they’re one of two teams that believe their name to be ‘Lotus’.

Renault’s 2010 season in pictures

2010 F1 season review

Browse all 2010 F1 season review articles

Image ?? Renault/LAT, Bridgestone/Ercole Colombo, Pirelli

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47 comments on Renault lose interest in F1 despite strong season

  1. Victor. said on 8th December 2010, 18:38

    God the R30′s livery was beautiful.

  2. Calum said on 8th December 2010, 18:40

    My respect for Renault drops, after last year, I thought they were just going to get their heads down and be a traditional race team. It looked good because the sell of team shares to Genii left the Renault technology, but cut ties from the corporate side of Renault that let them down in the past (1970′s Prost…). Then they sell the final shares, and are no longer a true factory team anymore. It is a shame, then to add insult to injury – Lotus cars decides to copy succesful Lotus Racing by title sponsoring Genii F1.

    Does anyone find it ironic that Lotus Racing were heavily slated as ‘Proton F1.’ Now we have a tru Proton Lotus F1, with the car company paying for the Renault title sponsorship.

  3. Deurmat said on 8th December 2010, 19:08

    Today we lose one off the sports legendary team, only to have been replaced by one that claims to be a legendary team. Sad day for F1 if you ask me.

  4. I really loved Renault so I’m sad that this has happened which is a bit daft because the mechanics and pit wall will probably still be the same and it’s still the same engineers but it’s just a deal where Bahar has control and is obsessive with his Lotus dream.

    • US_Peter (@us_peter) said on 8th December 2010, 20:00

      As my grandma would say Bahar should “take a long walk off a short cliff.”

      • Todfod (@todfod) said on 8th December 2010, 21:16

        I share the same sentiment as Steph. Its kinda sad to see Renault sell their team and exit. But I guess it was just a matter of time. They looked very keen to bow out after the whole crashgate scandal, and after Fernando left they were just focusing on finding a suitable replacement and getting the team into better shape to make a profitable exit. Bahar just showed up at the right time for them.. but the sale looked inevitable at the end of last year.

        • I don’t regret Renault’s exist that much. They clearly struggled to be committed for necessary spending. I think for any ordinary car manufacturer like Renault spending in F1 is considered a cost, not investment like for sport cars manufacturers.
          That’s no coincidence that only the latter are motivated to spend and to remain in F1.

          • zecks said on 8th December 2010, 23:16

            Renault not having a full factory team is not the end of the world. Let’s not forget that renault still invests massively in motorsport generally. Next season there will be formula renault 1.6, 2.0, 3.5 and GP2 engines as well as F1 engines for red bull, lotus and er lotus.

          • I hope they stay as an engine manufacturer long term, I think that’s were a lot of F1′s history exists.

  5. I’ll be missing Renault too :/

  6. dyslexicbunny said on 8th December 2010, 19:54

    Such a shame. I really loved their livery on the track. While it’ll be a lot of the same same people, the team is going not going to be the same. A shame.

  7. Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 8th December 2010, 19:59

    For me, Renault will be just another manufacturer who took the glory in the good times and left when the going got tough. Renault haven’t left after a good 2010 – this was Renault in name only. Renault’s long gone already.

  8. If Kubica gets a more competitive car we shall have a very interesting season, enough said.

  9. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 8th December 2010, 23:13

    But it all came good in the final round of the season as he out-qualified Kubica (for only the second time all year) and raced to a strong sixth, incurring Alonso’s wrath on the way.

    Don’t forget China, Turkey and Hungary.

  10. wasiF1 (@wasif1) said on 9th December 2010, 2:10

    That yellow car will be missed by many. If they do sale their stake does that mean that they are no longer controlling the F1 project but only the engine department?

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 9th December 2010, 9:49

      Exactly. It will stop costing them loads of money, instead they will receive money for the engines, KERS and tech support, but will keep good exposure on 6 cars.

  11. Everytime I read about Alonso being angry and losing the championship brings a smile to my face ‘…incurring Alonso’s wrath’…It’s like poetry.
    Now delusional Aloso fans, don’t attack facebook page…lol

  12. Funkyf1 (@funkyf1) said on 9th December 2010, 10:41

    Yes it’s a sad day, another one bites the dust! I loved the ever evolving r30 and was looking forward to seeing the team attack the coming season. Presumeably it will all be the same crew and “the artist formerly known as Renault” will continue it’s resurgence.
    From Renault’s point of view, they now have 6 engines on the grid ( as dominant as Mercedes ) so there is no need to fund a entire team, which in the past not only cost them money, but a lot of negative PR after incidents such as spygate.
    One question I’m interested in being answered is now that they have a ton of cash behind them, are they going to retain Petrov?

  13. Fixy (@fixy) said on 9th December 2010, 14:41

    I don’t like when a team leaves F1, especially if they are historic, and have won a lot. If it was 2003, when Renault was a new-Benetton, then OK, but now, after having won 2 titles, and having returned to its original colours I thought it would have stayed.

  14. Marc Connell said on 9th December 2010, 19:43

    after seeing what this team did after what happened the year before im sad to see them go. There not as big as mclaren/ferrari but f1 wont be the same without the Renault name

  15. Prof Kirk said on 10th December 2010, 0:40

    I have been in the market for a new car, and after the impression that Robert Kubica and the Renault F1 team gave me in the 2010 season I have been seriously considering a Renault Clio Sport, and for me this is a BIG thing seeing as french cars are just not where I would ever put my wallet. But after becoming aware of Renaults ‘loss of interest’ I am once again turned off the aspect of buying a Renault… Now I will have to start looking for Golf Gti’s and Alfa mito’s again.

    • ex Racer said on 10th December 2010, 8:28

      I wouldn’t buy Renault, the best mass production car on the market is Lexus an than Toyota.

      For the car owners those cars are safe, reliable, comfortable, trouble free, and cheap to maintain, and stink free (no Diesels).

      The production technology those days means plenty of electronics and plenty of plastics- and both fail as all the way to bank.

      What else should we look for if we need a comfortable and economical transportation?

      I own a Lexus with V8 4.0 l and will not trade for Mercedes or BMW!

      Most important the Merc and BMW fall a part and are very expensive to maintain!

      Any other brand I would consider would be Porche Cayene, but that is really a waste of doe!

      I would never buy AUDI and I would not like to support the ex Nazzi Technology.

      French and Italian cars are falling a part.

      Jaguar never was reliable and very expensive.

      I like Aston Martin and Bugatti
      but I wouldn’t like invest and buy just to drive a Korean, Chinese, Hindu or top of the VolksWagen brand:)

      Then I would prefer American wheels, but LeXus is the sole intelligent choice.!

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