Where do Renault go from here?
September 25, 2009
The news that both Dutch bank ING and Spanish insurance company Mutua Madrilena have pulled their sponsorship of Renault F1 Team with immediate effect goes well beyond a financial blow for the team. It underlines the link between reputational damage and commercial viability. It seems increasingly unlikely that Renault will have the kind of budget they would like for next year and so will either be faced with massive restructuring to drive down costs or a change in strategy. There is talk of Alan Prost getting involved, certainly he would be a potential beacon for sponsorship, but his track record as a Team Principal with Prost GP is not exactly glowing, and it could be a case of out of the frying pan…
It was interesting to see in the documents relating to ‘Crashgate’ a letter from Sir Frank Williams underlining his teams view that Renault are an important player in F1, and more specifically an important supplier of engines. The fact that Williams are currently using Toyota engines underlines where they are now looking for their new supply. So one option for Renault is to go back to good old days when they just made engines for F1 teams and didn’t carry the reputational risks of running their own F1 team which crashgate has so clearly illuminated.