The Leadership of Renault F1

September 18, 2009

David Richards enjoys a cigar and a chat with Keke Rosberg as Team Principal of Honda, back in Imola 2004

David Richards enjoys a cigar and a chat with Keke Rosberg as Team Principal of BAR/Honda, back in Imola 2004

On the assumption that the Renault F1 team will not be banned from F1 at the World Motorsport Council hearing on Monday, the team now face the challenge of finding a new Team Principal. Arguably the biggest gap to fill will be that of Pat Symonds whose understanding of race strategy and tactics was immense, however there are many very capable technical people within Renault F1 and therefore this role is most likely to be filled from within. The Team Principal or CEO role is a bigger challenge. The Renault board member responsible for the team, Bernard Rey, could take this on, but this is unlikely to be a long term solution – and Renault have signed the Concorde agreement up until the end of the 2012 season. There aren’t many individuals who could step in and take the team forward both technically and financially, Mario Theissen may be looking to stay in F1, but he is strong in the technical side which isn’t the area where Renault really have a gap –and he will probably remain a BMW man through and through so the cultural fit would be problematic. Another name which has been mentioned is that of David Richards, head of Prodrive (based in Banbury – so not too far away from Renault’s Enstone headquarters) and chairman of Aston Martin. Richards has managed the team back in the Benetton days, and was also Team Principal of BAR/Honda. He has the commercial and negotiation skills that the team need. He may also be interested in taking over the team should Renault decide to pull out, Aston Martin having made one of the unsuccessful bids to the FIA earlier in the year. Of course David Richards has plenty of other things to keep him busy, however this could be the opportunity he has been waiting for to get back into F1.

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