Renault to make announcement ‘before the end of the year’

November 5, 2009

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Will Renault move back to being an engine supplier rather than a constructor?

Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn was quoted by Reuters as saying that Renault will make an announcement regarding their future in F1 ‘before the end of the year’. The fact that he has made such a comment suggests that it will not be ‘carry on as normal’, as Renault have already said they plan to do this, so why make another statement?

It can only mean two things, either they will withdraw as Toyota have done, which would be in direct breach of their signing of the 2009 Concorde Agreement, which committed them until the end of 2012. Toyota clearly didn’t feel they had to adhere to the Concorde Agreement and neither will Renault, if they make a decision to pull out, they will pull out. If Renault do leave F1 it will be far more devastating than the loss of Toyota, Renault have a strong history in F1 (as did Honda) and have also committed to supply Red Bull Racing with engines for 2010.

My theory, as suggested in my post of 3 November, is that Renault will at some point follow Mercedes down the engine supply route. This would mean that they keep their engine design and manufacture operation at Viry-Châtillon in the southern suburbs of Paris, but not their UK operation in Enstone. They do not need to make an instant decision, but it is clear that they have little additional sponsorship for 2010 and so the team will be probably a bigger drain on Renault HQ than it has been in the past. It may well be that they do a Brawn/Honda with Bob Bell and his team of dedicated staff taking over the chassis operation and Renault continuing to supply them with engines.

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