Q&A with Renault’s Carlos Tavares
At Monza Renault announced that the partnership with Red Bull has now been extended for a further five seasons. The company’s recently appointed chief operating officer Carlos Tavares speaks about the new deal and Renault’s Formula 1 involvement.
What are your personal feelings on this announcement ?
Tavares: It is very important. First and foremost, it is a sign of a reciprocated confidence between two world champions. We have decided to commit to working together for a period of time not often seen in Formula 1. I would say this is a very stable and far-reaching undertaking. We know that in this world, the stability of high level technical teams working together produces results. We also know that there is a very driven creativity in Red Bull’s technical team, particularly in aerodynamics. We believe that the engine isn’t simply a power unit or a means of producing torque, it can also have characteristics that can allow for formidable aerodynamic packaging. So this collaboration has the dual aim of wanting to stay as the best engine in the field, but also to make sure its characteristics allow the chassis team to optimize the chassis aerodynamics.
In 2012 you will supply Williams in addition to Lotus Renault GP, Team Lotus and Red Bull Racing. What is your strategic plan ?
Tavares: Our strategy hasn’t changed. We have refocused our operations to supplying engines. I am very happy with this as something I am trying to achieve with the teams within Renault is that we concentrate on the essentials and not spread ourselves too thinly. The heart of a car is its engine so I am very happy that we are focusing on this element. I think we are doing very well in this area and the results speak for themselves. That four teams are coming to us to supply their engines and we have the ability to satisfy them is very positive. If we have to supply more partners I would not be opposed to it. As we have more partners we dilute our costs. I think it is very important for Renault to have a significant market share for our voice to be heard. Our teams at Viry-Châtillon are more than capable of supplying four teams so I do not see any reason for us to change our strategy.
On a technical level, 2014 will see F1 return to the Turbo engines, a technology Renault brought to the fore years ago. What are your thoughts on this future ?
Tavares: I am confident. Our technical teams will see in this new challenge successfully. Downsizing and turbos are intrinsic parts of Renault’s expertise and we know how to design engines that are smaller but still have a good performance and fuel consumption. Therefore I am not worried – I am confident and following the work that our teams in Viry are producing very closely. I know they are pushed by the chassis teams and notably by Red Bull Racing, which is a supplementary motivating factor as there is everything to play for.
At the end of May this year, Reuters reported that French car maker Renault (RENA.PA) appointed as chief operating officer Carlos Tavares, head of the Americas at sister company Nissan Motor (7201.T).
From July 1, Tavares will oversee Renault’s growth strategy focused on developing electric vehicles and new markets. He will also develop sites in France, the car maker said. He replaces Patrick Pelata, who resigned in April following a case of alleged industrial espionage which turned into a fraud investigation.
Tavares, 53, a Portuguese national who speaks fluent French and English, spent 23 years at Renault in engineering and program management roles before moving to Nissan in 2004.
Renault and Nissan Chief Executive Carlos Ghosn said in a statement: “His talent and experience will be key strengths for Renault and for all its employees as we go into the first year of our Renault 2016 — Drive the Change program.”