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Will Renault be forced to sell F1 team? Renault's troubles in Formula 1 may be weighing heavily on the company at the moment while it waits for the FIA World Council meeting in December, but the company still has to look ahead, even if there is a threat that the F1 team could be thrown out of the World Championship by the FIA.
Last summer McLaren is reported to have narrowly escaped a two-year ban from F1 during its espionage hearing before the FIA World Council and Renault has already admitted to things which were never proved against McLaren. Having fined McLaren $100m and taken away all of the team's 2007 points, the FIA cannot easily allow Renault to get away with a lesser punishment without stirring up questions about the fairness and the credibility of the federation.
Thus Renault must consider the worst case scenario which could be some form of ban. The team could, in theory, be sold to a third party and continue to compete under a new identity.
Such a maneuver would not be unprecedented. When Renault was privatized in 1996 it announced almost immediately that the F1 engine program would be sold to Mecachrome. The F1 engines were then sold to customer teams via a company called Super Performance Competition Engineering (SPCE), owned by Flavio Briatore, and these were raced as Supertec V10s. Renault was paid to do development work, Mecachrome was paid by SPCE and it charged the teams for their engine supplies. Thus Renault kept the core of its engineering team together and was ready to return to F1 when the decision was taken to buy the Benetton team in 2000, although Renault did not begin to race under its own flag until 2002. A third party could be found to "baby-sit" the team for a period. More at Grandprix.com
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