Renault planning its exit strategy from F1? (Update)


Carlos Ghosn

(GMM) Renault has still not ruled out quitting formula one altogether.

On a visit to the Formula E race in London at the weekend, the French carmaker's CEO Carlos Ghosn said the only certainty is that Renault is fully committed to the all-electric series.

As for F1, it depends entirely on Renault's "return on investment", he said.

"We have commitments in formula one and we will honor them," Ghosn is quoted in a French-language AFP news report.

He is referring to Red Bull and Toro Rosso, and Renault's contracts to keep supplying them with the troubled 'power unit' into 2016.

But beyond that, the door – and the exit – is very much open.

"F1 is a very interesting discipline," said Ghosn. "It is very famous, many people follow it, and when you develop engines, you have the privilege of being forgotten when you win and highlighted when you lose."

It is rumored Renault could therefore move to improve its image by buying a team, and Ghosn admitted: "If that makes sense, yes. We are not ruling out any option."

He said simply staying an engine supplier is "less likely".

And Ghosn said quitting altogether is a third option, and one that depends on F1 improving its "governance".

He said F1 "must follow a more rational path, where those who invest money and make the show can get a fair return on those investments".

"If it was up to us, the decision would already have been taken," added Ghosn.


Cyril Abiteboul

Renault F1 Managing Dir Cyril Abiteboul said that the team has "opened discussions" with F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone over its future in F1, and has "ruled out making an early exit," according to Rencken & Barretto of AUTOSPORT.

The French manufacturer is "considering whether to leave the sport, remain as an engine supplier or create its own works outfit again when its supply deal with Red Bull and Toro Rosso finishes" at the end of '16. Renault Chair & CEO Carlos Ghosn, Renault Sport F1 President CEO Jerome Stoll and Abiteboul met with Ecclestone in Monaco to talk about its position in F1.

Abiteboul: "I think the meeting was of use. It is no secret we have a binding contract until the end of 2016 so, firstly, it was to reassure everyone that we will honor that contract. There is no doubt." Part of "the reason behind Renault reassessing its position" is that it "wants to ensure" it is maximizing its brand exposure.

Abiteboul said, "We're looking at the return on our investment, at the value we get. We want more value for what we are doing in the sport." Autosport [Editor's Note: They are getting negative value out of F1 by getting destroyed week-in-and-week-out by Mercedes and Ferrari – hence their brand looks inferior. ]

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