Renault could follow BMW out of F1

UPDATE Renault has announced a loss of $3.8bn for the first half of 2009. The company says that it is "showing resilience" an preparing "for the post-crisis period with the mass marketing of zero-emission vehicles from 2011, the expansion of the entry-level range, consolidation of our presence in emerging markets and a drive to accelerate and expand synergies with Nissan."

The Formula 1 program obviously comes under the development of emerging markets.

Renault says that its revenues are down 23.7% compared to a year ago, but this figure apparently hides a dramatic improvement between the first and second quarters in which Renault's 30.8% drop in Q1 improved to 16.9% in Q2.

07/30/09 Fears now surround Renault's future in Formula One after BMW Sauber confirmed they will be pulling out of the sport at the end of the season.

The FIA made it clear the team's withdrawal could have been avoided if they had been allowed to implement planned cost cuts, and then fuelled rumors suggesting another manufacturer could follow.

Toyota and Mercedes-Benz have confirmed they will remain in F1 in light of new financial restrictions due to come into force, leaving the fate of Renault uncertain.

Although Toyota's future has long been the centre of speculation, a Toyota spokesman stated: "Through cost reduction we will continue our Formula One activities. Our situation remains unchanged."

As for Mercedes-Benz, a 40% stakeholder in McLaren and engine supplier to Brawn GP and Force India, a spokesman said: "We regret the Formula One withdrawal of BMW. This decision does not have any influence on our Formula One engagement."

Renault, though, are facing a major shortfall in their budget as primary sponsors ING are pulling out after this season.

Their public image took another battering on Sunday when stewards announced a suspension for the race in Valencia on August 23 after Fernando Alonso's car dangerously shed a tire during the Hungarian Grand Prix.

Further question marks hang over Renault as there are rumors team boss Flavio Briatore has been attempting to raise the finances to keep them in F1 as an independent.

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