Redline: Renault’s future is positive?

Jonathan Noble over at Motorsport ran a piece about Renault and it’s long-term outlook. It’s been a question mark since last year with the tumult the company faced regarding the ousted CEO, Carlos Ghosn, and the major management restructure.

When you couple all of that with Renault’s first loss in 10 years, largely born from difficulties Nissan is facing which has dragged Renault down with it, you can understand why the rumors persist.

When you take those two challenges and gently fold in the lack of performance and forward progress the Renault F1 team has made since returning to F1, the entire program has to be in consideration when Renault announced last year that they would take a deep look into its operations and reduce costs.

It’s a nice piece and I encourage you to read Jonathan’s piece here. However, I have taken the entirety of team boss Cyril Abiteboul’s quotes and placed them in naked contrast to the narrative Jonathan expertly provided. I was curious to see if this was a management statement in a financial report, what would it truly imply. Is Jonathan’s headline, Renault’s F1 future now safer, says Abiteboul, correct? It’s absolutely 100% from Jonathan’s standpoint but is it from Cyrils?

Cyril Abiteboul:

“On Renault, I guess the main development is the fact that we have a confirmation of the new governance structure finally.

“It’s been a number of evolutions, like in F1. But now in Luca de Meo we have a clear CEO. He will not join before July, but at least we have a date and a name.

Negative Camber
Negative Camber
One presumes Cyril is suggesting that the July date has kicked the can down the road a bit and suggests that the team and program are not in immediate danger of being rolled up as the new boss doesn’t start until mid-year.

“In addition to that, the single most important piece of information, whether you got it or not, is the fact that Clotilde Delbon current acting CEO will remain as deputy CEO when de Meo arrives. That’s very important.

“It means there will be a continuity of the governance, continuity also of the decisions, which means that everything that we’re discussing today with Mrs Delbos will be valid even when de Meo arrives.”

Negative Camber
Negative Camber
This is an interesting comment that suggests the temporary CEO will remain and ensure the new CEO doesn’t do anything daft. That the new CEO, regardless of how they feel about F1, will be guided to continue the program. If true, that’s an interesting position for the new CEO to be entering their role under.

“Delbos is also a CFO of the company,” he said. “She’s also very naturally driven by figures. To look at F1 from a financial perspective it’s a cost, but it’s also an asset. And it’s an investment.

“Any way you look, it is pointing in the right direction. Audience exposure or market share [is going up]. But also costs, with a prize fund that will be better, a budget cap that will be better, and engine regulations that stay stable.

“Anywhere you look the figures are healthy and going in the right direction. So I’ve every reason to believe that, in principle, we are in it for the long-term.”

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This is a very interesting presentation of how he is selling the 2021 regulation changes to management. He’s positioning the stable hybrid engine that is remaining and the cost-cap as reducing cost and justifying the marketing benefits. IF the CFO is shrewd, will she see it that way and will the new CEO?

Alain Prost:

“It is always a concern for sure, especially being a big constructor and also we cannot hide all the problems with the president who left, and the organisation changed completely,” said Alain Prost.

“We had new people. But in a way, it’s also very good to have. We have different meetings scheduled now, we have a new president of Renault coming in July, and since we really have a lot of new people, and they are all very concerned on one side and very motivated on the other side about F1.”

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Negative Camber
There is some of this that is certainly true but I’ve worked at companies that have had major top management overhauls and with a raft of new executive management, it creates some real challenges that take longer to recover from.

He added: “Still with a big constructor like Renault, you cannot be too far [off]. Where we were last year was not acceptable, that is for sure. You cannot stay in this position, so we had to show that we can improve.”

How do you see this playing out? I’ve argued for some time now that the team need changes in top management because it is moving forward. It’s performance trajectory is struggling despite having fantastic drivers and a hard-working team.

Hat Tip: Motorsport

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I’m guessing that this will all depend on this question: do they see using F1 as a testing ground?


What I get from Renault’s comments is that they are still talking. They only say that what is now decided will stay, but they do not say there is a decision yet.

It probably depends how well they will be doing this year in F1.