I had written some thoughts on the current global credit crisis and the potential affect it may have on F1.Lehman Brothers holds over 16% of the F1 stock and has just filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy. It is yet unknown what will become of the stock; perhaps a discounted buy-back from CVC or SLEC? Who knows.
One consideration is what effect will this crunch have on the teams and sponsors. According to Flavio Briatore, Renault team principle, Carlos Ghosn, Renault CEO, has agreed to increase the ING Renault F1 teams budget by 30-40% for 2009.
“Our president has given his full support for the team.
“It is a very difficult moment for all companies, but he did not hesitate for one minute in increasing our budget by 30 or 40 per cent,” the Italian added.
This seems to answer the question that Renault still have cars to sell and while the global credit crisis swirls around us like a 1965 hairdo, continuing to invest in their brand equity on the proving grounds of F1 is something Mr. Ghosn feels strongly about. It has been a difficult year for Renault even with the return of the prodigal son Fernando Alonso. Poor results, engine freeze conspiracies, near espionage accusations/penalties and even death at their factory. I am sure it is with a sense of concern that Renault funnel more capital into their F1 program but I am glad they are. It bodes well for F1 and could set an example for sponsors like ING and others who are reticent about spending the money.