I was reading an interesting article over at James Allen’s site (well done James) regarding Renault and their position on the Lotus/Renault front as well as their future in F1. I am delighted to say that my worries of Renault leaving the sport may be all for naught. According to Jean Francois Caubet, general manager of the Renault Sport F1 unit, Renault backed out of team ownership by selling the majority of the operation to Genii Capital. The reason for this is clear; they are focused on profit centers at Renault and not loss leaders.
It seems that Renault are actually relishing the idea of the new 4-cylinder turbo era in 2013 forward. Having recently agreed in principle, the FIA is moving toward this new engine specification in what many have concluded is an attempt to lure manufacturers back to the sport…oh, and it’s also “Green”.
Check out James’s story as it covers a few key concepts very well. The story also mentions Renault’s role as the child in a divorce between Tony Fernandes’s Lotus Racing Team and Lotus Group’s Dany Bahar with his new Lotus Renault F1 GP team in which Genii Capital has partner with the Malaysian company for 2011.
How does Caubet feel about being in the middle?
“We have a contract for engine supply without knowing yet what the name of the team will be, ” he says. “We don’t want to get involved in this quarrel, it’s up to Renault and Proton to sort this out. The deal with Tony Fernandes is a little complicated by this name business, but his team has shown itself to be the most active of the three new teams in 2010. If we want to start looking for a fourth team for 2013, we need a solid base of three teams.
” We are very comfortable with Lotus Cars, which is not a direct competitor. They produce 2000 cars a year, our relationship with Proton is also excellent. The market is global now and Malaysia must open its borders (to foreign vehicle imports) and Proton must come out of isolation to conquer new markets. So it needs a strong car maker ally. They want to work with us, so industrial and strategic links are in place way above what is going on in F1. ”
If you weave together the stories of Lotus’s Bahar claiming they would logically consider building their own engine for 2013 forward, I am not sure where the “strategic links” comment is coming from but suffice to say, it gets a little muddy or I am galacitcally confused by the entirety of the Lotus debacle. So Proton needs a car maker partner. Proton owns Lotus who is insinuating they will look at building their own engines. Then Renault says they are in it for the long term as an engine supplier and working tightly with Proton? Sheesh.
There is an upside to this manufacturer as a simple engine supplier role. It seems maybe the future could be an engines-only club.
“There are three groups of manufacturers,” he said. ” The French, including Renault; the Germans including Mercedes. It’s too soon for BMW to return and then there is VW which is hesitating. Why because from 2013 the engine could be the difference between winning and losing/ The risk is there. The third group? It is the Japanese – they have all been there at the meetings and I’ve been surprised by their interest in the new engine. Of course talking is free, but I sense that they’ve evolved their thinking.. the Europeans are there, it’s new technology…we can’t afford not to be there too.”
So Honda, Mercedes, Proton/Lotus, Renault, Cosworth and possible VW? Did I leave anyone out of the dance? Perhaps the manufacturers are more interested in attempting to develop a lump within the FIA’s new requirements as it translates to their road car divisions more succinctly than running and entire team. Hey, that’s a novel concept. Returning to the halcyon days of McLaren/Porsche, Williams/Honda, Lotus/Cosworth and Ferrari/Ferrari? Okay, just bragging about the Ferrari thing there.
I am sure it’s just me who is confused as I come by it naturally but this thing just gets hairier by the day doesn’t it? I hate to say this but I am getting the impression Bahar is doing a hell of a lot of talking and the words are starting to pile up and make funny sentences that are missing linking verbs and flat adverbs…not to mention they aren’t making any damn sense at this point.