It hasn’t been the best of years for Renault with the arrest and ultimate ouster of CEO, Carlos Ghosn, and now a deep-dive review of the entire Renault operation on the back of poor revenue results and more.
CEO Clotilde Delbos discussed the F1 program’s future as being part of this review:
“I’m not specifically targeting those two activities. But clearly the review of the ‘Drive the Future’ plan means we put [it] on the table,” she said. “It’s like a normal process — it’s not a minor review. We’re launching a deep review of the ‘Drive the Future’ plan in order to take into account the new context of the market, the change in usage, mobility, etc., and the current situation of the group.
“Everything can be on the table at some point. This is a deep review of our strategy and plan.”
I’ve also been keen to get a better understanding of what Mercedes intends to do and some of these comments are also propelled by the 2021 regulation changes the sport is trying to institute. Intriguing that today it was revealed that some teams are keen to push those changes out to 2022.
For Renault, Mercedes, and Honda, there have been comments that aren’t leaving folks with the best impression that they are all-in on F1 for the long-term future. We’ve seen a mass exodus before back in 2008-2009 when BMW, Toyota and Honda all left the series abruptly and this is one of the real issues of catering the entire series to manufacturers. They can leave on the shortest of notices.
Renault’s team boss, Cyril Abiteboul, said:
“I can’t tell you that. Until that process is done, I can’t say. It has to be a process.
“I’m sorry I don’t have any confirmation to make further comment. Let’s follow the process.
“But let’s be optimistic. If everything [in the contract] is better than what we have now, I don’t see why we would get to a different position to the one we made in 2015 [when Renault returned to F1].
“Yes, the market has changed and the sporting results are what they are. The most important thing is, can we project ourselves with confidence in that period of time with reasonable results, at a reasonable cost. In my opinion, what we will get out of 2021 measures, we’re going in the right direction to answer these questions positively.”
This isn’t a resounding “Yes” either. In fact, Renault is losing their sole customer team in 2021 when McLaren announced they would be moving to Mercedes. Renault’s performance results haven’t panned out the way Daniel Ricciardo wanted either and while Abiteboul is keen to let Nico Hulkenberg go, one assumes the price tag he demands has something to do with it too.
There could be a notion that losing their sole customer means it would be a good time to cut and run.
Hat Tip: ESPNF1