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Renault reaffirm F1 commitment, sell stake in team 16 Dec 2009

Romain Grosjean (FRA) Renault R29 in the first practice session.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 17, Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Practice Day, Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, UAE, Friday, 30 October 2009 Renault team photograph.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 17, Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Race Day, Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, UAE, Sunday, 1 November 2009 Gerard Lopez, Founder of Mangrove Capital Partners, centre. Motorsport Business Forum Monaco, Monte Carlo, Monaco, Day One, Wednesday 9 December 2009. Bernard Rey (FRA) Renault F1 Team President. Formula One World Championship, Rd 17, Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, UAE, Saturday 31 October 2009. Fernando Alonso (ESP) Renault R29 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 17, Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Race, Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, UAE, Sunday, 1 November 2009

Following weeks of speculation about their future plans, Renault confirmed on Wednesday that they remain committed to Formula One racing. The French car manufacturer also announced that they have agreed to sell ‘a large stake’ in their team to Luxembourg investment firm Genii Capital, with the deal set to be concluded in early 2010.

A statement issued by Renault said: “After 35 years in the sport, Renault announces a new phase for its F1 programme, consistent with Formula One's drive for cost efficiencies. Formula One remains one of the biggest sporting spectacles in terms of annual television audiences and media exposure. Renault therefore believes that the impact of Formula One in terms of image, and brand awareness worldwide, particularly in new, emerging markets, will continue to play a key role in fulfilling the company's growth objectives in years ahead.

“With the anticipated sale of a stake in its F1 operational base in the United Kingdom to Genii Capital, Renault achieves another step that will definitely bring F1 participation to an affordable level for the Group. In addition, the new partnership will contribute to procuring the team the resources to compete sustainably at the highest level, and creates a great opportunity to modernise its governance.”

The new partners plan to run the outfit together, with the team continuing to use Renault engines and race under the Renault name. The agreement, which hopes to provide the stability and resources the squad needs to succeed in the years ahead, concerns Renault’s UK facilities at Enstone, but Genii will also explore other opportunities for cooperation with their portfolio.

"We are delighted to have been selected as Renault's strategic partner for the Renault,” said Eric Lux, CEO of Genii Capital. “Our long-term vision for this challenging venture aims to return Renault to the forefront of Formula One. Together with Renault, we intend to run the team with the same values as any of our other investments, prioritising ambitious performance targets without neglecting cost efficiency. We strongly believe that on-track performance can be compatible with business performance, and we will use all our entrepreneurial spirit and commercial know-how to achieve this goal."

Genii also hopes to play an active role in the overall strategic development of Formula One racing through their knowledge of, and access to, new technologies.

"This is a period of opportunity for Formula One, not a period of uncertainty," explained Gerard Lopez, managing partner at Mangrove Capital Partners and board member of Genii Capital. "Formula One has an extraordinary level of global awareness that can be used to develop new business-to-business opportunities in traditional and developing markets, and there are exciting new revenue streams to be explored."

The Renault team’s president, Bernard Rey, added: "I am delighted to welcome Genii Capital as our new strategic partner as I am sure that their enthusiasm and business expertise will create a new dynamic for the team, the staff, and our partners. Altogether, we look forward to competing again at the highest level in Formula One.”

Renault also confirmed that they will continue to supply engines to Red Bull Racing next season.