Renault chief confirms they will stay in F1 despite company cutbacks
Hot on the heels of Formula 1 and the FIA announcing a raft of rule changes – including the reduction of the revolutionary new budget cap from $175 million to $145 million for 2021 – Renault have confirmed that they plan to remain in the sport for the foreseeable future.
The team, which returned to Formula 1 in a works capacity in 2016, have suffered setbacks in recent times, losing star driver Daniel Ricciardo to McLaren for 2021 after a 2019 season which saw them fall from fourth to fifth in the constructors’ standings – while McLaren will also switch to Mercedes power units from next season, leaving Renault without a customer team to supply.
The news about the new Formula 1 regulations is very good for us
The Renault parent company have also recently announced nearly 15,000 job cuts worldwide as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, as part of a €2bn cost-cutting plan.
Despite that, the company’s Acting Chief Executive Officer Clotilde Delbos revealed in an online presentation with the media that Formula 1 was still where Renault – who first entered the sport back in 1977 – wanted to be.
“We have said publicly, and we confirm, that we intend to stay in Formula 1,” said Delbos.
“Actually the news about new regulations, a new cap in terms of investment, is very good for us because we had less investment in this area than some of our competitors, who were spending a lot of money. So F1, we’re here and we’ll stay.”
Renault’s restating of their commitment to Formula 1 could be seen as a boost to the team’s chances of luring Fernando Alonso out of retirement, as sources have indicated the Spaniard has had talks about a potential return to the squad with which he won his two world titles in 2005 and 2006.
But with the team believed to have paid top dollar to secure the services of Ricciardo in 2019, it’s unclear in the current financial climate whether they’d be prepared to commit to the high salary demands that would likely come with the signing of Alonso.