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Renault: F1 future looks safer now senior management structure sorted

Jonathan Noble
Renault future looks safer now - Abiteboul

Renault team principal Cyril Abiteboul says the manufacturer's Formula 1 future appears safer now the company's future management structure has been sorted.

Turmoil at Renault, caused by the arrest of former Renault-Nissan alliance head Carlos Ghosn last year, prompted a major review of its operations.

Interim CEO Clotilde Delbos said last October that Renault would question all its activities, including its F1 programme, as it mapped out its future.

But, despite the announcement this week of the first company-wide losses for a decade, which will prompt widespread cost-cutting, Abiteboul said the indications are that the F1 team is safe ahead of new CEO Luca de Meo's arrival later in 2020.

Asked by Autosport about the F1 team's future, Abiteboul said: "On Renault, I guess the main development is the fact that we have a confirmation of the new governance structure finally.

"It's been a number of evolutions like in Formula 1.

"But now in Luca de Meo we have a clear CEO. He will not join before July, but at least we have a date and a name.

"In addition to that, the single most important piece of information, whether you got it or not, is the fact that Clotilde Delbos, current acting CEO, will remain as deputy CEO when de Meo arrives. That's very important.

"Why that's very important is because it means there will be a continuity of the governance, continuity also of the decisions.

"Which means that everything that we're discussing today with Mrs Delbos will be valid even when de Meo arrives."

Renault future looks safer now - Abiteboul

While Abiteboul conceded Renault's programme is not cheap, he believes Delbos is aware of the wider marketing benefits and that the change in finances for F1 from 2021 will be beneficial.

"Delbos is also a CFO of the company," he said. "She's also very naturally driven by figures.

"To look at F1 from a financial perspective it's a cost, but it's also an asset. And it's an investment.

"Any way you look, it is pointing in the right direction. Audience exposure or market share [is going up].

"But also costs, with a prize fund that will be better, a budget cap that will be better, and engine regulations that stay stable.

"So I've every reason to believe that, in principle, we are in it for the long term."

Four-time world champion Alain Prost, who is a non-executive director, admitted he was worried last year about Renault's commitment, but now sees more positive signs.

"It is always a concern for sure, especially being a big constructor and also we cannot hide all the problems with the president who left, and the organisation changed completely," he said.

"We had new people. But in a way, it's also very good to have.

"We have different meetings scheduled now, we have a new president of Renault coming in July, and since we really have a lot of new people, and they are all very concerned on one side and very motivated on the other side about F1."

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