Renault sell team to Gerard Lopez but remain in Formula 1

    Share

    Poll

    Is Renault selling a stake in its team as a 'getaway' for a few years' time?

    Total Votes: x
    avatar
    Mike
    Site Development Manager

    Number of posts : 302
    Country : UK
    Joined : 2008-11-11

    Male

    Renault sell team to Gerard Lopez but remain in Formula 1

    Post by Mike on 16th December 2009, 04:19

    Renault to remain in Formula 1



    Renault has announced that its Formula 1 team will stay put for the 2010 season. Following an emergency meeting at the start of last month and a news conference on Wednesday, the French marque has also confirmed that Red Bull Racing will continue using its engines.

    Subsequent to the departures of car manufacturers Honda, BMW and Toyota from the sport within the last 12 months, Renault executives staged emergency talks surrounding its F1 team only three days after the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and in the immediate aftermath of Toyota's decision to leave.

    With speculation having circulated that either Gerard Lopez or Prodrive Chairman David Richards could buy into the team, it is the former's Genii Capital - a Luxembourg-based firm specialising in new technologies, brand management and motorsport - which now owns a large share of the Enstone squad.

    "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," explained Renault Team President Bernard Rey. "Altogether, we look forward to competing again at the highest level in Formula 1. Today's announcement also confirms Renault's commitment and trust in the sport's governing bodies to improve the green credentials of Formula 1."


    GPUpdate.


    Renault has confirmed it remains committed to Formula 1, after announcing on Wednesday that it has sold a large stake in the team to Luxembourg company Genii Capital, as AUTOSPORT predicted.

    Following weeks of uncertainty about the future of the team, Renault issued a statement revealing its tie-up with Genii Capital, a company led by businessman Gerard Lopez.

    The French car manufacturer also confirmed that it will continue to supply engines to Red Bull Racing in 2010.

    Bernard Rey, Renault's F1 team president, said: "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 1. Today's announcement also confirms Renault's commitment and trust in the sport's governing bodies to improve the green credentials of Formula 1."


    Autosport


    Renault will race on in Formula 1 next year following a deal to secure the team's future, as BBC Sport exclusively predicted last week.

    The company had considered quitting F1, but the team will continue under new owners with the French car company retaining a minority 25% shareholding.

    The new majority shareholder is Luxembourg businessman Gerard Lopez.

    His Genii Capital investment company will now run the team, which will continue to race as Renault F1.

    Renault said it reached an agreement for a "proposed sale of a large stake of the Renault F1 team to Genii" and that they would operate the team jointly.

    BBC Sport understands Lopez will own 75% of Renault's chassis design and construction base in Enstone in Oxfordshire. Renault will retain total control over its engine manufacturing base in Viry-Chatillon on the outskirts of Paris.

    Renault also said it would continue to supply engines to Red Bull in 2010.

    Renault's statement made no mention of drivers - but it is expected to retain the highly-rated Pole Robert Kubica, who it signed to lead the team following the departure of double world champion Fernando Alonso to Ferrari.

    Lopez beat David Richards - the boss of the British motor racing engineering firm Prodrive and former team principal of Benetton and BAR in F1 - to a deal with Renault.

    It is understood that Renault believed the Lopez deal better suited its future aims - which remain unclear.

    The company felt it was not able to quit F1 having last summer signed legally binding documents committing it to the sport until 2012.

    At a time of difficult global economic conditions for car companies, Renault did not want to spend the money that would be required either to extricate itself from its F1 commitments or to continue running and funding the team itself.

    Under the solution Renault has found, it remains a possibility that the company could re-enter F1 fully when the global financial crisis is over.

    The Renault F1 team's future has been in doubt since the company held an emergency board meeting in early November to discuss whether to continue in F1.

    The issue was discussed at further meetings of Renault bosses in the last fortnight, with a final decision understood to have been taken at an executive board meeting last Wednesday.

    Renault president Carlos Ghosn signed the documents that finalised the Lopez deal in Japan on Tuesday, it is understood.

    Renault's decision to examine its participation in F1 came after the team's worst season since it returned to the sport as a constructor in 2002.

    They finished eighth out of 10 teams in the world championship, with their best result Alonso's third place in the Singapore Grand Prix.

    Far worse for Renault's reputation, though, was the Singapore race-fixing scandal.

    Renault were handed a ban from F1, suspended for two years, after being found guilty of asking Nelson Piquet to crash deliberately in the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix to aid Alonso's chances of winning.

    Team boss Flavio Briatore and engineering director Pat Symonds were banned from motorsport for their part in the conspiracy - Briatore for life and Symonds for five years.

    Analysis: Renault race-fixing controversy

    Both are contesting their bans in the French courts, with a verdict due in the new year.

    Piquet was not punished by governing body the FIA after agreeing to blow the whistle on the affair, even though Symonds gave evidence that the plan was the Brazilian's idea.

    Two of the team's major sponsors, the Dutch bank ING and the Spanish insurance company Mutua Madrilena ended their relationship with the team with immediate effect over the affair.

    Renault's uncertainty over its future in F1 came at the end of a year that has seen three of the major road-car manufacturers end their involvement in the sport.

    Honda quit in December last year, but helped secure a management buy-out of its team, which raced as Brawn GP in 2009 and won the drivers' and constructors' world championships.

    BMW announced in July its decision to quit F1 at the end of the season, and Toyota made public its withdrawal a few days after the final race in early November.

    Despite that, now Renault has officially confirmed the future of its team, the F1 grid is set to have six more cars on it in 2010 than this year's 20.

    BMW has sold its team back to their Swiss founder Peter Sauber, while four new teams have entered.

    The Lotus name is returning with a new team set up by Air Asia founder Tony Fernandes.

    The Virgin brand, which sponsored Brawn in 2009, has joined forces with the successful junior category race team Manor to form Virgin Grand Prix, which was launched in London on Tuesday.

    They will be joined by Spain's Campos Meta 1 and American outfit US F1.

    Andrew Benson, BBC


    Image source: priuschat.com


    _________________

      Current date/time is 24th June 2017, 18:14