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Renault’s Formula 1 team may be about to end

Esteban Ocon (FRA) Renault F1 Team RS20 with flow-vis paint on the front wing. Formula One Testing, Day 2, Thursday 27th February 2020. Barcelona, Spain.

Is the future of Renault at stake in Formula 1? Before the coronavirus crisis, it was already clear that the French racing team had doubts about the effectiveness of participating in the sport. The upcoming difficult period in the financial field will only exacerbate this doubt.

Spanish sports newspaper AS believes that it is indeed restless within the Formula 1 team: “Renault’s Formula 1 project is on the verge of dying out. A few hours before the McLaren deal was announced, Daniel Ricciardo warned the racing team before leaving.”

“Following the cold farewell, Cyril Abiteboul then emphasised that Renault thinks that Ricciardo signed for the annual sum they paid him, and not so much because he thought there was a future in the racing team”. Abiteboul reacted in a disappointed manner to the departure of the Australian, who has already ended the collaboration after two years.

It is a setback – especially because there was a positive start to the season in Australia: “Renault confirmed a new main sponsor and Formula 1 is always a nice showcase – even if only Mercedes wins championships. But everything depends on the plan of the car manufacturer, which continuously assesses whether participation in the sport is profitable.”

Renault looking for strength

One thing becomes clear from the analysis of the sports newspaper: Renault Sport must come up with something good to convince its shareholders of the value of F1. “Renault has ambition and wants to become a successful racing team. In the near future, they want to fight for world titles by exploiting the 2022 regulation changes.”

“Exchanging the fourth highest-paid driver on the grid for a middle-class driver (Romain Grosjean, Nico Hülkenberg or Kevin Magnussen) would be far from ideal”, the article continues. In order to carry on the championship battle, Renault must therefore look for a strong driver.

Can Alonso fill Ricciardo’s gap?

“Of all the available good drivers, Fernando Alonso would be the best option. Ricciardo leaves behind a salary of twenty million dollars (about 18 million euros)”. A comparable salary would therefore probably also be suitable for the Spaniard.

In addition, Renault remains a prestigious brand: “Renault is an original Formula 1 manufacturer, which also produces its own engines and has a common history with Alonso. They are also busy restructuring in Enstone, visible in the recruitment of former McLaren and Ferrari CEO Pat Fry.”

So Alonso has a motive to return to Renault, although there are still doubts about the internal structure of the team: “On the other hand, Abiteboul remains at the helm, in the paddock it is increasingly suggested that the team has stagnated under his leadership.”

“A move to Renault has its advantages and disadvantages. Whether it is worth the gamble is ultimately up to Alonso”, it is concluded. AS suggests that from Renault there is indeed interest in the talent of the two-time world champion, so the ball is with Alonso. (Photo: Motorsport Week)

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