Renault F1 future 'not at risk' from Ghosn arrest

Cyril Abiteboul (FRA) Renault Sport F1 Managing Director in the FIA Press Conference.
© XPB 

Renault Formula 1 team principal Cyril Abiteboul insists that he's not worried about the immediate future of the French car manufacturer in the sport.

That's despite Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn - a key supporter of the company's return to the sport as a constructor - continuing to be held under arrest in Japan for financial irregularities.

Renault's partner Nissan has already fired Ghosn from his role there. At Renault itself, his role as chief executive is to be filled on an interim basis by current COO Theirry Bollore until the legal situation becomes clearer.

Abiteboul explained why he felt that it would make no difference to operatons at Enstone or the squad's preparations for the team's 2019 season.

"Carlos Ghosn was instrumental in the decision to return in late 2015, but obviously it’s not just one man’s decision," he said. "It was debated at length in executive committee, at board level, and that was the decision of the company.

"We have no information that there will be any impact. We don’t see any reason why there would be more impact on this programme than on anything else.

"We have been racing in Formula 1 since more than 40 years. We are part-way on the journey of a long-term plan – six years. Six years to build the team, six years to hopefully challenge these guys.

"There is a clear continuity of all the operations with Thierry Bolloré, who is no stranger to Formula 1, as he has been a director of the board of the team since 2016.

"Obviously this is where we need to focus and support Renault in that overall continuity," he said in Friday's FIA press conference.

"For the time being: continuity, focus on what we have to do, which is complete the championship in the best possible way this weekend.

"Then focus on the second phase of our plan in Formula 1, and this is the success that will matter, the success or lack of success, and this is where I need to deliver.

"My message is simply that there is a continuity plan for all the operations of the Renault Group as well as Nissan and Mitsubishi. Formula 1 is part of this operation.


"It’s an object and an activity which is well known, very visible and receiving lots of exposure with clear expectations of return on investment and contribution to the business.

"The reasons why we joined Formula 1 in the way that we joined Formula 1 back in late 2015 are still here today: for exposure, for technology development. There is no reason why those factors are suddenly going away.

"If Formula 1 is still a good value proposition in the past, it has no reason not to be also in the future.

"But I’m just saying that it will, in my opinion, be in our hands and this is where I will be focusing my efforts rather than in speculation. It’s in our hands to deliver the best possible result also for the best given cost to the company that will then continue to monitor this activity as an any other activity.

"I have absolutely no indication that for instance, Thierry Bollore is not keen on Formula 1. Again, he’s a director of our company, has very good knowledge of what we are doing, so optimism, no scepticism, just focusing on facts and what we need to deliver."

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