Renault boss gives three-year timeframe to win

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Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn warns it will take three years for the French manufacturer to return to winning ways after deciding to come back as a fully-fledged works team in 2016

After months of negotiations, Renault finally followed up on its September Letter of Intent by completing the takeover of Lotus on Thursday. Meanwhile, Viry-Chatillon will continue to supply engines to Red Bull, though these power units will be branded TAG-Heuer.

In the wake of Renault’s struggles in the 1.6-litre turbocharged era, Ghosn does not expect the Enstone outfit, which was using Mercedes power in 2015, to deliver strong results right out of the gates.

“Given how keen our staff is, I think it will take three years to be competitive,” Ghosn said in an interview with French newspaper Le Figaro. “We’ll also carry on developing our activity as an engine supplier, but only in accordance with the interests of our works team.”

Renault used the entire 2015 season to review its involvement in Formula One, with quitting the sport altogether one of the possibilities. Ghosn explains that ramping up investment was taken for economic reasons but also after considering the brand’s storied record in the sport.

“First of all, one should bear in mind that we decided to focus on our activity of engine supply in 2010, right after the global economic crisis. At that time, many other constructors simply left the sport, like Toyota, Honda, and BMW. We did not.

“However, over the past few months, we had to make a choice: either we came back as a works team or pulling out for good. Being an engine supplier does not yield a sufficient return on investments.

“We are deeply attached to Formula One, and I was also able to appreciate how a great number of F1 people – either from the FIA, FOM, or even our rivals – were attached to Renault. Our associates are also highly motivated to see us in F1. At Renault, there is a passion for racing.”

Ghosn finally adds that further details about Renault’s new team will be revealed in due course.

“You will have to wait for a few weeks. We will tell you about the organisation, the goals, the drivers, the strategy and the partners in January 2016.”

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