It may have escaped with a suspended two-year ban and no fine from the FIA World Motor Sport Council (WMSC) hearing to decide its fate over the 'Singapore-gate' scandal, but still Renault is unwilling to commit its future to Formula 1.
Some had predicted that the French manufacturer would receive at the very least a hefty financial penalty in front of the governing body's world council, for being found guilty of race-fixing in having deliberately manipulated the result of the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix by ordering Nelsinho Piquet to crash so that team-mate Fernando Alonso could triumph from a disadvantaged grid position in the top flight's inaugural night race.
However, it is being widely viewed in the F1 paddock that the lenient punishment given the seriousness of the crime – one FIA President Max Mosley had described before the WMSC reunion as being unparalleled in the sport's history – was an effort to prevent Renault from pulling the plug on its Enstone-based operation and following fellow car makers Honda and BMW out of the exit door at season's end.
Mosley professed himself unequivocally confident after the meeting that the Régie
would be staying put, but Renault's F1 president seems less sure. According to British newspaper The Guardian
, Bernard Rey was asked five times about the team's future at the highest level – the subject of ongoing speculation for some time – only to persistently refuse to give a direct answer and willing to reveal only that 'we apologise for such failure in front of the F1 community, and we hope we can put this behind us'.