Renault has reportedly reached the decision to remain in F1, following the emergency board meeting called by the struggling French manufacturer yesterday (Wednesday) to discuss its future in the sport off the back of the debilitating global credit crunch and a bruising 2009 campaign at the highest level.
The extraordinary reunion of the executive board in Paris was ostensibly convened in response to rival car maker Toyota's announcement on Wednesday that it was pulling the plug on its F1 involvement with immediate effect.
In the wake of the 'Singapore-gate' race-fixing scandal and all the controversy and loss of reputation subsequently engendered – allied to the departure of both title sponsor ING and number one driver Fernando Alonso, as well as the company's focus on electric and energy-saving technology, somewhat at-odds with the ethos of high-tech motor racing – it was feared that Renault might well elect to follow suit. Not so, the Enstone-based outfit's managing director Jean-François Caubet insists.
“We have already contracted our drivers, had our budget approved and are enrolled in the world championship,” the Frenchman told daily sports newspaper L'Équipe
. “Season 2010 has begun already. We will not be world champions in 2010, but we do have hopes to be much improved.”
Caubet added that Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn had similarly made clear his expectations that the team 'returns to a good level' next year, following two consecutive campaigns during which it has grappled with an uncompetitive car.
Having scored respectively 191 and 206 points en route
to back-to-back title glories in 2005 and 2006, the combined tally from 2007, 2008 and 2009 totalled just 157, whilst a desultory eighth place in the final constructors' standings this season represented the worst finish since 1978.
BMW-Sauber refugee Robert Kubica has already been signed to replace Ferrari-bound double F1 World Champion Alonso in 2010, with former Toyota ace Timo Glock looking most likely to be unveiled as the Pole's team-mate. Watch brand TW Steel has also come on-board, to take over from ING as principal backer.