It could be 'all change' at Renault dependent upon what the French manufacturer elects to do with its F1 programme between now and the end of the year, reports suggest – with Robert Kubica potentially jumping ship and Flavio Briatore returning to the fold.
With uncertainty continuing to shroud the future of the Enstone-based outfit – Renault President Carlos Ghosn stated last week that he 'doesn't think [F1] is going to be very important for anybody, if it doesn't answer some of the concerns that surround [it] [see separate story – click here
] – it has been claimed by Spanish newspaper Diario AS
that unless the company commits to 2010 'in the coming weeks', Kubica will be 'automatically released' from his contract.
The highly-regarded Pole is understood to be close to the top of the shopping list of Mercedes Grand Prix – formerly double 2009 F1 World Champions Brawn GP – to partner Nico Rosberg at Brackley next season, should only the 24-year-old be able to find a way out of his agreement with Renault.
Meanwhile, it has also been rumoured that should disgraced erstwhile Renault F1 managing director Briatore be successful in his appeal bid to get his effective lifetime ban from all FIA-sanctioned forms of motorsport overturned – with a decision expected on 5 January – he could return to the top flight with immediate effect.
The Italian's punishment was meted out by the governing body's World Motor Sport Council (WMSC) in Paris back in September for his prominent role in the 'Singapore-gate' race-fixing scandal, but Briatore has persistently protested his innocence and the crux of his appeal is that the verdict was delivered following a kangaroo court session, motivated by former FIA President Max Mosley's desire for personal revenge.
Should he indeed win his appeal, it has been speculated that the 59-year-old could once again assume the reins at Renault in the event of a manufacturer withdrawal, renaming the team in his own image à la
Ross Brawn after Honda, with Renault engines in an effort to circumvent the issues presented by contravention of the commercial rights-governing Concorde Agreement. Watch this space...