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Lopez: Renault F1 has 'reignited the will to win' – and title is 2011 aim

Having risen phoenix-like from the ashes of its 'Singapore-gate' shame, so great has been Renault F1's progress this season that new owner Gérard Lopez believes a tilt at the title is not altogether out-of-the-question in 2011
New Renault F1 owner Gérard Lopez believes that such has been the re-injection of verve and vitality into a team that at the end of last season had looked to be down on its knees, that the former double F1 World Champions can again start dreaming of aiming for the very highest prize in 2011.

Rocked by the 'Singapore-gate' race-fixing scandal and resultant resignation of both disgraced managing director Flavio Briatore and executive director of engineering Pat Symonds, the departure of number one driver Fernando Alonso, the loss of key sponsors ING and Mutua Madrileña and falling car sales due to the global credit crunch, Renault F1 appeared to be down-and-out come the end of 2009, with many predicting that the team was set for dissolution.

However, with Lopez's Genii Capital investment company stepping in to purchase a majority 75 per cent stake in the Enstone-based outfit, it lived to fight another day – and a combination of the Luxembourg-based businessman's vision and drive to succeed allied to the brilliance of Robert Kubica behind the wheel has enabled the squad to bounce back in style, defying its detractors to challenge Mercedes Grand Prix for fourth spot in the constructors' rankings, when last year it had wound up a lowly eighth, a far cry from its dominance of 2005 and 2006.

So great has been progress, Lopez affirms, that the team can now banish 2008 and 2009 firmly to the history books and potentially even look forward to a return to former glories next year – possibly with 2007 F1 World Champion Kimi Raikkonen partnering fellow grand prix-winner Kubica on the driving strength [see separate story – click here].

“There is a winning mentality back in the team,” he told Reuters. “For sure we would like to fight for the championship next year, and it takes more than just words to do that. It takes a culture and so on, and I think we are back into that culture where a weekend like [the Italian Grand Prix at Monza, where Kubica finished only seventh] is really disappointing, not just for me but disappointing for the whole team.

“Just by changing some key management positions, I think we've kind of reignited the will to win and essentially showed the team and the people that were there that they can do it, just like they did it a couple of years ago. I think the foundations are rock solid.

“We are pretty much done with our programme in terms of putting in some key management people, here and at the factory. As far as we are concerned, for the first time now we can actually focus on delivering results rather than just rebuilding stuff – so I think it's as solid as it has probably ever been.”



Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
31.01.2010 Valencia, Spain Gerard Lopez (FRA), Renault F1 Team owner - Renault F1 Team Launch
Gerard Lopez, Genii Capital, Renault R30 launch, Valencia, 2010 [pic credit: Renault F1]
31.01.2010 Valencia, Spain Gerard Lopez (FRA) Genii Capital, Renault F1 Team - Renault F1 Team Launch
Saturday Practice, Vitaly Petrov (RUS), Renault F1 Team, R30
Friday Practice 2, Vitaly Petrov (RUS), Renault F1 Team, R30
Friday Practice 2, Robert Kubica (POL), Renault F1 Team, R30
Thursday, Robert Kubica (POL), Renault F1 Team, R30
Friday Practice 2, Robert Kubica (POL), Renault F1 Team, R30
Race, Robert Kubica (POL), Renault F1 Team, R30 and Michael Schumacher (GER), Mercedes GP  F1 Team, MGP W01
Qualifying, Robert Kubica (POL), Renault F1 Team, R30
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Fernando Alonso and Ron Dennis at McLaren
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McLaren confirms Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button
Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button alongside Kevin Magnussen. Pic credit: McLaren
McLaren confirms Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso

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Greener02 - Unregistered

September 17, 2010 3:53 PM

They can thank Robert Kubica for getting thier enthusiam back into F1 the guy has carried the team this season he derserves the rider of the season award, if Renault are going to win a world title i hope this is the guy driving the car. He deserves to be a world champion

matt Gillespie

September 17, 2010 2:28 PM
Last Edited 1556 days ago

This may be a slightly biased view (as a Raikkonen fan) But if Renault have regained the "will to win" & want to adopt a winning attitude then they must look at Raikkonen very seriously.They will not be pushing for titles with a driver of Petrov's level in the car.Having a driver of Raikkonen's level on board will only move the team forward. For Renault, having the strongest driver line up possible is a must & having Kimi onboard would not only increase the development rate of the car, and bring in consistently higher points scoring positions and less school boy errors. It would also help push Kubica on to achieve his full potential. Many WILL say that bringing Raikkonen in will rock the boat and detract the focus from Kubica, however i think the fact that Raikkonen is not a drive that lusts after the teams fully attention(ALONSO)& the fact that both Kimi & Robert are friends, get on well, as well as the fact that they are 2 of the most laid back characters around will help alot!



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