Renault has moved to assuage fears its Formula 1 operation could be under threat in the current economic climate by arguing that as an operation that doesn't 'waste funding', it is 'in a strong position'.
In-line with all of the other teams in the top flight, the Régie
is to drastically slash costs over the forthcoming years, and following Honda's shock withdrawal from competition last month, it was suggested that other major car manufacturers could follow suit.
Whilst Toyota has been widely viewed as the most susceptible to a pull-out, Renault's CEO and president Carlos Ghosn is known not to be a man with any particular motorsport sympathies – leading some to wonder if the French concern will be the next one out of the exit door. Not so, the team contends.
“We've seen Honda pull out of F1, Kawasaki pulling out of MotoGP and some of the WRC (World Rally Championship) teams pulling out,” explained the Enstone-based outfit's IT manager Graeme Hackland in an interview with ACN
. “The situation is serious, not just for Renault but for all the teams.
“What we have done is get together as the Formula One Teams Association (FOTA). They've made proposals on how they can cut costs and take out the things that are really not adding benefits to the spectators but are costing the teams lots of money.”
Though not willing to disclose either the size of Renault's F1 budget or the extent to which it is to be reduced over the next few seasons, Hackland did confess that job losses cannot be ruled out as a result of 'significant cuts' – whilst insisting that the team is not in any danger of suffering Honda's fate.
“We're going to see significant cuts this year,” he acknowledged, “[but] in terms of our company, we're in a strong position. We're not known as a team which wastes funding.
“When we won the championship in 2005 and 2006, we had about the fifth or sixth-biggest budget. There's not a huge amount of fat in the company in terms of people or resources.
“With the regulation changes in terms of testing and aerodynamics, Max Mosley said last week that it's inevitable that there may be a loss of people from within F1. Though that's very sad, that may have to happen.”