Renault Sport Technologies' managing director Rémi Deconinck has confirmed that there are no plans to begin dismantling its home-grown ladder to Formula One in light of the current economic squeeze.
While other manufacturers, some not even involved in running a category, begin to question whether they can justify any motorsport involvement, the regie
appears determined to maintain its two feeder series - Formula Renault and the World Series - as a possible alternative to the other paths being set up to promote young talent. With F2 being launched by Max Mosley as an FIA-approved series for 2009, and GP3 designed to slot in below - and be run by - the GP2 Series next year, the market place is once again appearing a little crowded, but Deconinck took the opportunity to speak on the eve of the WSbR's first race of '09 to reassure those worried about its future.
"We are aware of the current difficulties, but we are also more committed than ever to our values," he insisted, "Renault Sport has developed a unique expertise in the development and organisation of single-brand formulas over the last 40 years and, as we didn't wait for the economic crisis to come along to take steps aimed at controlling operating budgets, we can feel relaxed as we look ahead.
"The success of the various categories is based on solid foundations, which enable us to offer a unique programme, a stepping stone to F1. Our greatest satisfaction lies in the ongoing loyalty of the teams, who have once again provided us with some superb line-ups in 2009."
Asked specifically about the future of the World Series, Deconinck insisted that it remained 'at the heart of this programme'.
"The World Series by Renault is a key part of the brand's motorsport set-up," he claimed, "The talent of the young drivers, who are the real stars of these events, is showcased in a unique manner in the media, for spectators and partners."
A new television deal with Eurosport
will see the entire 2009 WSbR campaign broadcast live, with the supporting cast of FRenault and Megane Trophy also benefiting from a highlights programme, but it is the plans for the future that underline the French manufacturer's commitment to all three of its flagship series.
"The strength of our programme comes from our long-term strategy, which is based on performance, state-of-the-art technology, safety and reliability at reduced cost," Deconinck concluded, "After launching the new versions of World Series and Megane Trophy cars in 2008 and 2009, we will be turning our attention to a new Formula Renault, the next version of the world's best-selling single-seater race car, in 2010.
"And then, in 2011, we will launch the new World Series car - with ever better performance levels!"