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Official: Briatore stays at Renault, as Kovalainen joins Fisichella

NEWS STORY
06/09/2006

Renault today announced the beginning of a new era for the reigning world champions, from the start of the 2007 season. Under the continued, dynamic leadership of Flavio Briatore and his senior technical staff, Giancarlo Fisichella and Heikki Kovalainen will lead the French manufacturer's challenge in the 2007 season, aided by a team of test drivers composed of Brazilians Ricardo Zonta and Nelson Piquet Jr.

A Stable Management Structure

The Renault F1 Team is delighted to announce that Managing Director Flavio Briatore, 56, has renewed his contract for the 2007 and 2008 seasons. Having led Renault's Formula 1 operations since 2000, when it purchased the Benetton team, Briatore is perfectly placed to manage the team into its next competitive cycle.

Furthermore, Briatore has reconfirmed the current technical management structure, which has championship-winning credentials. This will ensure continuity at the team's technical centres of Enstone (UK) and Viry-Châtillon (FR) under the respective leadership of Bob Bell and Pat Symonds, and André Lainé and Rob White. This stability will be crucial as the team adapts to significant short-term technical changes: the transition to a single tyre supplier from 2007, the introduction of homologated engines and the brand new Technical Regulations that will come into force in 2008.

Renault President Carlos Ghosn commented: "Under Flavio's leadership, the team achieved a remarkable double in 2005 by winning the Drivers' and Constructors' championships, and maintaining that competitiveness in 2006. I am counting on the determination, talent and effectiveness of Flavio and the entire Renault F1 Team, under the Presidency of Alain Dassas, to once again take Renault to the forefront of Formula 1."

Flavio Briatore said: "I am delighted to continue to lead Renault's Formula 1 challenge. It is an honour to be working for one of the top global companies, and with one of the world's leading managers. The commitment and enthusiasm Carlos Ghosn has shown for the Formula 1 project over the past year has been a key factor in my decision.

"It is now important for the Renault F1 Team to begin a fresh cycle of development from 2007, with a reinvigorated driver line-up and several major new commercial partners. This is the key to performing at the top level in the medium and long term.

"We begin this new cycle on the platform of a stable management structure, headed by team President Alain Dassas, with whom I enjoy an excellent working relationship, and myself. We know how important it is to manage change in an organisation, and we have a close-knit, dynamic team capable of fighting for victory. I am confident Renault will be a major force in Formula 1 in the years to come."

Blending Youth and Experience in the Cockpit

Having confirmed Giancarlo Fisichella as a 2007 race driver last June, the Renault F1 Team is pleased to announce that current test driver Heikki Kovalainen, 24, will race alongside him in 2007. The latest in a proud tradition of Flying Finns, Heikki has completed over 28,000 km of testing for the Renault F1 Team since 2004, and was vice-champion of the GP2 Series in 2005. He is now ready to make the step up to a Formula 1 race drive, and will have the unique opportunity to do so in a top-line team.

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