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Renault boss giving little away

NEWS STORY
29/06/2015

Renault chief executive Carlos Ghosn used a visit to the final round of the Formula E championship to cast doubt on his company's F1 involvement.

Less than twenty-four hours after Virgin's Richard Branson declared that Formula E will be bigger than F1, Ghosn was in London to throw his weight behind the new series, whilst using the opportunity to take a swipe at the so-called pinnacle of motorsport.

Whilst adamant that F1 had to embrace the new hybrid technology and face up to its environmental responsibilities, threatening to walk away from the sport unless it did so, the French manufacturer hasn't made a very good job of it. In its second season of the new formula, Renault is struggling, losing out to Ferrari which made clear gains over the winter.

Continually criticised by Red Bull, with which it has an agreement until the end of next season, the French manufacturer has admitted that it is considering a number of options including walking away from the sport.

In London for the final round of a series in which it is enjoying success, Ghosn reaffirmed his company's commitment to F1... in the short term.

"When you are a developer and seller of engines, you have the privilege to be forgotten when you win and to be highlighted when you lose," he told reporters. "We are not discarding anything. We can be out. We can, less likely, continue to be only an engine developer. Or we can own a team. So all the options are open. And we are analysing all the different options for the future."

However, the company's future in F1 doesn't rest entirely on how quickly it can turn its fortunes around, Ghosn also admitted concern at the sport's current governance.

"It makes sense for us depending on what kind of governance we have in front of us. That's why it's taking some time," he admitted. "We need to try and understand where the governance of Formula One goes before we decide what way we want to take. The governance of racing is extremely important.

"It's not about who does what, that's not our issue," he continued. "Our issue is we come and know exactly how much we spend and invest. We know how much we can be sponsored through marketing, but also there is a sharing of the TV rights which needs to be in a certain way following a more rational track where people who are investing the money and making the show can get a fair return on this investment.

"The question is 'Is it worth it?' You are engaging hundreds of engineers, putting in millions of euros and deviating a lot of your technical resources. You need a return."

Renault withdrew from F1 at the end of 2010 following the Crash-gate scandal of 2008 which saw Nelson Piquet deliberately crash his car, thereby bringing about a Safety Car period that would benefit teammate Fernando Alonso.

How ironic therefore that Mr Ghosn arrived in London just in time to see the inaugural Formula E title won by... Nelson Piquet.

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