Renault has ruled out returning to F1 as a constructor, the French manufacturer instead concentrating its efforts on supplying engines and technology.
Strictly speaking, the Lotus Renault GP team is no longer anything to do with Renault, the French manufacturer having sold its remaining stake in the former Benetton outfit, which it purchased in 2000, to Luxembourg-based Genii Capital which intends to change the team name to Lotus for 2012.
"For a car manufacturer, playing the role that we are playing today, providing engines and technologies to many teams is more in line with the sustainability of the name and of the brand," said chief executive Carlos Ghosn in at yesterday's Indian Grand Prix, according to Reuters. "I feel much more comfortable with the strategy we have today where we are a partner next year with four teams and providing engines."
Despite the titles in its own right, and its success with Red Bull, Renault's time in F1 ended on a sour note, the infamous 'crash-gate' saga resulting in the firing of team boss Flavio Briatore and Pat Symonds and the departure of a number of high-profile sponsors.
Asked if his company was completely ruling out a return to F1 in its own right, Ghosn said nothing lasted forever but insisted that "you can count on this at least for the next three to five years.
"We can do more," he added, suggesting that his company could supply more than four teams, though this is not allowed under the current rules. "As much as needed. We have the team of engineers, we have the technology, we have the plant. We are ready to respond to the needs of any team who would love to have a Renault engine."
Amidst claims that the Renault engine could be re-badged as Infiniti, in respect of the French manufacturer's partnership with the luxury brand that forms part of the Renault-Nissan alliance, Ghosn said: "I don't think you can artificially give a name. If Renault is providing the technology you can't just artificially say 'Okay, you know what, for marketing reasons I'm going to call it Infiniti.' It doesn't work.