Renault ‘consider buying back Formula 1 team’

By Gareth Llewellyn
renault f1
(Photo: Alessandro Prada)

renault f1

Renault are rumoured to be considering a bid to buy back their Formula 1 team less than a year after selling a majority of it.

Following the ‘Crashgate’ scandal that almost destroyed the team’s reputation last year, the manufacturer considered pulling out of F1 as title sponsor ING swiftly pulled the plug on the French team, forcing Renault to sell a reported 85 per cent of the company to Luxembourg-based investors Genii Capital, while continuing to provide engines to Red Bull.

Under new management, Renault have fared well despite losing long-standing team principal Flavio Briatore and chief technical officer Pat Symonds as well as being short of sponsors.

Renault are currently fifth in the constructors’ championship, chasing Mercedes GP for fourth place with lead driver Robert Kubica seventh in the drivers’ standings with three podium finishes for the Enstone-based team.

New team principal Eric Boullier’s best decision was to snap up Kubica from BMW Sauber after the German manufacturer announced it was pulling out of F1, leaving Kubica with few options for 2010. With no drives at Ferrari, McLaren, Red Bull or Mercedes, a move to Renault was the best option for the Pole – and one which seen Kubica’s stock rise significantly.

Such has been Kubica’s performance so far this season he has been regularly linked with a move to Ferrari to partner former Renault man Fernando Alonso – a move that seemed unlikely after Ferrari confirmed Felipe Massa alongside Alonso until 2012 back in June. The rumour, however, resurfaced at Spa last week with talk of a swap deal that would see Massa head up the Renault challenge for 2011.

With Renault SA’s car sales picking up, and the performance of the Renault team on the track, the manufacturer’s return to the sport would come as new names enter negotiation with the brand for sponsorship for 2011.

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