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2016 will be a transitional year for Renault

For 2016, French car maker Renault will return as a fully fledged manufacturer after a takeover of the Lotus team.

After lengthy takeover talks Renault signed a letter of intent to buy back a controlling stake in the Lotus F1 team and that deal was completed just before Christmas.

It seemed at times that Renault were in two minds about owning the Enstone team once again and so it proved when Renault Chairman Carlos Ghosn told the BBC: 'We had two options: come back 100% or leave. After a detailed study, I decided Renault will be in F1 from 2016.'

The news was great for Formula One, whilst Renault cannot boast the history and prestige within Formula One that Ferrari can, Renault's history in Formula One cannot be contested.

The French side have a long and illustrious history with Formula One, making their debut in 1977, winning their first race at the 1979 France Grand Prix with Jean-Pierre Jabouille.

As an engine supplier they have won nine Formula One Drivers titles, 1992 Nigel Mansell (Williams), 1993 Alain Prost (Williams), 1995 Michael Schumacher (Benetton) , 1996 Damon Hill (Williams), 1997 Jacques Villeneuve (Williams) and 2010-2013 Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull Racing).

They have also taken ten Formula One World Constructors' Championships (19921997 and 20102013) for Benetton, Williams and Red Bull Racing.

As a manufacturer they have also won the Formula One World Drivers Championship with Fernando Alonso in 2005 and 2006 and also won back-to-back Formula One World Constructors titles.

Renault power has won over 160 Grand Prix, ranking third in Formula One history.

At a time when Formula One appears in crisis with engine manufacturers Ferrari and Mercedes dominating the sport, news of Renault's exit would have hurt the sport immeasurably.

But the expectation levels for 2016 are low for Renault.

'The target for next year, it is not just about scoring points in the championship. If that is your question, we need to be humble in our expectations for next year.' Renault Sport boss Cyril Abiteboul told the BBC.

They have a lot of ground to cover to even think about competing with Ferrari and Mercedes and the first step of that is building a solid foundation.

Integrating the business will have to be one of the first steps with the chassis base in Enstone and the engine base in Viry-Chatillon near Paris.

'There are many things that we want to do well next year, starting with the structure, How well do we integrate the structure? How do we integrate the people, the organisation? How do we put in place the links between the two entities? The culture, the mindset? How do we start catching up properly on the engine? said Abiteboul.

Reports suggest that former Mercedes and Renault technical director Bob Bell has already unofficially been overseeing the integration of engine and chassis departments.

British engine builder Ilmor, who will be working with Red Bull Racing on their newly branded Tag engines [which will remain Renault's in all but name] will also work with Renault to enhance its power-unit development.

'We have been very successful in F1 with Red Bull, we have been successful as a competitive team before and, from a marketing stand point and connection between F1 and the rest of the business, we have never been so strong.

'That is really important, as that is what will give us the stability so that we have the capacity - the financial capacity and also the time - to become one of the big boys.'










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The Journalist

Writer: Red5 Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Wednesday December 30 2015

Time: 10:00AM

 

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