Renault lose interest in F1 despite strong season

2010 F1 season review

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Robert Kubica, Renault, Monte-Carlo, 2010

Renault enjoyed a resurgence in form in 2010 – but it seems that wasn’t enough to keep its parent company interested.

Today’s news that Renault has sold its remaining shares in the team to Genii Capital and Group Lotus have bought into them, signals a further dilution of Renault’s Formula 1 activity.

What a pity, for the distinctive yellow-and-black cars enjoyed such a strong 2010.

Renault team stats 2010

Best race result (number)2nd (1)
Best grid position (number)2nd (1)
Non-finishes (mechanical/other)8 (5/3)
Laps completed (% of total)1934 (85.65%)
Laps led (% of total)0 (0%)
Championship position (2009)5th (8th)
Championship points (2009*)163 (74)
*using 2010 system

Question marks hung over Renault’s future at the end of last season as the team lost Fernando Alonso to Ferrari and saw Flavio Briatore and Pat Symonds depart over the Singapore 2008 affair.

A reorganisation saw Eric Boullier take over as team principal – he later became managing director in Bob Bell’s place as well.

While Robert Kubica was signed in October last year the identity of his team mate wasn’t confirmed until the R30 was launched at the end of January.

Having ended 2009 at or near the back of the grid, the new car propelled the team forward. They made huge strides in aerodynamic development, reflected in the seemingly endless stream of new front wing configurations. It’s F-duct and exhaust-blown diffuser executions were particularly effective, in marked contrast to the likes of Mercedes.

Armed with a much better car than he had the previous year, Kubica went giant-killing. He split the Red Bulls on the front row at Monte-Carlo and brought the car home on the podium.

He was up at the sharp end again at Spa as the car ran its new F-duct for the first time. A botched pit stop, caused by Kubica struggling to get his car stopped in the wet pit lane, cost them a shot at victory.

Kubica was quick at Suzuka too and worked his way up to second at the start. Unfortunately it soon transpired the team hadn’t sufficiently tightened his wheel nuts and he was fortunate to avoid a huge crash.

Even so he was pleased enough with the team’s progress to sign an extension on his contract in July, taking him up to 2012.

It was clear from pre-season testing that Renault’s eggs were in the Kubica basket, as they shuffled test dates around to get him as much dry running in the car as possible.

That made life more difficult for rookie team mate Vitaly Petrov, who had a season of mixed results.

Inevitably he was some way of Kubica’s pace – the gap between them in qualifying was up to a second even in the latter stages of the season. There were quite a few crashes as well, including Suzuka and Korea (race), Monaco (qualifying), Shanghai and Catalunya (practice).

But it all came good in the final round of the season as he out-qualified Kubica (for only the second time all year) and raced to a strong sixth, incurring Alonso’s wrath on the way.

With Kubica in fifth place Renault’s decision to hold a fresh set of engines back for the final race paid off with their best result of the year.

It should be onward and upward for Renault in 2011. But it remains to be seen is exactly what they’re going to be called, for at the time of writing they’re one of two teams that believe their name to be ‘Lotus’.

Renault’s 2010 season in pictures

2010 F1 season review

Browse all 2010 F1 season review articles

Image © Renault/LAT, Bridgestone/Ercole Colombo, Pirelli

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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47 comments on “Renault lose interest in F1 despite strong season”

  1. God the R30’s livery was beautiful.

    1. Yep. It’ll be sad to see it go.

    2. next year we’re going to have so many (mainly) black/dark grey cars. Team Lotus, Lotus renault, Virgin, HRT. 8 cars…

      1. Add to that 4 blue and white cars (Williams and Sauber), 4 silver/chrome cars (Mclaren and Mercedes) 4 blue and red cars (RBR and STR). Out of 24 cars only Ferrari and Force India have completely unique colours.

        Somebody needs to get more creative with liveries.

        1. Sauber are not blue.

          1. They are next year with that sponsorship from Telmex.

  2. My respect for Renault drops, after last year, I thought they were just going to get their heads down and be a traditional race team. It looked good because the sell of team shares to Genii left the Renault technology, but cut ties from the corporate side of Renault that let them down in the past (1970’s Prost…). Then they sell the final shares, and are no longer a true factory team anymore. It is a shame, then to add insult to injury – Lotus cars decides to copy succesful Lotus Racing by title sponsoring Genii F1.

    Does anyone find it ironic that Lotus Racing were heavily slated as ‘Proton F1.’ Now we have a tru Proton Lotus F1, with the car company paying for the Renault title sponsorship.

    1. Hadn’t thought of that even, but you’re right. Ferrari and Mercedes are the only manufacturer-teams left now.

      1. McLaren as well now that they’ve entered the road car market.

        1. Not quite, they still use Mercedes engines.

          1. Mclaren 4 cylinder Turbo in 2013 after the engine rules change…..?

  3. Today we lose one off the sports legendary team, only to have been replaced by one that claims to be a legendary team. Sad day for F1 if you ask me.

  4. I really loved Renault so I’m sad that this has happened which is a bit daft because the mechanics and pit wall will probably still be the same and it’s still the same engineers but it’s just a deal where Bahar has control and is obsessive with his Lotus dream.

    1. As my grandma would say Bahar should “take a long walk off a short cliff.”

      1. I share the same sentiment as Steph. Its kinda sad to see Renault sell their team and exit. But I guess it was just a matter of time. They looked very keen to bow out after the whole crashgate scandal, and after Fernando left they were just focusing on finding a suitable replacement and getting the team into better shape to make a profitable exit. Bahar just showed up at the right time for them.. but the sale looked inevitable at the end of last year.

        1. I don’t regret Renault’s exist that much. They clearly struggled to be committed for necessary spending. I think for any ordinary car manufacturer like Renault spending in F1 is considered a cost, not investment like for sport cars manufacturers.
          That’s no coincidence that only the latter are motivated to spend and to remain in F1.

          1. Renault not having a full factory team is not the end of the world. Let’s not forget that renault still invests massively in motorsport generally. Next season there will be formula renault 1.6, 2.0, 3.5 and GP2 engines as well as F1 engines for red bull, lotus and er lotus.

          2. I hope they stay as an engine manufacturer long term, I think that’s were a lot of F1’s history exists.

  5. I’ll be missing Renault too :/

  6. Such a shame. I really loved their livery on the track. While it’ll be a lot of the same same people, the team is going not going to be the same. A shame.

  7. For me, Renault will be just another manufacturer who took the glory in the good times and left when the going got tough. Renault haven’t left after a good 2010 – this was Renault in name only. Renault’s long gone already.

    1. I agree. It really hurts the sport when constructors leave I think.

  8. If Kubica gets a more competitive car we shall have a very interesting season, enough said.

    1. it’ll be interesting if making the car’s black will make them go faster.
      but yep, if Kubica is on a rocket, everybody wins

  9. But it all came good in the final round of the season as he out-qualified Kubica (for only the second time all year) and raced to a strong sixth, incurring Alonso’s wrath on the way.

    Don’t forget China, Turkey and Hungary.

    1. Heh, I’m clearly the only person who though Petrov was by far the worst driver on this grid this year. Hugely out of his depth. Although Renault obviously felt the same, as even with a crap load of money they still aren’t sure.

      It will be interesting to see how he gets on during his second year though as I’d imagine they will keep him.

      I don’t dislike the guy and do wish him the best of luck. Maybe this season was what he needed to get started.

      1. Thought not though… grr :P

    2. China where he spun and Turkey where he finished a minute behind his team mate? (I mentioned Hungary in the part you quoted).

  10. That yellow car will be missed by many. If they do sale their stake does that mean that they are no longer controlling the F1 project but only the engine department?

    1. Exactly. It will stop costing them loads of money, instead they will receive money for the engines, KERS and tech support, but will keep good exposure on 6 cars.

  11. Everytime I read about Alonso being angry and losing the championship brings a smile to my face ‘…incurring Alonso’s wrath’…It’s like poetry.
    Now delusional Aloso fans, don’t attack facebook page…lol

  12. Yes it’s a sad day, another one bites the dust! I loved the ever evolving r30 and was looking forward to seeing the team attack the coming season. Presumeably it will all be the same crew and “the artist formerly known as Renault” will continue it’s resurgence.
    From Renault’s point of view, they now have 6 engines on the grid ( as dominant as Mercedes ) so there is no need to fund a entire team, which in the past not only cost them money, but a lot of negative PR after incidents such as spygate.
    One question I’m interested in being answered is now that they have a ton of cash behind them, are they going to retain Petrov?

  13. I don’t like when a team leaves F1, especially if they are historic, and have won a lot. If it was 2003, when Renault was a new-Benetton, then OK, but now, after having won 2 titles, and having returned to its original colours I thought it would have stayed.

  14. after seeing what this team did after what happened the year before im sad to see them go. There not as big as mclaren/ferrari but f1 wont be the same without the Renault name

  15. I have been in the market for a new car, and after the impression that Robert Kubica and the Renault F1 team gave me in the 2010 season I have been seriously considering a Renault Clio Sport, and for me this is a BIG thing seeing as french cars are just not where I would ever put my wallet. But after becoming aware of Renaults ‘loss of interest’ I am once again turned off the aspect of buying a Renault… Now I will have to start looking for Golf Gti’s and Alfa mito’s again.

    1. I wouldn’t buy Renault, the best mass production car on the market is Lexus an than Toyota.

      For the car owners those cars are safe, reliable, comfortable, trouble free, and cheap to maintain, and stink free (no Diesels).

      The production technology those days means plenty of electronics and plenty of plastics- and both fail as all the way to bank.

      What else should we look for if we need a comfortable and economical transportation?

      I own a Lexus with V8 4.0 l and will not trade for Mercedes or BMW!

      Most important the Merc and BMW fall a part and are very expensive to maintain!

      Any other brand I would consider would be Porche Cayene, but that is really a waste of doe!

      I would never buy AUDI and I would not like to support the ex Nazzi Technology.

      French and Italian cars are falling a part.

      Jaguar never was reliable and very expensive.

      I like Aston Martin and Bugatti
      but I wouldn’t like invest and buy just to drive a Korean, Chinese, Hindu or top of the VolksWagen brand:)

      Then I would prefer American wheels, but LeXus is the sole intelligent choice.!

  16. Keith Collantine proved with this stupid write up that does not understand at all the business of racing by saying that “Renault lose interest in F1 despite strong season”.

    Renault never lost any interest, Renault will benefit financially from the deal devoting itself to manufacturing the racing engines while their name will be on a several teams instead of only one.

    Renault could not benefit from any aerodynamic technology which they do not mastered as of yet.

    Renault won championship with the engines in Red Bull team and Renault team overall.

    The old conservative approach is always the best : “do what you do the best”, so Renault should continue to beat Ferrari and Mercedes with power Plants and give chances to others to master the aerodynamics as it was in case of red Bull!

    So this way Renault is still the winner!

    It is business, it is about money!

    Name RENAULT will not disappear, while the money will flow from a deep pockets of Malaysian sponsors until 2017.

    Every one benefits from it except Robert Kubica!

    He is the best and he deserves the best car available on the circuit!

    1. Keith Collantine proved with this stupid write up that does not understand at all the business of racing by saying that “Renault lose interest in F1 despite strong season”. […] Name RENAULT will not disappear

      I said “dilute”, not “disappear”. Changing a car that is clearly branded as a Renault to one that is clearly branded as a Lotus represents a diminution of their involvement. I think it’s fair to describe that as “losing interest”.

      1. You are correct that you’ve said dilute, buit I said it wouldn’t disapeear.

        “Today’s news that Renault has sold its remaining shares in the team to Genii Capital and Group Lotus have bought into them, signals a further dilution of Renault’s Formula 1 activity.”

        The problem might NOT be of loosing interest but rather a dedication to built better power plants, and financially profit from it instead of paying for promotion.

        It is all about money and the art of marketing.

        Saying so Renault could devote itself toward building the best power Plant instead of trailing behind spending millions on aerodynamics they have not mastered as of yet.

        That is NOT diluting the interests, it is reinforcing the interests in building the best Power Plant which could beat Ferrarri, Mercedes, McLaren, and Cosworth.

        I said DO what you do the best and profit from it.

        Lotus can devote itself to aerodynamics and suspension not worrying about costs of improving reliable Power Plant.

        It is SPECIALIZATION versus

        And the winner is the one who does what he always do the best!

        That is my point.

        For cash strangled Renault it is the same game expect that at the expense of someone else.

        It is a strictly the money game and not the interest game.

        The interest is not at all “diluted” or lesser than ever before.

        It is rather the financial stability for next seven years, with smooth cash flow, with which Lopez and Renault was struggling!

        Lopez was forced to take a credit loan at Lithuanian bank AB Snoras , risking loosing the team if not paid!

        So you need to look at the things with open mind, and not with opinions ignoring such important financial facts.

        “Diluting the interests” as you said means really “securing very strong finances”, so be first objective and not just misleadingly distracting!

        For Renault it is NOT at all loosing interest but properly stating securing the financing without any headaches which assure and guarantee continuation of racing!

        The flat outright well known hand wrestling with corporate ******** in case of BMW Sauber destroyed one of the raising teams, and lack of finances in the case of Renault could destroy the second.

        So in the best interest of all, Renault secured financing of Formula for next seven years, one with average cost of about 450 millions €uro per year!

        That is a real boost not a delusion of “dilution” as you are calling it!

        Money talk and their lack make all to walk … away!

        Is it so damn difficult to understand?

        Keith Collantine if you pertain to be an insider, and an expert you should now it better, instead of forgetting that continuation of racing is only cash dependent.

        The best comparison was with the financial problems of HONDA and than TOYOTA teams!

        Honda did not left F1 because they interests were diluted, contrary, they fought as they could, but they luck was not as fortunate as in the case of Renault, they just run out of badly needed cash!

        Saying so learn how to be objective and not opinionated for cause.

        1. However you spin it, Renault’s announcement on Wednesday marked a shift away from them being known and recognised as Renault to them being recognised as a different team, which represents a further lessening of their F1 involvement, which justifies the headline.

          1. I agree. “Group Lotus hints at full
            Renault team takeover” – Autosport. It’s obvious they want to make it pure Lotus. Renault are aware but they don’t care.

          2. Well isn’t a full takeover, essentially? The only reason Renault will have their name on the car next year is because there is a Renault engine, and I suppose gearbox making up the back end of the car.

          3. “However you spin it,…”
            Did I?

            Renault’s announcement on Wednesday marked a shift away from them being known and recognised as Renault to them being recognised as a different team, which represents a further lessening of their F1 involvement,

            Disagree, should Renault lessened their interest they wouldn’t any more produce the Power plants for formula.

            The fact that Renault shifted its interests to F1 engine engine development contradicts your assumptions.
            It is the ONLY as I wrote the financial matter rather than the change of interests!

            It is the engine which powers the chassis, not the chassis which powers the engine! The success of the team relies om the reliability of the Power Plant, and not on reliability of chassis.

            So it is well understood not only by me that you would defend your assumptions, even when they are totally groundless, just for the sake of saving your face.

            The change of colors suggests the change of teams, but the name Renault was not dropped from the team name.
            So in my opinion it does NOT
            justifies the headline “Renault lose interest in F1 ….. despite strong season.

  17. So now as I stepped on your toes .. “says:
    Your comment is awaiting moderation. ”

    is that a fair deal?

  18. If they want to achieve more in 2011, they should drop Petrov, because he isn’t a good driver at all, and won’t help in the constructor’s championship, never mind development of the car. P.S. Kimi Raikkonen said he will not drive for Renault in 2011, so now when the team is called Lotus maybe he will change his mind :D

    1. I disagree!
      Don’t ever judge the rookie in his first season!

      Problem with Petrov that coming from soviet union he have had no opportunity to get the experience as other drivers from the west ever have had! That was a learning curve for him, while he was taking to many risks trying to prove himself!

      Petrov have not yet learned to maintain the tire temperature, so without the grip on the slicks he made very same errors as many rookies do before they learn to finish each and every race!

      Petrov just wanted to prove to others that he is very good and than that was his greater error.

      One does not need to prove him self to others, one must believe in his skills and do the best he can, and be free of any errors! The difference is that Petrov car was not as fast as Kubica’s, was substantially slower, he wanted to go faster, and he couldn’t.

      Petrov will be very good, in the next season, having good wheels he should be no worst than 8 – 10 th, and that is a great start for a rookie. Problem with Petrov that he needs more experience behind the wheel of F1 and learn how to maintain proper tire temperature!

      Petrov did not have a good race engineer, in deed if not for the lack of tires grip on unbalanced Renault, was the best between all the rookies entering F-1 for past two seasons! He will be a lot better in the next season, once he understood that it is all in the tire grip.

      Bridgestones are a very poor quality tires, and they should never be used in F1 races.

      I personally like the best Michelins, and that will be always the tire of my choice.

      Although we all already know Kubica have NO match in F1, Petrov is a great choice as a Kubicas partner. One of the reasons is that Kubica and Petrov have similar body frame and it is easier to develop car for them, than if there should be a difference in their body frames.

      On other hand should Kubica be in front of Petrov it will work to advantage of Kubica, as to overtake Petrov is not easy so he can hold short many drivers behind him. That needs to be poperly explored by the team engineers. Even Alonso with a faster car was unable to overtake Petrov in Abu Dhabi, He stopped very effectively Alonso, that cost Alonso the title, due to Ferrarri very poorly planned strategy.

      Petrov wasn’t intimidated by Schumacher attempts to overtake him, already in a couple of races put Schumacher where he belongs …. on the spectators seats!

      On other hand over estimated Lewis Hamilton should be crowned as the stupidest ever driver in entire history of Formula one. While Hamilton was seating an the top of a rocket propelled only by his ego.

      Beside it because of Petrov entry to Formula One, there will be the first F1 track in Russia.

      Petrov allows access to the team he is racing for, for wonderful commercial entree on a soviet market, where there is now plenty of free floating money, and the soviets with their F1 track are joining Formula One. That mean huge sales specially for automotive products on the soviet market.

      Petrov showed to all of us at Abu Dhabi that he is a lot better driver than Schumacher, except he was still taking to high risks for which he wasn’t yet fully prepared !

      The fame of kimi is already over, now it is Kubicas world!

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