Renault set to fight on?

REN2009031730289 PVRenault chief offers glimmer of hope for beleaguered French team.

Renault’s F1 managing director Jean-Francois Caubet has eased speculation that Renault is on the verge of following Toyota out of Formula One by insisting that the French team has a working budget in place for 2010 which will keep it in the sport.

Following Toyota’s shock exit from the sport on Wednesday, all eyes turned to Renault as its board held an emergency meeting in Paris to discuss the team’s future in Formula One in the wake of the global credit crisis, which continues to take its toll on the motoring industry.

Renault is widely believed to be next in line to follow Toyota given its involvement in the Singapore Grand Prix race-fixing scandal, the loss of its title sponsor ING, and the manufacturer’s dire financial situation brought about by falling car sales.

But Renault F1’s managing director Jean-Francois Caubet offered a glimmer of hope on Thursday by saying that the team had secured a working budget for 2010 which would keep the team and the drivers on the grid next year.

“We have already contracted our drivers, had our budget approved and are enrolled in the world championship,” the Frenchman told daily sports newspaper L’Équipe. “Season 2010 has begun already. We will not be world champions in 2010, but we do have hopes to be much improved.”

An official announcement from Renault regarding their position is expected to come before the end of the year.

Renault Chief Executive Carlos Ghosn confirmed that no decision had been reached during the crisis talks in Paris.

“You will have to be patient,” Ghosn told reporters. “We will make an announcement on our participation in Formula One before the end of the year.”

Should Renault pull out of Formula One it would become the fourth major car manufacturer to do so in the past eleven months joining Honda, BMW Sauber, and most recently Toyota.