Q & A with Renault's Caubet
||Friday, September 25th 2009, 12:45 GMT
Conducted and provided by the Renault press office.
Q. Jean-Francois, what are the first changes that have been made after the World Motor Sport Council?
Jean-Francois Caubet: We wanted to act quickly and put in place a temporary structure with two people in charge - Bob Bell and myself - because the team must continue to function. Clearly the team has been through a painful and humiliating shock, but we continue racing and have two main objectives: performance and financing. We will continue to improve the car until the end of the year, but our main efforts are now going into the 2010 car. That project is already well advanced and there will be a significant technical evolution.
Q. And what about the financing?
JFC: The current climate is very difficult for sponsors. Despite the significant reductions in costs, sponsors will not be able to fund the team's 2010 budget to the same level as 2009. We must therefore look for new financing methods. We could not do anything until we knew the outcome of the FIA World Motor Sport Council, but now we can resume our search.
Q. What lessons do you take from the scandal?
JFC: The team must rediscover the Renault culture. We don't want to return to ways of the 1980s when Renault corporate controlled the team. But we don't want to make the same mistakes that have come about by letting the team have 100 per cent autonomy.
Q. You made appointments internally - why?
JFC: There is no brief for finding a team principal and I have no comment to make on the names that have been put forward. We will look for someone when the responsibilities of the role have been finalised. That could be in December or in January. Paradoxically, we don't have a problem in the short term, but in the long term because the team principal has to look to the long term.
Q. What is Renault's future?
JFC: We will not make any official announcements because it would be the seventh such statement on the subject. Since 2002, we have been asked this question every three months. During these last few weeks, when we accepted that we were guilty, we have had two decisions to take. Either we would not cross the fire or we would. We finished by crossing. We came out heavily burnt, this is true, and the image of the team has been hurt. We have had very bad coverage in the world's press for the last two weeks, but we have crossed the fire and we are going ahead.
Q. What is the atmosphere like in the team?
JFC: There has been a lot of tension in the team. But since the 21st [the day of the World Motor Sport Council] the positivity and strength of the team has started to return. Today it's business as usual without asking questions. We are nevertheless still in a difficult situation as ING has departed, sponsorship and finances are difficult, and there are decisions over the business model of F1 in the longer term. These are serious questions which we must address and find answers.