Renault CEO: F1 an Investment

Renault is in Formula One as an investment and will stay for as long as there are clear benefits, the carmaker's president and chief executive Carlos Ghosn said on Sunday

Renault CEO: F1 an Investment

"We don't compete to make an average show," he told a news conference at the French Grand Prix, the Championship-leading carmaker's home race and the first that he has attended.

"We compete to make a strong show. We want the public, the fans, to recognise ... that our people fighting and competing are delivering their best. As long as we do this, we will compete."

Ghosn, in charge of Nissan before taking the top job at parent company Renault, was preceded in the Formula One paddock by a reputation as a tough cost-cutter with no great affection for motor sport. He said that was not true on a personal level.

"As an individual, I am very interested in motor sport," he declared. "I always have been. I follow races and in Japan I watched the Nissan races."

As company chief, he made clear however that his head would not be ruled by his heart.

"We are not in Formula One out of habit or tradition. We're here to show our talent and that we can do it properly," he said.

"Formula One is a cost if you don't get the results. Formula One is an investment if you do have them and know how to exploit them. If there is one team today that can say it is an investment, it is Renault because it is getting good results.

The team are leading the constructors' Championship with 76 points to McLaren's and Ferrari's 63 after winning five of the nine races so far this year.

Spain's Fernando Alonso, on pole at Magny-Cours for the second year in a row, leads the drivers' standings after four victories.

Commercial Benefits

Ghosn said it was important to transform the team's wins into commercial success away from the racetrack.

"It is an investment now and for the next few years. The question is how we can better exploit that and transform it into a brand image."

Asked whether Renault might move into the rally World Championship or other areas of motorsport, Ghosn said the priority was Formula One.

"For the moment the concentration is to put on a good performance in Formula One and get the best results. This is a priority in Renault. I don't think we should spread ourselves too thin," he said.

At Nissan, Ghosn said he had made completely different decisions about motor sport. One was to enter the Japanese GT formula which the company won in 2003 and 2004. The other was to pull out of the Dakar Rally.

He also withdrew the marque from the Le Mans 24 Hours sportscar race.

"I took Nissan out of Le Mans because I felt they had no chance given the technology that was needed and the organisation and the way it was run," he said.

"It's quite possible that we (Nissan) could come back. It's still on our radar."

 

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