Formula One Awaits Renault Decision

Negative CamberCorrespondent INovember 4, 2009

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - NOVEMBER 01:  Romain Grosjean of France and Renault drives during the Abu Dhabi Formula One Grand Prix at the Yas Marina Circuit on November 1, 2009 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
Clive Mason/Getty Images

There is a lot of hyperbole surrounding today’s Renault “emergency meeting” to discuss its future in Formula One.

Given Toyota’s exit, and Bridgestone’s promised departure after 2010, it is easy to see why people would be expecting the worst.

All the headlines have not helped. The spin, naturally, is “Renault considers F1 exit” or the like.

Putting my dusty journalist hat on, I think that is true, and mostly valid, but for the past month the signs have been pointing in the direction of Renault staying in Formula One. The team said it would be staying, after its Singapore crisis, and then went out and signed Robert Kubica as a solid replacement for the departing Fernando Alonso.

The latest is we will not be hearing anything official today.

In the past few hours, however, I have seen some of the more mainstream press harden their position on a Renault exit. My best example is the BBC.

Earlier, it posted a blog entry that suggested Renault would decide to stay. It even noted that we might see Timo Glock announced as Kubica’s partner on Thursday. [I mentioned that blog in a post here on a different topic.]

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The current BBC story doesn’t mention Glock, and overall seems to be learning more toward a Renault pull-out:

Renault have held an emergency board meeting in Paris to discuss pulling out of Formula 1 with immediate effect.

The French car company was considering whether to remain in the sport with its own team, switch to simply being an engine supplier or quit altogether.

The outcome of Wednesday’s meeting was not immediately forthcoming.

News of Renault’s possible exit comes on the day Toyota said it was quitting F1, becoming the third car company to leave the sport in the last 11 months.

Renault’s emergency board meeting was attended by F1 team bosses Bob Bell and Jean-Francois Caubet, although neither man was allowed to take part in the debate about the team’s future.

Renault have had their least competitive F1 season since 2001 and finished eighth out of 10 teams in the constructors’ championship after Sunday’s final race of the season in Abu Dhabi.

We will keep watching the rumor mill. But it does look like it will be Thursday before we hear officially.