Renault F1’s managing director Jean-Francois Caubet has denied claims the team is set to follow Toyota in quitting the sport.
The Renault board held an extraordinary meeting yesterday to discuss the firm’s future in light of Toyota’s pull out and has been widely tipped to follow suit after its reputation was tarnished following the ‘crashgate’ scandal.
Speaking to French sports daily L'Equipe, Caubet insisted the team remained committed to the sport and plans for next season were already well under way.
“We have already contracted our drivers, had our budget approved and are enrolled in the world championship,” he said. “Season 2010 has begun already.”
In the fall out from the ‘crashgate’ scandal at last year’s Singapore grand prix, the team was handed a two year suspended ban from the sport and it lost title sponsor ING.
ING has since been replaced with watchmaker TW Steel, while Robert Kubica has been signed to replace Fernando Alonso.
Renault’s CEO Carlos Ghosn is banking the company’s future on all-electric vehicles, four of which were unveiled at the Frankfurt motor show in September. The F1 programme would appear to be at odds with this strategy, but Cuabet insists Ghosn is fully behind the team’s efforts.
He said Ghosn expects the team to “return to a good level” next year, although the firm isn’t expecting to be world champions as it was in 2005 and 2006 with Alonso.
“We will not be world champions in 2010, but we do have hopes to be much improved,” said Caubet.
A decision on the outcome of the board meeting is expected later today, but a Renault spokesman downplayed its significance saying it had been planned for several weeks.