Renault to receive historic team status


Should Renault choose to return to Formula 1 they will be declared a historic team and receive a large financial boost.

Renault, who currently provide engines to both Red Bull and Toro Rosso, have yet to decided their future when their current engine supplier contract ends in 2016.

It is largely thought that they will return to the sport as a manufacturer by buying out Lotus. Top officials at the French company believe that Renault will be considered a historic team should they return. This is due to their participation in Formula 1 since 1977, missing out on just five seasons over that period. 

Bernie Ecclestone, Formula 1 supremo,  has confirmed that Renault would indeed be considered a historic team if they do return to the sport. 

"Yes. If they take over Lotus and do exactly what Mercedes and Red Bull did, that would be it, so yeah, sure," Ecclestone told Autosport.

"They [Renault] have talked about perhaps taking over Lotus, so there is a way in for them, and we'd love to have them on board."

Currently Formula One Management (FOM) pay all teams on the grid 65% of revenues. However, Ferrari, Mercedes, McLaren, Red Bull and Williams, considered the sport's elite teams, receive 15% of that figure in the form of a premium payment. The total amount received by each team is based on their historical contribution to the sport.

If Renault were declared an historic team, they would join this elite group, although it is thought that all other teams in the paddock would have to agree to this.

Ecclestone however, believes that this is not the case. 

"If they [Renault] do what they have to do to be in line with those people I don't think we would need anybody to agree. I think we could deal with it easily enough."

Ultimately everything depends on the choices Renault make about their future. Cyril Abiteboul, managing director at the company, feels that proper funding would be important should they choose to return. 

"We know the sport well enough – we've been a part of it for 38 years – that without proper funding in place there is no story, no performance," the Frenchman told Autosport

"One thing we need to be mindful of, and is part of the evaluation we are doing – which is a constant evaluation – is to make sure there is sufficient financial resources in place to satisfy the expectations at the top level.

"We have absolutely no intention of participating, like we are doing now, of making up the numbers on the grid.

"Given the legacy we have in the sport, any project of Renault in Formula 1, would have to be a top-performing one.

"Any financial recognition of the value of Renault in Formula 1, not just as an engine supplier but more specifically as a team, is clearly going to assist.

"It's not just money which is a crucial element in Formula 1, because there are always other issues to deal with, but certainly money is necessary.

"So this type of comment from Bernie is obviously a positive one."