Renault President Carlos Ghosn met the press on Sunday at the Monaco Grand Prix. Q: Mr Ghosn, what is your opinion on the current state of Formula 1? Carlos Ghosn: I believe Formula 1 is getting stronger, and becoming increasingly popular, ...
Renault President Carlos Ghosn met the press on Sunday at the Monaco Grand Prix.
Q: Mr Ghosn, what is your opinion on the current state of Formula 1?
Carlos Ghosn: I believe Formula 1 is getting stronger, and becoming increasingly popular, thanks to a healthy competitive situation. Four or five years ago, you knew who would be on pole and win. Now, there is more suspense, more competition, and at least three teams capable of winning at the highest level.
That is important, because we are here for the public -- to give them a good show including technology, including heroes and a competition between the teams. Formula 1 now has a good commercial agreement in place, a good vision for the technology in the sport, and healthy competition. These are good signs for the future.
Q: You mention the commercial deal that the Renault F1 Team signed two weeks ago. What is the perspective for Renault's commitment to Formula 1?
CG: We have a long-term perspective on Formula 1. For me personally, and for Renault, there was never uncertainty about our commitment to Formula 1. We are here to attract people and promote our brand, and we are doing it with good results and in the right spirit.
The question for Renault was and is how we convert that F1 involvement into growth for the brand. That will become concrete with Renault Contract 2009. There are a lot of cars arriving in the next three years that will benefit directly from the halo effect of our Formula 1 victories.
Q: Will Renault continue to provide the investment required to win?
CG: When we are in Formula 1, we want to be at the top level, and we will provide the necessary funding. The Renault-Nissan Alliance has the second-highest market capitalisation in the automotive industry, and it is second in terms of profitability. Providing a budget is not the issue, and indeed we are in a stronger position than many of our competitors.
Our team exists to achieve performance. We will not set a budget, and see how much we can achieve with it. Quite the reverse: the team is winning, they are doing a very good job, and we will give them the means to carry on doing so.
Q: So what about the 'efficiency' that the Renault F1 Team often highlights?
CG: The fact is that we have a professional team with gifted people, and they do not over-spend. They are responsible. We are achieving the best results on one of the smallest budgets, and that is something that makes me very proud of the team. It would be embarrassing if things were the other way round, and we had the biggest budget with no results.
Q: You have said that you want the Renault F1 Team to keep winning, yet it will lose a world champion at the end of the year. How will the team cope?
CG: I think that seeing people come and go is part of everyday life in Formula 1 -- it is not a disaster. When Renault put Alonso in the car, people did not know him, and he became champion surrounded by a good team.
I don't think an exceptional driver can win races surrounded by an ordinary group of people, he does it with an exceptional team, a good car, and the right technology. I have full trust in Alain (Dassas) and Flavio (Briatore) to find the best talent for our team, and I hope Renault's results in the future prove me right.