People who say that the Renault launch in Paris today was a sham are looking at the situation with their telescopes the wrong way round. Yes, for F1 junkies, there was little to reveal apart from the new driver and the new team structure – which is plenty. The car was not a new car. How could it be? The new car is still being built and it is on a very tight schedule if it is to be ready in the time available. The decision to switch engines was taken so late in the day, that this was inevitable. The livery shown was different, but it seems that it probably won’t be the definitive look for the season. Again, why should it be? Renault needs to make sure that it has the right look for the years ahead, rather than for a rainy day in Guyancourt. The thing that the junkies forget is that there is a bigger picture here. Today was big news for F1. It was the confirmation that a major car manufacturer has decided to wade into the sport. That is great news. It confirms that F1 remains an impressive way for car manufacturers to market themselves.
“For over a century Renault’s company strategy has centred on motorsport and harnessing its benefits for increased road car sales,” says Jérome Stoll, the Chief Performance Officer of Renault and President of Renault Sport Racing. “The decision to return to team ownership is based on a solid, well-considered business strategy that we firmly believe will bring long term gains to Renault and other members of the Renault-Nissan Alliance. The benefits of F1 are undeniable: access to a large, worldwide TV and online audience, huge growth potential, access to developing markets and fast-paced, dynamic competition with some of the world’s leading manufacturers. Equally there is a real opportunity to showcase French creative technical excellence while testing avant-garde new innovations in the toughest arenas. Through our competitive activities, millions of Renault road users are already enjoying the benefits of turbocharging, greater fuel economy and highly sophisticated electrical vehicles that include improved powertrain architecture definition for efficiency optimization. Now, through Renault Sport Racing, we can go beyond and harness areas such as aerodynamics, driver response and improved suspension. The opportunities are almost endless and will serve as a great motivator for the technical teams across Renault Sport Cars and the Renault brand.
“On the other side, F1 is a powerful marketing tool and one each of our markets will be able to dial into. The announcement was greeted with huge enthusiasm internally and I am very much looking forward to a range of innovative campaigns around our equally exciting new products.”
So, yes folks, there was a message today. A good message. Be positive. There is life in the old dog yet…