In a press release today, Renault announced the sale of an 80% stake in their Formula 1 team to Genii Capital, a Luxemborg-based venture capital firm, headed by Gerard Lopez.
As reported in The Telegraph, the team’s statement said, “Renault have decided to continue their commitment to Formula One with the support of a new strategic partner, Genii Capital, a Luxembourg company specialising in new technologies, image management and motor sport. Renault should transfer to Genii Capital a large part of the Renault F1 Team and the two partners will look after the management together.”
As reported in The Guardian, Renault F1 team president Bernard Rey said of the acquisition, “I am delighted to welcome Genii Capital as our new strategic partner as I am sure that their enthusiasm and business expertise will create a new dynamic for the team, the staff, and our partners. Both partners will operate the team together. The letter of intent signed by the two companies should be concluded in early 2010.”
Although Renault will be the minority partner in the deal, they retain naming rights for the team at present. The team will continue to operate under the Renault marque.
Judging from the official statement, the team’s facility in Enstone, Oxon, UK, will be transferred to Genii. Renault will continue to supply engines from their facility in Viry-Châtillon, France.
In conjunction with this announcement, Renault confirmed that they would continue to supply engines to the Red Bull team in 2010. In a related statement, Red Bull Racing team principal Christian Horner said, “The 2009 season has been Red Bull Racing’s finest season to date. In one year, we’ve achieved six wins and four one-two finishes, none of which would have been possible without the excellent support and assistgance we have received from our partners at Renault. We are extremely happy with the way they work with us and are looking forward to continuing our fruitful partnership with Renault in 2010.”
While this would seem to settle one aspect of Renault’s future for the time being, the issue of their driver line-up for 2010 is not yet completely resolved. Thus far, Renault have only confirmed former BMW pilot Robert Kubibca for one of their seats in 2010. Kubica and his management team, however, are a bit gunshy after their recent experience at BMW. They are asking for further assurances of Renault’s long-term viability before Kubica commits to racing for the team next season and beyond. Kubica’s manager Daniele Morelli told BBC Sport, “It’s a positive reaction but we have asked for more information.”