Renault chief calls for calm

Renault president and CEO Carlos Ghosn has presented a calm front in the wake of the storm currently surrounding the manufacturer’s Formula One team.

Renault president and CEO Carlos Ghosn has presented a calm front in the wake of the storm currently surrounding the manufacturer’s Formula One team.

The marque is currently in turmoil following the departures of Flavio Briatore and Pat Symonds as team principal and executive director of engineering respectively.

Briatore is claiming he resigned in order to protect the team who have decided not to dispute allegations they conspired with former driver Nelson Piquet Jnr to cause a crash in last year’s Singapore Grand Prix.

Renault still face a World Motor Sport Council hearing in Paris on Monday following which sanctions will be imposed.

Responding to questions at the Frankfurt Motor Show, Ghosn said: “All I have asked is we do not react in the heat of the moment, that we examine the facts and look at exactly what happened.

“There are investigations under way, and we are doing them in collaboration with all the F1 authorities because I absolutely don’t want to rush into an interpretation one way or another.

“That’s what the team is doing under the responsibility of Bernard Rey (president of Renault F1), and I am confident when the facts are established, we can take a very clear decision.”

The team’s director general, Patrick Pelata, has admitted the loss of Briatore and Symonds is “a hard blow” for the team, confirming the flamboyant Italian did resign.

Pelata told RTL: “The team considered that there was fault, and with fault there is a penalty.

“Piquet had already left and Pat Symonds is gone. Flavio Briatore considered what was his moral responsibility, and he resigned.”

Aside from preparing for the extraordinary meeting of the WMSC, the team are also considering who should replace Briatore.

At present there are five names in the frame, with the most obvious being four-time world champion Alain Prost, who also ran his own F1 team from 1997 to 2001.

Olivier Quesnel has been mentioned given his success as boss of Citroen Racing and Peugeot Sport in the World Rally Championship.

Another possible contender is Frederic Vasseur, the team boss of ART which competes in GP2 and F3, whilst Craig Pollock and David Richards have also been mentioned.

Pollock was team principal of British American Racing for two years following their formation in 1999, and for many years worked as Jacques Villenueve’s manager.

Richards is currently the owner of Prodrive who earlier this year missed out on being granted a slot on next year’s F1 grid by the FIA.

The 57-year-old has previously worked as a team boss at Benetton and BAR, succeeding Pollock, whilst he also successfully ran the Subaru World Rally Championship team for many seasons.

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