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September 28th, 2009
Renault’s podium finish in the Singapore Grand Prix will help makes it future in Formula 1 even more secure, claims its stand-in managing director Jean-Francois Caubet.
After a turbulent few weeks for the team in the wake of the race-fix controversy from Singapore 12 months ago, Fernando Alonso helped deliver the French car manufacturer an emotional and crucial first podium finish of the season in Sunday’s race.
And although Renault had already decided several weeks ago that its involvement in the race-fix matter would not force it out of the sport, Caubet admits that the third placed finish will be a big boost in convincing chiefs that remaining in F1 was the right decision.
“For Renault it’s important to keep going because everybody asked the question, is Renault stopping or not?” Caubet told AUTOSPORT shortly after speaking to Renault F1 president Bernard Rey by telephone.
“It’s not the question for the headquarters it is a question of the team. I think in F1 if you have good results you have no problem, if you start to have bad results then it is a full stop. And we were at the limit.”
Caubet praised the motivation and attitude of team members in delivering such a strong result in difficult circumstances in Singapore – and thinks the situation can only improve under its new temporary management structure.
“[Team principal] Bob Bell is managing very well,” said Caubet. “Okay, Pat [Symonds] has left but we’ve got a number two, so it’s not a big change.
“Flavio is a big character. I think we won two titles with him and we must respect him. But the problem is not this one. The problem is to build the future a little bit differently, more in the Renault culture because we have been in F1 for 35 years now and the Renault culture is probably different – not fundamentally different, but different. And we must share with Renault a lot of things that we did not share.”
Caubet also said that he had no problem with Alonso dedicating his podium finish to Flavio Briatore – even though the former team principal has been banned from F1 for life by the FIA for fixing last year’s Singapore GP.
“Not at all,” he said when asked if it was a problem what Alonso did. “We won two world championships with Flavio and we will keep a very good relationship with Flavio.
“A few people made a mistake and that is the price of the mistake, that is all. We are here because Flavio built the team and Fernando. That’s the reality and we don’t want to suggest anything else. But we want to turn the page.”