Motor racing-Renault's F1 future a question of governance - Ghosn

Reuters

By Alan Baldwin

LONDON, June 28 (Reuters) - Renault are more likely to quit Formula One or buy a team than remain just an engine supplier but the final decision depends also on the governance of the sport, chief executive Carlos Ghosn said on Sunday.

The French manufacturer currently supplies only the two Red Bull-owned teams and its involvement beyond 2016, when the contracts expire, has been the subject of much speculation as the relationship has become stretched to breaking point.

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Red Bull, who won four successive drivers' and constructors' titles between 2010 and 2013 with Renault, have publicly blamed the engine for their recent lack of success.

Ghosn told a news conference at the London ePrix, the last round of the new electric Formula E series that Renault is increasingly committed to, that the company would honour existing F1 contracts. The rest was undecided.

"When you are a developer and seller of engines, you have the privilege to be forgotten when you win and to be highlighted when you lose," he observed.

"We are not discarding anything. We can be out. We can, less likely, continue to be only an engine developer. Or we can own a team. So all the options are open. And we are analysing all the different options for the future."

Ghosn said a decision would be made in a matter of months.

Renault won championships in 2005 and 2006 but quit as a constructor at the end of 2010 after a Singapore Grand Prix race-fixing scandal, with the team rebranded as Lotus.

"It makes sense for us depending on what kind of governance we have in front of us. That's why it's taking some time," said Ghosn.

"We need to try and understand where the governance of Formula One goes before we decide what way we want to take. The governance of racing is extremely important."

Ghosn said that meant a satisfactory return on their investment rather than who ran or controlled the sport.

"It's not about who does what, that's not our issue. Our issue is we come and know exactly how much we spend and invest," he said.

"We know how much we can be sponsored through marketing, but also there is a sharing of the TV rights which needs to be in a certain way following a more rational track where people who are investing the money and making the show can get a fair return on this investment."

"The question is 'Is it worth it?' You are engaging hundreds of engineers, putting in millions of euros and deviating a lot of your technical resources. You need a return." (Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Toby Davis)

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