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Renault president Ghosn confirms funding for F1.

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http://www.crash.net/news_View~t~Renault-p...1~id~131165.htm

Renault president Carlos Ghosn has frequently been portrayed as an opponent of the company's involvement in Formula One, but he gave the opposite impression when he met the press during the Monaco Grand Prix.

Only recently installed in the post of company president, Ghosn is renowned as a hard-headed businessman not afraid to take tough decisions in what he sees as the best interests of Renault as a whole, but insists that he will remain behind the F1 operation.

"When we are in Formula One, we want to be at the top level, and we will provide the necessary funding," Ghosn stressed, aware that the team has now signed up to the extended Concorde Agreement, which expires in 2012.

"The Renault-Nissan Alliance has the second-highest market capitalisation in the automotive industry, and it is second in terms of profitability, so providing a budget is not the issue. Indeed, we are in a stronger position than many of our competitors.

"Our team exists to achieve performance. We will not set a budget, and see how much we can achieve with it, but quite the reverse. The team is winning, they are doing a very good job, and we will give them the means to carry on doing so.

"We have a long-term perspective on F1. For me, personally, and for Renault, there was never uncertainty about our commitment to F1. We are here to attract people and promote our brand, and we are doing it with good results and in the right spirit. The question for Renault was, and is, how we convert that F1 involvement into growth for the brand. That will become concrete with Renault Contract 2009. There are a lot of cars arriving in the next three years that will benefit directly from the halo effect of our F1 victories."

Although all five GPMA members signed up to the commercial agreement at the same time, during the Spanish GP weekend, Renault was seen as a catalyst to the move, and Ghosn believes that the sport is better for it.

"Formula One now has a good commercial agreement in place, a good vision for the technology in the sport, and healthy competition - these are good signs for the future," he said, "I believe Formula One is getting stronger, and becoming increasingly popular, thanks to a healthy competitive situation.

"Four or five years ago, you knew who would be on pole and win. Now, there is more suspense, more competition, and at least three teams capable of winning at the highest level. That is important, because we are here for the public – to give them a good show including technology, including heroes and a competition between the teams."

The links between Renault and Nissan naturally lead to wider rivalries than just those on track in F1, and Ghosn appeared to be making a dig at another Japanese manufacturer when he paid tribute to his own team.

"The fact is that we have a professional team with gifted people, and they do not over-spend," he noted, "They are responsible. We are achieving the best results on one of the smallest budgets, and that is something that makes me very proud of the team. It would be embarrassing if things were the other way round, and we had the biggest budget with no results...."

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