Hot on the heels of Wednesday’s announcement that Toyota was withdrawing from Formula One comes new rumours that Renault is also seriously considering leaving the championship before next season.
It is believed Toyota’s exit sparked an emergency meeting at Renault to decide the French company’s future in the sport.
Chief Executive Carlos Ghosn refused to speculate on the rumours, telling a press conference:
“You will have to be patient. We will make an announcement on our participation in Formula One before the end of the year.”
Ferrari and Mercedes-Benz are the only other manufacturers left in the series after BMW and Honda succumbed to financial pressures earlier this year.
Tyre supplier Bridgestone also will also disappear from F1 after 2010 as it declined to renew its contract.
Last month Renault announced that Robert Kubica would replace two-time World Champion Fernando Alonso as he heads to Ferrari next season.
There was optimism among senior team members for the challenges of the new year, but now it seems time will tell whether they even begin their 11th season since returning to the sport in 2000.
One way or the other, Renault’s decision will have an enormous impact on the immediate and long-term future of F1, which continues to endure perhaps the most calamitous and controversial year in its history.
by Tim Beissmann