Renault has revealed details of its planned role for Marcin Budkowski, the ex-FIA Formula 1 technical director Renault controversially hired to join its burgeoning F1 team for 2018.
Following outcry from F1 rivals that Budkowski could take their secrets with him to Renault, having had access to details of teams’ future developments in his previous role checking eligibility for the FIA, Renault agreed to delay Budkowski’s arrival at Enstone until April 1.
Renault insists Budkowski will not be involved in 2018 chassis development until that date, but he joins Renault’s payroll this month, and he will begin work by learning Renault’s other motorsport activities and its corporate structure.
Renault F1 team boss Cyril Abiteboul insists the ex-FIA man has not been hired simply to help Renault copy rivals’ ideas.
“I can understand the scepticism of the teams, but we are not recruiting someone of the calibre of Marcin in a position of executive director just for what he knows of the other teams,” Abiteboul told Autosport, saying he believed Renault had agreed a plan for Budkowski’s employment with the FIA that was “extremely fair with everyone”.
“We are recruiting him for his capabilities, his experience, his skills.
“He’s someone coming with a fantastic CV, outside of Formula 1 also, and he’s a perfect fit for building the next stage of Renault in Formula 1.
“We are not interested in the secrets about the other cars, and I think a good demonstration is the fact we have accepted basically to keep him in isolation from any chassis development until April.
“The situation is he will actually be under our payroll from January onwards, but not involved in any Formula 1 chassis development.
“He will be involved in non-F1 work, focusing on the number of other racing activities we are doing.
“I need him also to understand the wider Renault organisation. There is an acclimatisation process before he can focus on the chassis development and operational activity he will be doing in Enstone from April onwards.”
Focus on long-term planning
Abiteboul said Budkowski’s core responsibilities would complement its existing technical structure because Renault wants him to focus on how the team organises itself to take the next step into title contention, leaving existing technical chiefs Nick Chester, Bob Bell and Remi Taffin to focus on current car performance.
“I’m interested in Marcin bringing us to the next level,” Abiteboul added.
“The job of Marcin is basically to move Enstone from being a very strong midfield contender to becoming a top team.
“Marcin will really be focused on building the organisation and the operation to make sure we are aligned with our ambition for 2020-2021, when we want to start fighting for the championship.
“I want Marcin to build the perfect Formula 1 team of the 21st century.”