A Kubica/Kobayashi line-up could only be good for Renault long term. Recently, I believe that Renault have seriously compromised themselves in terms of driver line-ups over the past few years, and I agree with many that in 2010 it could be a very big step forwards for Renault.
Before, Renault has had one great driver and one (to put it nicely) not so good driver. Of course, in 2010 they won?t have a certain 2 times champion in Mr. Alonso, but they?d have a much stronger line-up, potentially, in Kubica and Kobayashi. It seems that Renault over the past few years shot themselves through the foot, having a driver they knew that, unless strange situations happened, would never beat Alonso in out right pace, thus avoiding a similar situation to what happened in 2007 at McLaren. Unfortunately for Renault, the constructors? title is dependent on 2 cars finishing races (and in the points). As good as Alonso is, it doesn?t help matters that Renault have been building tractors instead of cars since 2007.
As far as I am aware, pretty much every F1 fan in Poland supports Kubica. And I could expect that very soon, if Kobayashi did get the race seat, it would put a lot of much needed interest in Japan again. Kobayashi could be the next Sato in terms of hype. Of course, if Sato came back (wish I hope he does) it would be a double bonus for F1 in terms of the Japanese fan base.
But my point is that with these 2 drivers having big fan bases in 2 different countries, it would surely help Renault sell cars across the globe. I?m not entirely sure if they sell Renaults in Japan, but surely if Kobayashi lives up to the performance he showed in those last 2 races, it could provide an opportunity for Renault to do just that.
In terms of funding, it?s another plus. Of course, ING has left, but if they had Kobayashi, it is likely that Panasonic would go with him. If reports are to go by, they still very much want to be in F1 and I?d be very surprised if they didn?t put mega bucks in to sponsor Renault. If there was any concerns over the price of running the team, Panasonic could prove crucial in that area.
Pull out? Why? I think 2010 could be a new start for Renault. Already the scars of the crash-gate are starting to fade, and with, potentially, a completely new driver line up it is a new age for them. I?d be very surprised if they did leave, because for one motor sport is firmly in Renault?s blood, not just across F1, but in GP2 as an engine supplier and in junior formular such as FRenault 3.5 and 2.0 and the Renault Clio Cup.
To sum it up, I think it will be a win/win situation if Renault stay and manage to capture Kobayashi. I think it will be a lose/lose situation if they leave or re-brand as Gordini, but only time will tell what will really happen. Watch this space.
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