SUZUKA, Japan (Reuters) – The Renault team confirmed on Friday that it had signed the former head of Formula One governing body’s technical department as its new executive director.
Marcin Budkowski, who left his role at the International Automobile Federation (FIA) last week, will oversee all activities related to the development and production of the Oxfordshire-based team’s chassis, Renault said in a statement.
“Marcin’s mission will be to continue the strengthening of Enstone to enable Renault to join the top Formula One teams by 2020…,” said Cyril Abiteboul, managing director of Renault Sport Racing, the Formula One squad’s parent division.
The team did not say when the Pole, who worked at several teams before joining the FIA, will start his role but he is barred from starting any new employment for the next three months.
In his role with the FIA, Budkowski would have had access to the latest technical developments devised by the teams, who regularly consult with the governing body on their legality.
Renault’s move to sign him is likely to trigger a storm of opposition with team principals having already said it would be unacceptable for someone in Budkowski’s position to begin employment with a competitor after such a short hiatus.
“We take major issue with that if he does end up with another team,” Red Bull’s Christian Horner told reporters at last week’s Malaysian Grand Prix.
“In the role that Marcin has been responsible for, he has been in an extremely privileged position and extremely recently he has been in people’s wind tunnels and looking at intimate details of knowledge of next year’s cars.”
Renault returned to Formula One with a works effort last year after buying the struggling Lotus squad.
The team have made major progress in 2017, scoring 42 points after 15 of this season’s 20 races compared to just eight in total last year, and are currently seventh of 10 outfits in the overall constructors’ standings.
The team, which won two drivers and constructors’ titles in 2005 and 2006, are highly ambitious and will have highly rated Spaniard Carlos Sainz joining them next season alongside German Nico Hulkenberg.
“Marcin’s arrival is excellent news and further proof of our determination to achieve our goals,” Abiteboul added.
Reporting by Abhishek Takle