Sidepodcast - All for F1 and F1 for all

Bob Bell leaves Renault (and Kimi says no) - Changes at the Enstone team, as Räikkönen hits out

Published by Christine

Bob Bell in the Renault garage in 2006
Bob Bell in the Renault garage in 2006Credit: Charles Coates/LAT Photographic

Renault have decided to take the place of Lotus as hoarders of the headlines today, with the announcement that Managing Director Bob Bell has left the team, and Éric Boullier will be taking his place with immediate effect.

There's no reason given as to why this has happened so suddenly, but it looks to have been something that was always coming, as Genii boss Gérard Lopez refers to this year as a "transitionary" one.

We would like to thank Bob Bell for his contribution to the performance of the team and for helping see us through a period of transition since Genii Capital became a shareholder in the Renault F1 Team. We are entrusting the post of Managing Director to Éric Boullier and we have every confidence that, under his leadership, we will achieve our racing objectives.

- Gérard Lopez

It's a shame that Bob Bell has gone from the team. He has always appeared to be a nice chap, and he has a fabulous name. Renault are really working on creating a new image, though, and it's time for new faces to take the helm.

Meanwhile, the talks with Räikkönen for a potential race drive next year have officially come to an end, as the Finnish driver put pay to any more rumours. In an interview with newspaper Turun Sanomat, he offered up some surprising (but understandable) reasons.

I am very disappointed with how they have used my name for their own marketing. I have never even seriously considered driving for Renault, and I can assure you that I am 100 per cent sure that I will not drive for Renault next season.

- Kimi Räikkönen

The team had been dropping Kimi's name at every possible opportunity, and if Kimi ever does make his comeback, it looks like Renault have burned their bridges. They may end up keeping Petrov for a bit longer than they'd hoped!