Coronavirus: Renault furloughs ‘vast majority’ of UK staff

Renault says “the vast majority” of staff at its UK Formula 1 base have been put on enforced absence until at least the end of May.

It is applying for the government furlough scheme, which guarantees employees 80% of their earnings up to a maximum of £2,500 a month.

Renault said it would top up the government money so all staff receive at least 80% of their salaries.

The company will review its position as the coronavirus crisis develops.

The move means the “vast majority” of its staff will have been on “total shutdown” from 1 April, Renault said.

In addition to its measures at its factory at Enstone in Oxfordshire, Renault said its engine base at Viry-Chatillon near Paris was put on a part-time schedule on 6 April for a period that will last at least 12 weeks.

“This decision was taken in consultation with employee representatives and was supported by a solidarity agreement aimed to protect the company and its employees,” Renault said in a statement.

Renault Sport managing director Cyril Abiteboul, the company’s F1 team principal, said: “The very difficult human and sanitary circumstances that we are experiencing and the strict lockdown in France and England, as well as in most Grand Prix-organising countries, do not yet allow us to measure the impact on our sport.

“We therefore must use all the measures at our disposal to get through this prolonged period of uncertainty and inactivity as best as we can, while protecting the whole team we have built over the past four years.”

Renault are the fourth team to say they are putting a significant number of staff on furlough, following McLaren, Williams and Racing Point.

F1, which is facing a significant drop in all its revenue streams, has already taken a series of cost-cutting measures in the face of the first nine races of the season being called off and uncertainty as to when and whether it can start again this year.

A major rules change for 2021 has been postponed until 2022 and teams will use the same cars next year as they built for this year, among other detail changes.

In addition, F1 bosses are discussing a move to lower the budget cap from its current level of $175m (£137.9m) when it comes into force next year.

F1 says it is considering “all possibilities” as it seeks to restart its season later in the summer, including races behind closed doors.

Managing director Ross Brawn says he believes the sport can hold a valid world championship season even if racing cannot start until October.

Source: BBC Sports