Renault has picked 36-year company veteran Jerome Stoll to increase the transfer of technology from the automaker's successful racing teams to its production vehicles. The recently revived Alpine sporty subbrand is expected to be the main beneficiary of this cross fertilization. As president of Renault Sport Racing, Stoll will also leverage the brand’s return to Formula One to boost its global brand awareness, especially in China, where the company just began local production. Stoll, who was Renault's chief performance officer from September 2013 until February, spoke with Automotive News Europe Editor Luca Ciferri in Monte Carlo, Monaco, at the unveiling of the Alpine Vision concept.
What does this new focus on motorsport mean for Renault?
It shows the passion and the pride the brand has for competition, which is part of the Renault DNA considering that we have won world titles in Formula One, the 24 Hours of Le mans and so on. We are returning to F1 [with a team rather than being an engine supplier only], we are reorganizing our RS road car division and we are relaunching the Alpine brand.
Does Renault's F1 involvement clash with its desire to be a world leader in electromobility?
First of all, we also compete in Formula E [the global EV race series]. Secondly, the new hybrid powertrains used in F1 have slashed fuel consumption up to 40 percent compared with the normally aspirated engines used in the past while keeping the same level of performance. That makes F1 a unique laboratory to test hybrid powertrain solutions, which will be transferred to production cars. Last but not least, we just started local production in China. Being in F1 is a great brand awareness builder in the world's largest auto market.