Renault Sport to drop support for Formula Renault 3.5

The Renault Sport group have informed the teams and competitors in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series that their support for the series will end at the end of the 2015 season.

Despite the manufacturers withdrawal, the series is expected to continue, with joint promoters RPM favourites to retake the leadership of the series, having done so previously in the series’ previous guises of Open Fortuna by Nissan and World Series by Nissan between 1998 and 2004 before Renault’s eleven-year tenure.

Renault’s decision to withdraw is thought to be because of the imminent arrival of a FIA-backed Formula 2 Series, while marketing and commercial reasons are also likely to have been included in their thought process.

Whilst the backing for the premiere series of the World Series by Renault format is ending, Renault sport will still focus on the supporting Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 Series, and the new-for-2015 RS.01 Trophy.

A meeting to work out the future of the series will take place in Spain next week, with RPM being joined by Renault Sport and team representatives to work out the next step.

Discussions are likely to include the relationship between the Eurocup series and FR3.5, especially with the champion of Eurocup currently winning €500,000 towards a 3.5 series drive.

The current line-up of teams in Formula Renault 3.5 are likely to continue for 2016, with one team boss bullish about the future of the series.

“All the teams have said they’re continuing,” said one team boss to Autosport.

“Our proposals include awarding a €600,000 cash prize to the FR3.5 champion, either to be spent bridging the gap to a Formula 2 budget or to be spent on sportscars, while also awarding a €200,000 prize to FR3.5’s top rookie, to keep him in the category.

“That had the teams’ backing. We know the series works, and the interest is there from the driver market.”