May 13, 2017 / 10:59 AM / in 2 months

No Brexit contingency plan, says Renault F1 boss

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Renault Formula One pit crew practices changing tyres in the pit ahead of the Singapore F1 Grand Prix Night Race in Singapore, September 15, 2016.Jeremy Lee

BARCELONA (Reuters) - Renault, who have a British-based Formula One team and engine factory in France, have no plan to remove resources or staff as a result of Brexit, according to Renault Sport F1 managing director Cyril Abiteboul.

Asked about the impact on the team of Britain's departure from the European Union in 2019, the Frenchman said British-based teams with sponsorship contracts in dollars had seen an immediate benefit due to the weaker pound.

"We have to see long-term how that evolves because that is not a situation that is sustainable," he added.

"Then we will have to look at the movement of staff, because clearly we need to attract talent from everywhere around the world and we need to make sure that the UK remains a place that is welcoming talents from wherever they are.

"We have lots of movement of staff between France and the UK. That’s something we will look at carefully."

Former champions Renault have increased their staff at the Enstone factory by 20 percent since they bought the failing Lotus team at the end of 2015 and have said they expect to have some 650 employees there by the end of this year.

Abiteboul said the transfer of goods was less of a concern since the Formula One engines were only leased to teams and not sold.

"When it comes to contingency plans...we don’t really have a plan as we are building new buildings in Enstone in the UK, we don’t really have a plan to move that we are currently building somewhere else," he said.

"We are still assuming that people will be reasonable and we trust the UK to protect their industry and motorsport is an important industry for the UK."

The French manufacturer also supplies British-based Red Bull and their Italian-based sister team Toro Rosso.

Champions Mercedes have their main engine and chassis factories in England, while Honda currently supply only British-based McLaren, although Swiss team Sauber will become additional partners next year.

Ferrari are the only European-based team who make their own car and engine, with all operations based in Maranello.

Formula One, whose commercial rights are now owned by U.S.-based Liberty Media, also has its commercial operations headquartered in London.

Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Toby Davis

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