Renault's new team principal Eric Boullier says his priority is to reinstall the confidence in his staff that was sapped by the turmoil of the past 12 months.
Boullier admits that morale at the team suffered in the wake of the disappointing 2009 campaign, the loss of Fernando Alonso to Ferrari, and the scandal surrounding the outfit over Formula 1's race-fix scandal. However, after settling into his new role at the Enstone, UK-based team, Boullier knows his first job is to lift the spirits of the staff – as he thinks that is the key factor that will help get the French car manufacturer back to the front of the grid.
"It will be my main goal, if I can say this, to make sure that the people are confident again," Boullier told AUTOSPORT. "With the job I am doing, I want them to be proud of it – because I have to be.
"Morale was not that high at the end of last year, and it will be key for me for the success of this very competent team to have people who believe in themselves," he added. "I do believe this team has all the competence to be successful – like they have proved in the past. The core people here are the same as have been here for many years, and they have won in total four World Championships.
"There is a great value here that we need not to forget – and it would be stupid of me, with no previous F1 experience, to shake up everyone here. The team is very competent; they just need to be a little bit reassured and get more confidence for the future. I hope now they will be able to keep their heads down, focus on the job, forget all the external problems, and then the position of the car will improve."
Boullier's role with Renault is his first appointment in Formula 1 and although he acknowledges he has plenty to learn, he thinks there could be advantages from not having been involved in grand prix racing before.
"It will be a help, because it is good to have a fresh mind, particularly because I am a racing guy. Whether it is racing F1 or sports cars, it is still racing. But it will be tough, because there is more responsibility – to sponsors, a car manufacturer and staff. There are also discussions to be had with FOTA, the FIA and with other team, so the interests are a little bit bigger."
Boullier has welcomed the continued input of previous team principal Bob Bell, who will remain with the outfit to oversee technical aspects. He is also delighted that Robert Kubica is wholly committed to the new structure and new owners.
"I think he is one of the key drivers on the market," said Boullier. "He proved many times his talent, his passion, and his commitment is 100 percent. I am pleased to work with him."
Boullier think it will take up to three more weeks for Renault to choose its second driver, and he is also pushing hard with the performance target for 2010.
"It will be a little bit ambitious, but with the change of the team owner and landscape in F1, obviously I would like to fight in the top four," he said.