The Renault Sport F1 team says it is on course with its five-year financial plan after making a modest profit in 2017 – the first time it has been in the black since 2009, when it was last under full Renault ownership.
Newly-released accounts from the company show that it enjoyed significantly increased income last year, turning the loss made by the Enstone team in its first year under renewed Renault ownership in 2016 into a profit.
The team had a turnover of £136.3m in 2017, up from £119.7m. It duly turned a loss of £3.3m in 2016 into a profit of £1.1m.
Prize money income was actually down after the team finished only ninth in the 2016 World Championship, having been sixth – as Lotus-Mercedes – in 2015. However, sponsorship revenues were up, contributing to the increased turnover.
The wage bill was up significantly after the average head count rose from 511 in 2016 to 606 last year.
The team makes it clear that it has invested heavily in improving the factory facilities, and that the process is ongoing: "Renault's long-term investment is further evidenced on the balance sheet where fixed assets have increased by £12m, on top of the £11.8m growth in 2016.
"Major capital investment will remain during 2018 to complete the ongoing Enstone site improvement as well as various other key projects to drive development and reinforce Renault's long-term plans to win the constructors' championship."
The accounts also reveal that the team has net current liabilities of £96.4m "due to intercompany loans from Renault Group. This facility was extended to £125m on October 18th 2016."
Renault stresses that it is still on target with the five-year performance and business plan which it set out after it took over the team in December 2015, and which runs to the end of the 2020 season.
It notes: "The actual income and expenditure and business performance during the year ending December 31st 2017 has not resulted in a significant revision being required to the Performance and Business Plan."