The Renault Formula One team said on Tuesday that it would make a decision in the next few days over its future in F1 racing. Motor sport’s governing body, the FIA, on Monday gave the team a suspended ban from the sport for ordering  Nelson Piquet Jr to crash in the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix.

The sentence was described by many observers as lenient and designed to keep the team in the sport. Renault has been competing in F1 every year since 1977.

If the team does stay in F1, as many suggest it will, it is expected to announce a successor to team principal Flavio Briatore who resigned and has now been banned from F1 indefinitely.

The French media suggests that four-time world champion Alain Prost, who drove for Renault from 1981-83, is the current favourite although he insists he has not yet begun formal talks with the team.

BBC commentator and former F1 racer Martin Brundle said: “Hopefully Renault will stay in the sport – they need to. Renault will actually feel slightly relieved as a suspended two-year ban means nothing for them. They’re very powerful in the world of motorsport and we don’t need them leaving F1.”

Former world champion Damon Hill told The Times that the lenient sentence was “a crying shame for the sport. F1 has to ask itself, is it just a very expensive form of entertainment or a proper sport?”

Renault’s ban is suspended until the end of the 2011 season and will only be activated if they are found guilty of a similar offence.