Abiteboul leaves Renault before Alpine shake-up

Abiteboul had been Renault’s team principal since they re-joined F1 grid in 2016 but has now left the company; Renault are rebranding as Alpine for 2021; Laurent Rossi Alpine’s new CEO, new team boss yet to be confirmed

Last Updated: 11/01/21 3:09pm

Long-time Renault Formula 1 boss Cyril Abiteboul has left the company and will not head up the rebranded Alpine team in 2021 as expected.

Abiteboul had led Renault’s F1 operation since before they re-joined the grid five years ago and was thought to be tasked with bringing the French team into a new era as Alpine F1, their new name from this season onwards.

But Abiteboul has departed Renault completely, while Laurent Rossi has been confirmed as the new CEO of Alpine.

“I would like to thank the Groupe Renault for having trusted me for many years, particularly with the relaunch and reconstruction of the team since 2016,” said Abiteboul.

“The solid foundations of the racing team and the entities in France and England built over these years, the strategic evolution of the sport towards a more economically sustainable model, and more recently the Alpine project which provides a renewed sense of meaning and dynamism, all point to a very fine trajectory.

“I would like to thank Luca de Meo for involving me in the construction of the Alpine Business Unit and I wish the new structure every success.”

Alpine F1’s team principal has not yet been confirmed, although executive director Marcin Budkowski was tipped for the role even before the Abiteboul announcement was made on Monday.

Davide Brivio, the former boss of Moto GP team Suzuki, is also expected to join to Alpine stable in some capacity.

Renault say Rossi, who was previously their director of strategy and business development, will ‘take charge of Alpine Cars, Sport, F1 and competition activities’ and will report to Groupe Renault CEO De Meo.

Under Abiteboul’s leadership, Renault have kicked on to become a consistent midfield outfit since finishing ninth in first year back 2016, and were an impressive fourth in 2018 before placing fifth in the past two seasons.

Sky Sports News reporter Craig Slater says Formula 1’s season-opening Australian Grand Prix in March is set to be postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Sky Sports News reporter Craig Slater says Formula 1’s season-opening Australian Grand Prix in March is set to be postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Abiteboul was also credited with playing a big part in tempting Daniel Ricciardo over from Red Bull, and Fernando Alonso out of semi-retirement as the Australian’s replacement for 2021.

But Alonso, the 38-year-old Spaniard who won his two world titles, and Renault’s last, with the French team over a decade ago, and Esteban Ocon will start their Alpine F1 partnership without Abiteboul at the helm.

“I would like to warmly thank Cyril for his tireless involvement, which notably led the Renault F1 Team from the penultimate place in 2016 to the podiums last season,” said De Meo.

“His remarkable work in F1 since 2007 allows us to look to the future, with a strong team and the new Alpine F1 Team identity to conquer the podiums this year.”

Source : Sky Sports