Cyril Abiteboul takes over as Caterham team principal

2012 F1 season

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Caterham F1 CEO Cyril Abiteboul has taken over from Tony Fernandes as team principal with immediate effect.

Group chairman Fernandes endorsed the move, saying: “Cyril is going to be an excellent team principal.

“He has extensive experience in F1, he is extremely well respected and he shares our vision for what we want our team to achieve. He takes over during a season when we have not yet fulfilled our potential, but at a time when we have everything in place to help us do so.

“One day we will earn our seat at the top table of Formula One and he is the right person to take us there.”

Abiteboul, 35, joined the team last month having been deputy managing director of Renault Sport F1.

“We have big challenges ahead of us but the shareholders are committed and behind us to help us take significant steps forward over the coming years, and one day challenge for the highest honours in F1,” he said.

“We have an incredible spirit within the team and that has been created by Tony and Kamarudin. This spirit, allied to a strategic vision that gives us a clear path to success, is what will keep driving us forwards and we all look forward to the day we can make the dreams our shareholders had several years ago come true.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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20 comments on “Cyril Abiteboul takes over as Caterham team principal”

  1. Hmmm, any connections to their recent tie-up to relaunch Alpine? :P

    Regardless of that though, Caterham should be able to move forward. I hope for it :)

    (Personally, I was rooting for Gascoyne)

  2. Anyone else thinking what I’m thinking? On Monday, a partnership with Renault was announced by Caterham to build some sportscars. Fernandes resigned a few days ago. And now a former Renault guy, who only joined the team last month, is announced as team principal.

    So… this might be a signal that Renault will make Caterham their new works team, having lost their former Enstone team to Lotus. Thoughts?

    1. Well Fernandes not really resign from Caterham F1, He still the chairman and the owner. Much like Ron Dennis and Luca Di Montezemolo to Mclaren and Ferrari.

      1. ‘Resigned as team principal’ then

    2. I was under the impression that Red Bull are the de facto Renault works team. According to James Allen’s website at least

      1. @looseasagoose I believe they are. The WSR champion used to get a run in a Renault but is now rewarded with a Red Bull instead.

      2. @looseasagoose I read this as well, RBR are the new Renault works team

      3. Isn’t this just because RBR is the most successful Renault powered team at the moment?

        1. Michael Brown (@)
          8th November 2012, 22:42

          My guess is yes

  3. Drop Valencia!
    8th November 2012, 11:58

    Regardless of the politics he must be an impressive guy!

  4. Nice one, Cyril.
    Are engines still “frozen” after 2014? If not, I guess a pecking order of Renault teams would emerge (just as people seem convinced it will with Mercedes).

    I also wonder if they’ll start using different brands for their engines (Caterham-Alpine, Red Bull-Infiniti; Williams-Renault definitely stands for something). Surprised they’ve not done that already, and it’s possibly a way of developing each team’s engines at different rates.

  5. @Keith Collantine
    Abiteboul, 35, joined the team last month having been deputy managing director of Renault Sport F1.

    He’s still working with Renault until next year, isn’t it?

  6. I wouldn’t be surprised if Red Bull lose the Renault-works team title to Caterham soon. The french management might have realised, by looking at the current performance rate of their engines, that pulling the factory name out of the sport might have been a bad idea. 6 different teams have won races this year. 3 of those are Renault-powered cars while two are powered by Mercedes and one by Ferrari. You tell me what that means…

    I wouldn’t be surprised if Fernandez is planning to join forces with Renault, get them more involved in the team and make Caterham-Renault the works team, starting 2014 maybe…I’m sure Renault are pleased with Red Bull and their results since the partnership has begun but, it isn’t a works team. Red Bull as a brand clearly overshadows Renault and I bet the french manufacturer could probably do with having a bit more influence in a team than they get to have at Red Bull. Jumping the boat to Lotus is out of the question. Too much history there. So that leaves either Williams or Caterham. There’s a lot of malaysian and french money at stake when it comes to the latter and there’s a good oportunity for Renault to revamp their sports programme and to open a couple more doors on the asian market that come with it. I don’t know, to me, it looks like a partnership that benefits everyone and that might make Caterham into a midfield team or even something more, at last.

    And I would be glad to see it happen…

    1. I rather think it shows Renault is hedging their bets an welcoming the vision of Fernandez. I have no boubt, that Red Bull will be the works team equivalent for Renault/Nissan for years to come, if only because Red Bull will (and rightly so) demand that status from them.

      But in cleverly lining up Red Bull – Infinity it leaves Renault to pursue other goals, and its clear that while they have the Alpine brand, factory space (and workers) galore, they do not have the right take on it to build those cars themselves. At the same time, Fernandes has shown he’s an entrpreneur, knows how to pick the right people and has a good feel for what can be put in the market. And he has a top notch R&D facility+manufactury of composites and the Caterham brand wanting to expand.

  7. wow the guy is only 35 years old.

    1. Put in perspective: Christian Horner was only 31 when he became team principal of Red Bull Racing. Wow….

      1. and Gary paffet, now 31, still at young driver test session year after year =))

        1. Hahahah that’s mean… :-)

        2. Yeah, it really shows how that name just does not fit. And McLaren still using Paffet in the sessions, …

  8. How do you pronounce his surname?

    I guess it’ll be interesting to see how they develop next year.

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