Abiteboul returns to Renault following Caterham exit

2014 F1 season

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Cyril Abiteboul has returned to Renault’s F1 engine operation following his departure from the Caterham team, whose sale was announced yesterday.

Abiteboul, who was team principal of the Renault customer outfit, has taken on the new role of managing director at Renault Sport F1. He had been deputy managing director before he joined Caterham 18 months ago.

There have been further changes at the engine builder in the wake of their poor performance so far this season due to problems with their Energy F1 power unit. President and managing director Jean-Michel Jalinier has “decided to exercise his right to retirement for personal reasons”, the company announced on Thursday.

Jerome Stroll has taken over from Jalinier as president of Renault Sport F1. Stroll will incorporate the role within his current duties as chief performance officer and group sales and marketing director.

Renault powered Red Bull to constructors’ championship victories in the last four seasons, during which time Sebastian Vettel also won all four drivers’ championships. However Red Bull have criticised the poor performance and reliability of their engines built to this year’s new regulations.

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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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9 comments on “Abiteboul returns to Renault following Caterham exit”

  1. Interestingly enough, when the rumors of Caterham being sold to a consortium of Swiss and Middle Eastern businessmen, the rumor also included Abiteboul going back to Renault and Red Bull being involved there. The only part not to have happen thus far is the Red Bull bit..

    1. I read somewhere that they have also taken steps for that to happen, with a lot of RB technology people now working over in Viry @npf1.

      Seems the plan still is to do what they can within the rules to improve the engine for next year and then make a “new” infiniti/Red Bull engine for 2016 and onward that will be also supplied to STR and to Caterham and maybe to the Romanian outfit, if that one happens at all.

  2. Some might say that what’s happening at Caterham right now is due to the costs of running an F1 team but I have to disagree. Darren Heath wrote a great piece on F1’s financial problems, this sums it up:

    The real issue facing the sport is not the money being spent, rather the utter lack of creative thinking being deployed in promoting F1 as it should and deserves to be.

    1. I’d say what’s happening right now at Caterham is because a very naive Tony Fernandes got involved with F1, threw a lot of money at it, then decided his toys weren’t fun anymore and sold them.

      I’d say the problem is; new teams are being founded by businessmen, investors and the businesses they represent, rather than people who know about racing. Sure, there was some knowledge of racing in all 3 2010 efforts, but none of the people who funded it knew what it takes to run a racing team.

      1. Hm, yeah. Maybe he was naive. But only in that he believed that the conditions they signed up to (40million budget cap) would be implemented and then hung on while there was some possibility for a cost cap of sorts to be introduced @npf1.

        To me its two sides of the medal. On the one side the FIA should introduce rules that keep the sport viable long term (see new engines, but also limiting spending and guarding safety and healthy competition) but on the other hand the promoter doing what is implied in that – i.e. actually promoting the sport, and then distributing the rewards to enable a solid base for the sport to prosper (better split of CVC vs. teams, more even money paid to teams and also more of a perspective for tracks to at least break even)

  3. When Abiteboul was announced as team principal, my first thought was “hey, Caterham might become Renault’s works team”. Renault’s influence on Caterham has reached far beyond the realms of a normal engine supply deal. The deal even included a joint venture in designing the new Alpine, but Renault bought out Caterham’s stake just a month ago.

    To me, this seems a bit like an argument that got out of hand. Apparently the Alpine project wasn’t going smoothly, the Caterham F1 team has been under-performing, the Renault engines are not good enough… all things that could induce friction.

    Anyway, I’m very curious to see what Kolles and Albers can do.

    1. BJ (@beejis60)
      3rd July 2014, 16:16

      @andae23 From 2010-2013, the renault engines were fine though.

  4. Fritz Oosthuizen (@)
    3rd July 2014, 15:14

    Businessmen in sport always add some politics. Even a driver line-up is effected on his nationality and the sales it can create if he do well. Look at Jaguar F1 team. They could not reach there potential because Ford added politics. Then Red Bull bought it and the first thing they did was to change the engine. Then getting Adrian Newey and 4 world titles. If Red Bulls did stick with a Cosworth engine? Yes, business men do join the sport But without then it would have been a privateer club. I hope the current team survive and do well. If you look at Formule-e you see them learning from the mistakes of Formule 1. We need money to be able to enjoy this sport.

  5. So far all of what Adam Cooper recently wrote about has come to pass. It’ll be interesting to see if the 2016 Red Bull engine part of his story comes true as well. It’d be a pretty clever way to circumvent the homologation process by coming in as a “new” engine manufacturer, with a different brand owning the intellectual property despite being built in the same factory with the work of many of the same engineers. I also wonder if the rumor that Adrian Newey’s new technology center will design the engine from scratch might be true, and that THAT rather than an America’s Cup challenge might be the real reason that his new position was created. It would certainly fulfill his desire for a new challenge.

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