Abiteboul leaves Renault as team becomes Alpine for 2021

2021 F1 season

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Renault has announced the departure of Cyril Abiteboul, who ran its Formula 1 team until last season.

Abiteboul oversaw Renault’s return to Formula 1 as a full constructor in 2016. Last year the team scored its first podium finishes since the former world championship-winning outfit was was revived.

The company previously confirmed the team will be rebranded as Alpine, its performance car sub-brand, for the 2021 F1 season. This followed the arrival of Luca de Meo as Renault’s new CEO last year.

“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.”

Renault has announced Laurent Rossi as the chief executive officer of Alpine, effective from today. Rossi is the group’s director of strategy and business development.

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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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63 comments on “Abiteboul leaves Renault as team becomes Alpine for 2021”

  1. For Renault is more important selling their engines to Redbull/AlphaTauri for next year than Cyril.
    Horner/Marko relationship with Abiteboul was toxic.

    1. I think this is the exact reason why he had to go. A clean slate for a potential Red Bull-Renault deal.

      1. @montalvo one detail that has been missed in a number of reports on Davide Brivio’s appointment to the team is that Davide Brivio and Luca de Meo used to work together in MotoGP.

        When Luca de Meo was the chief marketing officer and part of the senior management of the Fiat Group, he was directly involved in negotiating the title sponsorship deal that the Fiat Group struck with the Yamaha works MotoGP team from 2007 to 2010 – and the head of the works Yamaha MotoGP team at the time was Davide Brivio.

        There are therefore suggestions that, rather than some of the more elaborate theories, this is more of a case of de Meo reaching out to Davide because he has first hand knowledge of how Davide has managed a team.

        1. As all things in life, it is probably a mix of reasons. Moving Abiteboul away opens up opportunity to take on Red Bull again but the replacement wasn’t chosen randomly but from the pool of talented people they know or have.

    2. Excellent (and way overdue) development. Now, maybe they can make some progress instead of whining around

    3. I think that if an engine deal made sense from a performance/cost perspective they would have made it irrespective of any personal differences that they might have. I would give Abiteboul the credit of knowing that getting a new customer team (and in this case 4 cars) was more important to his job retention than petty differences.

  2. I was never a fan of Abiteboul or his (lack of) achievements at Renault.
    Therefore, if this is a permanent farewell then so be it.

    Look forward to the development of Alpine under Luca de Meo with Alonso (and hopefully Gasly in the near future).
    I even looked up Alpine as a car, and am considering if I should buy one. It looks like a fun little mid-engined car; like a cheaper 718.

    1. under Luca de Meo

      of course that should be ‘Laurent Rossi’.

      1. What another “Rossi”. Breeding like rabbits!!! ;-)

        CA left because he didn’t like the tattoo Dan wanted.

    2. Yeah my sentiments exactly. A lot of promises but no real results. The 3-year-plan turning into 5-year-plan and still no race win to show for it. For only one of three legitimate factory teams that is a rather embarrassing affair.

    3. There’s gonna be celebrations if Gasly gets out of AlphaTauri.

    4. I remember writing about how no top team principal would touch Alonso in fear of dismissal. I remember writing about Alonso being Cyril’s last ditch attempt to stay in f1. Apparently the change of ceo and hiring Alonso meant Cyril was already on his way out.

    5. @coldfly Gordon Murray has an Alpine A110 (the new one). If it’s good enough for him…

  3. That’s quite drastic just to dodge a tattoo-bet

      1. Beat me too.!

      2. I lol’ed

  4. Jelle van der Meer (@)
    11th January 2021, 14:31

    Best F1 news so far this year – has taken far too long.

    1. @jelle-van-der-meer Couldn’t agree more!

  5. I guess he won’t be receiving many farewell gifts.

    Funny that Alonso did not even start driving and he’s already chopping heads. :)

    Door to RedBull Renault open again. Specially now that the team is called Alpine.

  6. Unsurprising after the recent news.

  7. How does Brivio fit in all of this? Alongwith Rossi and Budkowski, it seems like a CEO army in the offing, not unlike Mercedes in 2014-16 with Lauda, Lowe and Wolff.

    1. Also Williams is/was very top heavy, @wsrgo.
      Clearly no correlation between amount C-level roles and success.

    2. My bet is Suzuki man running track operations, FIA man (budowski) running development and Rossi on the high chair.

  8. Always kind of liked the guy. Hope he finds a new home in f1 but maybe as something other than a team principle.

    1. Interested to hear what appealed to you..

  9. He really really didn’t want to get the Tattoo. So he quit instead 😅

  10. Kinda felt he spoke louder than what he managed to do and spent a lot of time taking pot shots at other teams while criticising them for doing the same. Renault didn’t seem to really ‘move forward’ with him, so maybe a change is good.

  11. I heard from someone who worked under him that was effectively an over-promoted photocopier salesman (genuine true story).

    I suspect he won’t be missed and if Brivio is brought in then a winning mentality will come in time.

    1. Amazing the kind of things we can hear when in very quiet places.

    2. @chimaera2003 It is untrue. Cyril is a long standing Renault high profile as he joined them right after university and grew inside the company. And he’s a motorist engineer, not an over-promoted photocopier salesman.

      1. @spoutnik Maybe that is true, I’ll take your word for it since I’m not going to check it.

        However the person who told me that did work there and was less than complimentary about him (and that is the nice way of putting it).

        Maybe he is just a victim of the Peter Principle. He is not unique in that as is seen everywhere, not just F1.

        1. Early life
          Abiteboul was educated at the Lycée Carnot and Lycée Chaptal high schools in Paris, and went on to study multidisciplinary engineering at Grenoble Institute of Technology.[2]

          After graduating in 2001, Abiteboul joined Renault at Boulogne-Billancourt, looking after the Renault F1 website. He was made Business Development Manager for the Renault F1 team in 2007 and went on to become Executive Director of Renault Sport F1 in 2010.

          wikipedia is your 20 year old friend.

        2. @chimaera2003

          So you’re quite happy to chuck unfounded nasty gossip round but you aren’t going to bother checking anything that substantiates he is not that. Classy

          Slow hand clap

          1. @tonymansell All I wanted to do is share a story that someone who has worked in the same F1 team that Cyril told me about him. That was how he was described to me (with clear derogatory implications) so I took it at face value. If you think I am lying about that and I am just creating nasty gossip then that is your prerogative, I can’t pro e otherwise.

            Could I have researched his background in more detail? Possibly but ultimately the term was used and is part of the story I am telling (someone thinking he wasn’t very good) so redacting it loses the impact.

            In absolute hindsight, I could have been more explicit in saying that he “was effectively LIKE an ….”. However I stand by the rest of what I said, if you want to still slow hand clap me then be my guest.

    3. an over-promoted photocopier salesman

      then Racing Point would have been a logical step..

    4. Not surprising at all

  12. From a superficial perspective, is this opening up promotion and marketing prospects for the parent company?
    Alpine being promoted as an independent brand. All good there.
    Renault stays front and center as a Power Unit supplier. Equally as beneficial.
    Alonso will (by association) promote the sale of Renault products in many areas. Likely a good investment.
    If there is a return tie-in to Red Bull, even more promotion to be had and cachet spill-over. We are assuming they can deliver, which I suspect they would.
    Always questioned the benefits that Renault gained from the F1 commitment, but it is looking a lot more promising in this light.

  13. That sucks he was a good team captain, helped them get their first podiums

    1. He was at least as reliable as the engines then..

  14. Out he goes having achieved not that much… Oversaw the decline of two F1 teams in post 2010 Renault, then Caterham. Completely ruined the successful Red Bull-Renault partnership. Followed by overstating and missing all his targets in “rebuilding” Renault.

    Yet I still wouldn’t be surprised if he manages to stick around in some capacity somehow.

    I wonder if Ricciardo was hinting at this when he mentioned earlier this year that there is no reason Red Bull and Renault could reunite.

    1. Yes RBR constant biatching about Renault power, in public, was nothing to do with it. Relationships deteriorate, its part of failure, see Honda & McLaren. Im guessing you are not blaming Honda for that but the more confrontational Abetboule gets both barrels because you, I dont know, decided he wasn’t smiling enough on camera.

      It sometimes resembles, what I imagine, Heat online is like on here, just without the rationality

  15. couldn’t*

  16. I always assumed is was going to get moved upstairs, not out the door.

  17. Good riddance.
    Any news on what he will do next? Is he still part of the Renault group?

    1. I think he is off to Japan to help broker the Renault Nissan amalgamation …

  18. I think he’s moving to a more senior role in the company and Davide Brivio will be announced soon.

  19. time for RedBull to now give up their side of arrogance… and get real… get a real engine that has a chance of development

  20. Making space for the Suzuki MotoGp guy.

  21. I don’t get all the flak Cyril receives.

    It seems he’s the easy target for Renault slow recovery but its involvement in F1, that 5 year plan with medium budgets was always going to produce this kind of performance.

    He’s achieved podiums, starting from the penultimate place a few years ago, and the team is looking very good for 2022. Many boxes have been ticked.

    Also, there is some comments about how his departure would open a bridge with Red Bull. But this is not how business is done; Abiteboul and Horner may not like each other but it’s a media stuff more than anything else. At that amount of money on the contracts it’s rarely about individuals.

    1. @spoutnik Agree. Lotus was completely in the doldrums, and I doubt many would do any turnaround much faster. Look at McLaren and Ferrari now.

      He might have played Red Bull better, but the breakdown is just as well because of Horner and Marko. The way they slammed Renault and never gave credit would have riled up anybody, even if he did mess up badly on the new engine formula, and had been one of its promoters.

      1. To be fair to the complains of Red Bull Someone (who left now) promised heaven on earth for Red Bull but what they got was .. you know what they got. So if you get year after year the same promise your customer could be ‘dissapointed’ and react likewise. Now i don’t say the customers could be more diplomatic in this but i could understood them.

        1. @macleod Yes it was understandable. To be so far behind and also poor reliability when Renault was one of the promoters of the the new PU was unacceptable

    2. I agree, sometimes on here you think you might be the insane one, thankfully comments like yours redress the balance

  22. Well that was a surprise over my breakfast.

    Might explain the recruitment of the Brivio but gee – who would want the poisoned chalice with the arrival of Alonso and a car that whilst greatly improved is still only about the 4th or 5th best.
    This also has the potential to impact the 2022 car as it will take some time for a new TP to come to grips with the organization and planning for the 2022 car.

  23. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    12th January 2021, 3:29

    I don’t think any of us will forget the exchange between Cyril Abiteboul and Christian Horner! That will immortalized as one of the greatest conversations of F1!

    I think he made a mistake getting rid of Nico Hulkenberg.

    1. Did that include the one where Christian said, (along the lines of)
      When we first started dealing with Renult,Cyril was making the tea.

  24. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    12th January 2021, 3:30

    I forgot to mention that it was in the Netflix series “Drive to Survive” in case folks haven’t watched it and don’t know what I’m talking about.

  25. Mark in Florida
    13th January 2021, 0:59

    Wow best news yet! About time this guy moved on, this should have happened years ago. Did they fail him upward into a bigger role at Renault I wonder? Renault needs to step it up like McLaren is doing.

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