The sudden exit of former Renault/Alpine team principal Cyril Abiteboul has left Formula One fans and pundits with many questions.It seems that, for Alpine F1, presenting a new name and livery was not enough of an overhaul, a restructuring at the top of the organisation was also necessary.
Although it is still unclear how and by whom Abiteboul’s duties as team principal will be carried out in 2021, speculation about the reason for his departure is already intense, especially as the decision seemed to have fallen from the sky without warning.
The main reason is the failure of Renault’s long-term plans; a podium in 2018 and a role as a serious contender for the constructors’ title in 2020. However, the team could not fulfil these ambitions, Barretto knows: “The team, led by Abiteboul, missed out on both those by quite some way. Their first podiums didn’t come until 2020 – albeit they managed three of them – and they are quite some way from becoming title challengers.”
Nevertheless, it is still a shock that the man who had been with the team since 2001 now seems to have been shown the door without mercy. The appointment of Luca de Meo as CEO of Renault Group and the subsequent overhaul of the company’s racing division will most likely be the second reason. Abiteboul is not the only senior figure to announce his departure, Jerome Stoll, who was in charge of Renault Sport Racing, also tendered his resignation late in 2020.