Ex-Caterham F1 boss Cyril Abiteboul returns to Renault in management shake-up
Jerome Stoll also replaces retiring Jean-Michel Jalinier as President
By James Galloway
Last Updated: 03/07/14 12:29pm
Struggling F1 engine manufacturers Renault have undergone a significant management shake-up with Cyril Abiteboul rejoining from Caterham and Jean-Michel Jalinier retiring as President.
Speculation in recent weeks had suggested that changes were afoot at Renault Sport’s headquarters in Viry-Chatillon following their underperformance at the start of F1’s new turbo era. The French manufacturer's V6 power unit is thought to remain significantly down on power compared with the class-leading Mercedes and its performance has repeatedly been criticsed by Red Bull, with Christian Horner labelling it as "unacceptable" a fortnight ago in Austria.
Renault Sport's management overhaul was confirmed on Thursday with their former Deputy Managing Director Abiteboul, as expected, returning to the company after leaving Caterham in the Leafield outfit’s own shake-up one day before.
Abiteboul, who left the French firm to become Caterham Team Principal in September 2012 after an original stay of 11 years, becomes Managing Director of their F1 arm.
The Frenchman will report to a new President of the division, Jerome Stoll, after incumbent Jean-Michel Jalinier “decided to exercise his right to retirement for personal reasons”. Stoll will combine his new role with his existing duties as Chief Performance Officer and Group Sales and Marketing Director.
The strength of Renault's relationship with World Champions Red Bull, their principal engine customer, is under the spotlight with speculation continuing that the partnership might not continue beyond the end of 2015.
Although Horner has played down talk that Red Bull might take the unprecented step of building their own engines, speculation has suggested that they will attempt to take a more hands-on role within the Renault project and Abiteboul is thought to be well-regarded by the team.
Meanwhile, amid Renault's ongoing attempts to improve the performance of their engine, they have revealed the problem which caused Sebastian Vettel's Red Bull to suffer a crippling loss of power at the last race in Austria wasn't entirely of their own making. A fault with F1's common electronic control software, which is supplied by McLaren Electronic Systems, occured when Vettel hit the overtake button early in the race after the system failed to recongnise the requested setting.
Watch the 2014 British GP live on Sky Sports F1. Extensive coverage of the Silverstone race weekend begins with Friday Practice from 9.45am on July 4.