The men behind the Renault F1 return



CYRIL ABITEBOUL – Managing Director, Renault Sport Racing 

Cyril Abiteboul has become a familiar face in the F1 paddock over the past 10 years. A graduate of the National Polytechnic Institute in Grenoble, he was appointed as Renault F1 Team’s development director in 2007 before becoming its executive director three years later.

Abiteboul returned to Renault’s engine department in Viry-Châtillon when the French manufacturer elected to focus solely on its engine supply activity in 2011. There, he oversaw all contractual relations, marketing and communications with partner teams Red Bull, Lotus, and the future Caterham F1 Team. His astute commercial sense and business acumen led to him being handpicked by Malaysian businessman Tony Fernandes to become team principal of the Leafield-based outfit only aged 35.

Often described as a man in a hurry, Abiteboul moved back to Renault Sport F1 in 2014 where he took on the role of managing director. In the wake of the French constructor’s power unit turmoil in the latest turbo era, he had to handle Renault’s strained relationship with Red Bull. Meanwhile, he studied the viability of a comeback as a constructor in close collaboration with Renault Sport F1’s president Jérôme Stoll and marketing department. Having reached the conclusion that the return on investment was not sufficiently high when only competing as an engine supplier, Abiteboul managed to convince Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn to rubberstamp a fully-fledged effort from 2016.