Management changes at Renault: Abiteboul struggling to follow upward trend

07-01-2021 08:51
F1 News
Management changes at Renault: Abiteboul struggling to follow upward trend

Everything indicates that Renault will make changes within the management of the new Alpine Racing F1 team. Davide Brivio is on his way to Formula 1, but changes will also follow within the team. Why are these changes suddenly being made within the French racing team?

An upward trend at Renault?

Renault returned to Formula 1 in 2016 with huge ambitions. With the help of Cyril Abiteboul, the French team had to return to the top of Formula 1. The first steps were quickly taken and the upward trend was actually visible. Or so it seemed. But was that really the case?

Renault left Formula 1 at the end of 2011 after a season in which they finished fifth, stepping onto the podium twice. Lotus took over the team and even won two Grands Prix with Kimi Raikkonen in 2012 and 2013. After that, however, the team fell into disrepair due to a lack of financial resources. In 2014 the team finished eighth, but in 2015 the team still finished sixth with one podium. However, this was due to the enormous advantage of the Mercedes engine in the rear of the Lotus.

In 2016 Renault took over the old package from Lotus and so not much could be expected for that year. The team finished ninth, scoring only eight points. In 2017 there was a clear step forward to sixth place and 57 points. Another step followed in 2018, namely fourth place among the manufacturers behind the fixed-top three and 122 points. Renault was doing well. With the arrival of Daniel Ricciardo, the step to the top now had to be made.

Abiteboul cannot take the last step

For some reason, however, Abiteboul failed to take that next step. In 2019, Renault fell back to fifth place among the constructors and, although it took the podium three times in 2020, the team finished fifth again, despite a drop from Ferrari at the top.

So after five years of this management, you may wonder how successful they have been. Renault wants to make that step, but cannot get it done. It is not for nothing that Abiteboul himself already indicated that he is considering continuing in a different role.

Small details make the difference

That is why now is the ideal time for Abiteboul to take a step back. Davide Brivio is on his way to assume a key role within Renault and Marcin Budkowski has been presented as Renault's deputy director now that Jerome Stoll has left. Budkowski would also take on the role of team boss, according to various sources, after which Abiteboul could disappear in a management position for Alpine / Renault.

A new name and a new driver (Fernando Alonso) won't produce immediate results. Renault is on the right track and seems to have made a good technical step with Pat Fry in recent years, but the organisational structure that is so successful at McLaren and Mercedes is still missing at Renault.

Brivio managed to bring Suzuki back from a meaningless middle-class team to the top and even to the world title. Brivio may not be completely at home in Formula 1, but as a manager, he knows what it takes to bring a team to the top. Combine this with the technical knowledge of Budkowski and Fry and you suddenly have a great organisation.

This article was written and originally published by Tim on the Dutch edition of

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