2015 & 2016
Abiteboul joined Renault when the purchase of the Lotus F1 team was confirmed. He became the managing director of the Enstone-based team, and in December 2015 they launched plans on entering the 2016 season as the official Renault factory team.
In February 2016 they unveiled their first drivers, Kevin Magnussen and Jolyon Palmer. Frederic Vasseur announced their intentions to win the Formula 1 World Championship within five years. However, 2016 was largely underwhelming, scoring just eight points.
2017 saw driver changes as Nico Hulkenberg replaced Haas bound Magnussen. There were plenty of positives from that year as they scored 57 points, Hulkenberg with 43, hinting at what Renault could be capable of. However, Palmers’ time was up and with four races left in the season he was replaced by Carlos Sainz who jumped ship from Toro Rosso.
Hulkenberg and Sainz would be the pair to lead Renault forward in 2018, as the year marked the half way mark for their five year plan to win the title. The year saw more progress as they became best of the rest. The duo of Hulkenberg and Sainz led them to fourth in the Constructors’ Championship as the both of them scored high finishes of fifth place. However they were a whopping 297 points off Red Bull
Midway through the season, they made a marquee signing, confirming the arrival of Daniel Ricciardo for 2019.
2019 was a step backward, as early-season reliability issues set them back from the first race. Results picked up as the season progressed with Ricciardo securing a handy fourth-place finish at the Italian Grand Prix. Despite their best efforts, Renault finished fifth in the standings, missing out on best of the rest to McLaren, led by none other than Sainz.
Esteban Ocon arrived for 2020, replacing Hulkenberg but the midfield was even more competitive. At the start of the season Ricciardo and Abiteboul made a bet that if the former scored a podium, Abiteboul would have to get a tattoo. In a long midfield battle Renault eventually finished fifth, but Ricciardo did get the podium he desired, two in fact. Ocon also finished second in Sakhir.
In September 2020, it was announced they’d be rebranding as Alpine and that leads us to where we are now Fernando Alonso returning, and Cyril Abiteboul leaving after five years of relative mediocrity.
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