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Vasseur won’t be replaced at Renault – Abiteboul

Renault's F1 managing director Cyril Abiteboul has confirmed the team will not be hiring a new team principal after the departure of Fred Vasseur
Renault's F1 managing director Cyril Abiteboul has confirmed the team will not be hiring a new team principal after the departure of Fred Vasseur.

After just one year with the French manufacturer Vasseur has left the team by mutual consent after the two parties failed to agree on direction and ideas for its future in F1.

Vasseur was initially hired as racing director before his role changed to team principal last July but for 2017 Renault will be without a direct team principal in name, as confirmed by Abiteboul when speaking to media at the launch of the latest INFINITI Engineering Academy programme.

“We will not replace Fred in the capacity of team principal. If we feel we are held back by not having a team principal, we will take action,” Abiteboul said at the Autosport International show. “My belief is that the team principal role is something you need from team to team. If you compare Frank Williams, Monisha [Kaltenborn], Vijay Mallya and Christian Horner defining it is so difficult.

“Each of the teams has their own requirements and targets, which is why I think the role of team principal is very vague. Even though the name is the same, the role is very different from one team to the next.”

Despite losing a key member of its senior management, one believed to be the vital figure in luring Nico Hulkenberg away from Force India for 2017, Abiteboul is confident Renault will be able to continue to progress and climb up the F1 pecking order after a tricky comeback season in F1 as a fully-fledged factory team.

Get ready for the new season: 2017 F1 team and car launch dates

“We have a structure which is very robust. We have done lots of changes to the management structure at the start of last year and I hope and believe what we have done with Red Bull from an engine point of view is a demonstration that this structure is a capable structure,” he said.

“We have a very strong structure which is why we don't feel shocked, we don't feel weakened by the announcement, which is something which had been discussed at length with Fred. We tried to make it work but at some point when it is of the view that it doesn't work, we have to make a decision and move on.

“I don't think we should be judged by what we are doing, I think what will matter is the results we deliver. Everyone is working flat out to achieve the target of this year which is to be in the mid-field rather than behind it.”

QUIZ: Can you guess the F1 car from these teasers?

In 2016 Renault finished ninth in the F1 world constructors' championship having scored eight points all season and only finishing ahead of Sauber and Manor. Next season Renault lines up with new signing Hulkenberg alongside Jolyon Palmer with the team launch scheduled for the 21st February.



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