Alpine Racing recently had to proceed with one of their most painful decisions in years. Cyril Abiteboul, who had been carrying his team on his shoulders for 7 years, met with a rather anti-climactic end to his career as a team principal. And it looks like Esteban Ocon is rather unhappy with Alpine’s decision.
The news definitely struck the F1 community as a shock, as Renault until then were going extremely strong. And the chances of Renault/Alpine leaving out Cyril were very slim.
Moreover, over the last season, the team secured their first podium in years. Hence, despite the exit, his impact on the team will be everlasting.
What did Esteban Ocon say?
Esteban Ocon, Alpine Racing driver and Ex-Renault driver, opened up that letting go of Cyril was extremely difficult for himself and the team.
“It was definitely very sad to see Cyril leave,” he said. “Cyril has [led] the project of the team for many, many years, and we were starting to see the results coming, with podiums, with good results, with top-fives. And to see him leave at that time is something difficult.”
Cyril joined the team in 2014 as a managing director when Renault were in a slump. And following Fred Vasseur’s [current Alfa Romeo’s team principal] exit from Renault, Cyril took over his position. It was a tough couple of years for Renault.
However, the Frenchman managed to revive the team to a decent position. Despite occasional reliability issues, Renault finally managed to figure out the right direction in terms of development.
And the team grew on to become one of the prime candidates for the top 3 constructor’s position in 2020.
He helped me to come where I am today: Ocon
The Frenchman opened up that his compatriot, Cyril, played a crucial role in his acquirement of Renault’s second seat in 2020. Ocon had massive backing from the former team principal, despite his string of poor performances on-track during the early part of the season.
“I wish him the best for the future,” he said. “He’s really a good guy, and one person that I really appreciate, and that has helped me to come where I am today.”
Now, an all-new team principal and former Suzuki MotoGP boss, Davide Brivio, is set to take over Cyril’s seat. At the moment, Alpine/Renault are in a commendable position amongst the mid-field.
Hence, will Davide be able to carry the team further upwards? Or will the decision of sacking Cyril mark Alpine’s potential downfall?