Frederic Vasseur leaves Renault F1 Team

Frederic Vasseur leaves Renault F1 Team

Renault part company with Team Principal Frederic Vasseur, just weeks before pre-season testing for the 2017 season starts.

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James Eagles

Team Principal of the Renault F1 Team, Frederic Vasseur, has parted company with the French marque through mutual consent, with immediate effect.

Vasseur's departure comes after just one year at the helm, assuming the position after Renault bought the struggling Lotus team back after five seasons away as a works team.

Whilst a like for like replacement is not lined up as of yet, Cyril Abiteboul will remain as Reanult Sport's managing director, with Jerome Stoll keeping his position as president.

A difference in opinion

Speaking to Motorsport.com, Vasseur explained his decision, citing a difference in opinion between him and Renault's higher powers.

"There was too much different vision in the management of the team," the Frenchman commented. "If you want to perform in F1, you need to have one leader in the team and one single way".

All was not well between Palmer (L) and Magnussen (R). Photo: Getty Images/Franck Fife
All was not well between Palmer (L) and Magnussen (R). Photo: Getty Images/Franck Fife

Renault expressed their interest in maintaining a healthy working relationship with Vasseur, and maybe reconciling in the future, in a statement made earlier this week.

According to Vasseur, he made the decision to exit in the first week of January, weeks after holding talks with Renault senior management figures over targets for the 2017 season.

The news shows that all is certainly not well within the team, after high hopes were garnered following the signing of Force India's Nico Hulkenberg, with the German turning to the Enstone based outfit for his elusive maiden podium, or even, win.

In their first season back under full team ownership, Renault struggled, finishing ninth in the Constructors' Championship. Although Kevin Magnussen and Jolyon Palmer both registered points scoring finishes, the season was looked upon as a disappointment, with Magnussen and Palmer's relationship tested towards the end of the year. Magnussen jumped ship to Haas for 2017.

Nico Hulkenberg joins for 2017. | Photo: Getty Images/Mark Thompson
Nico Hulkenberg joins for 2017. | Photo: Getty Images/Mark Thompson

With a healthy budget, experienced personnel and a full year of development under their belt, much is expected for 2017. It simply may not deliver.

Top half finish possible

However, Vasseur maintained that Renault have everything in place to achieve a top half finish at season's end - with the Frenchman targeting fifth place in the championship.

The co-founder of the successful ART Grand Prix team, that has helped several talents through the junior formulas - such as Nico Rosberg, Lewis Hamilton, Hulkenberg, Valtteri Bottas and McLaren new boy Stoffel Vandoorne, has not ruled out a return to Formula 1 in the foreseeable future.

"It was a very good experience. I learned a lot. Will there be a next project that I will come back for? I don't know."

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