Renault Sport F1’s team principal Frederic Vasseur has left his role with immediate effect.
The Frenchman leaves the role after only one year in the job by mutual consent and becomes the second high profile principal/executive to leave in the last 24 hours after Paddy Lowe departure from Mercedes yesterday.
Although the timing of the announcement was not expected the decision is a little less so with political in fighting and team management issues being reported during the summer. Vasseur had started the season as racing director before being moved to team principal in July. Cyril Abiteboul, who joined as managing director in July also, stays on in the role as normal. Sky Sports F1 commentator Martin Brundle tweeted his surprise at the news saying ‘this is a big surprise and suggest further underlying problems.’
This would suggest issues within the Oxford based team as would the choice of Kevin Magnussen to leave the team for Haas. The Dane was offered a one year extension but turned it down for the American newcomer due to the messy approach by the team to their search for drivers for the 2017. Another blow is that Vasseur was a big reason for the incoming Nico Hulkenburg to join the Anglo French team.
With this late changing at the top of management it remains to be seen how the team will handle the situation to avoid it possibly getting out of control. There is no word on who would take over the role however with James Allison and Pat Symonds currently out of work there is two big names available to join.
Renault launch their new car on 21st February with Hulkenburg joining Jolyon Palmer in the two races seats as the former champions look to start a revival in what can be described as lee’s than ideal circumstances.