LEAFIELD, England – Caterham Formula One team announced that Cyril Abiteboul has been promoted to team principal with immediate effect, taking over from team founder Tony Fernandes.
Abiteboul will combine the role with his current responsibilities as CEO, a post he took in September after joining Caterham from engine supplier Renault.
Fernandes, who has led the team since they joined the grid in 2010, will now step back to concentrate on his other business interests along with Caterham Group co-chairman Kamarudin Meranun. It follows news earlier this week of a collaboration between Caterham and Renault, which will see the two companies work together on a new range of road-going sports cars.
“Having launched our partnership with Renault in Paris on Monday the plan Kamarudin and I formed over three years ago for our automotive interests has come to fruition,” said Fernandes. “The strategy for the establishment and growth of Caterham Group has now reached the stage where we can step back from the day to day running of the F1 team in favour of Cyril who will be able to dedicate himself full time to the role and work closely with [Caterham CEO] Riad [Asmat] to help take our automotive interests into the next stage of their growth.
“Cyril is going to be an excellent team principal. He has extensive experience in F-1, he is extremely well respected and he shares our vision for what we want our team to achieve. He takes over during a season when we have not yet fulfilled our potential, but at a time when we have everything in place to help us do so. One day we will earn our seat at the top table of Formula One and he is the right person to take us there.”
Abiteboul joined Renault in 2001 and was made business development manager for their F-1 team in 2007, before going on to become executive director of Renault Sport F-1 in 2010. Until January 2013, the 35-year-old Frenchman will split his duties between Caterham and Renault to finalise on-going projects.
“I am honoured to take over as team principal, and I would like to thank Tony and Kamarudin for the chance to lead this team into the next phase of its growth,” said Abiteboul. “We have big challenges ahead of us but the shareholders are committed and behind us to help us take significant steps forward over the coming years, and one day challenge for the highest honours in F-1.