Former Renault boss Cyril Abiteboul lands new role as Hyundai team principal
Former Renault Formula 1 boss Cyril Abiteboul has been officially announced as the new team principal of Hyundai Motorsport.
The 45-year-old is one of the most recognisable names to have worked in F1 management in recent times, having been team principal of the now-defunct Caterham team between 2013 and 2014 before acting as Renault’s managing director until the end of 2020.
In his new role, Abiteboul will oversee the Korean manufacturer’s motorsport activities including its World Rally Championship effort after Hyundai’s disappointing 2022 season in the first year of rallying’s hybrid era.
In a statement released by Hyundai, Abiteboul said: “I am relishing the opportunity to join Hyundai Motorsport as Team Principal.
“In motorsport, like in the rest of their activities, the Hyundai brand is cautiously building its leadership. I am excited at the prospect of being part of it, managing the WRC and Customer Racing programs, where the team has already proven to be strong competitors.
“I am looking forward to immersing myself into the rallying community and discovering more about this spectacular sport. Hyundai has given me its full support to make the transition into this role a smooth one. I can’t wait to get started.”
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Hyundai Motorsport President Sean Kim said: “I am pleased to welcome Cyril into the Hyundai family.
“His experience in Formula One will help us to explore new opportunities for growth and improvements as we look to mount a more intensive fight for titles in WRC and to support our Customer Racing teams.
“We will deliberately give him time to settle in, discover the environment and, in time, to make the Team Principal role his own.
“I have no doubt that Hyundai Motorsport’s technical personnel, along with Cyril, will demonstrate stronger and clearer leadership in the future by co-operating closely with the Global R&D of Hyundai Motor Company.”
Till Wartenberg, vice president of the Hyundai Motor Company, added: “Our ambition has always been for motorsport to act as a halo for the entire Hyundai brand.
“To deliver against our winning objectives, we need to be constantly on top of our game, bringing together the right blend of people and experience. We are delighted to have someone of Cyril’s calibre joining Hyundai Motorsport.”
Abiteboul will take charge of Hyundai for the first time when the 2023 WRC season gets underway with the legendary Monte Carlo rally next week, with the Korean outfit having twice won the team’s Championship in 2019 and 2020.
Hyundai have recently been linked to a potential future F1 entry and the arrival of a figure of Abiteboul’s experience is unlikely to reduce the speculation.