Former Renault team principal Cyril Abiteboul has reportedly backed out of fulfilling his part in a bet with now McLaren F1 driver Daniel Ricciardo.
Abiteboul worked his way up from web developer to managing director of Renault Sport F1. The Frenchman oversaw a difficult period for the team as their engine customers departed one by one and drivers, including Kevin Magnussen, Nico Hulkenberg and Carlos Sainz Jr., came and went.
Daniel Ricciardo made a bet with Cyril Abiteboul at the start of 2020 that if he could return Renault to the F1 podium, the team boss would get a tattoo of the driver's choosing. The Australian went on to taste champagne with a pair of third places at the Nurburgring and Imola.
Changes at Renault - Cyril Abiteboul out
Renault Group announced some sweeping changes to their motorsport division for 2021, including rebranding the F1 team as their sporting brand Alpine, as well as the immediate departure of Abiteboul.
"I would like to thank Groupe Renault for having trusted me for many years, particularly with the relaunch and reconstruction of the team since 2016," said Cyril in a statement.
It's rumored that Suzuki in MotoGP will be the eventual destination for Abiteboul as they aim to continue their strong run of form in 2020, which culminated in a championship victory for rider Joan Mir.
Alpine are aiming to move forward in 2021 with the return of double world champion Fernando Alonso, but look set to be in a tight midfield battle with McLaren and Ferrari, who are also targeting big progress this season. With no remaining engine customers and limited financial backing beyond the nationalized Renault Group, it might be a challenging year ahead for Cyril Abiteboul's successor, expected to be Marcin Budkowski.