Is the Renault F1 team going to be renamed?
According to a recent development with Renault, it looks like Cyril Abiteboul is going to be making some changes about the place...
Renault's F1 return has been a bit hit and miss across the board. Whilst the team struggled to get any meaningfully progress initially and it's potentially taking a huge leap of faith by deciding to bring Fernando Alonso back for one last run in the sport to replace the departing Daniel Ricciardo, it really does seem to have made some serious progress as the 2020 season has gone on. Both Ricciardo and Ocon have finished multiple races in the points and Ricciardo could genuinely be on course for getting a podium before his time at Renault is up. What's more interesting, however, is that the rumour mill regarding the future of the F1 team has been triggered again following a big corporate shake-up at Renault.
As reported by FormulaSpy, Groupe Renault has recently announced a change to its entire corporate structure. Renault has decided to create individual 'business units' for each of its four brands (Renault, Dacia, Alpine and Nouvelles Mobilites). Whilst this might just seem like a bit of typical corporate reshuffling, there has been one move in particular that's really caught peoples' eyes and that's that Cyril Abiteboul has been named as being in charge of the "creation, organisation and implementation" of the Alpine business unit. He is taking on this role whilst remaining as the Team Principal for Renault's F1 team. Furthermore, Renault's CEO Luca de Meo, who is a huge advocate for motorsport, has commented that "the soul of Renault is in its French roots. This brand has always been more creative than the others, it is in its culture. It must play modernity and innovation... The Alpine brand has a very specific niche identity, very sporty, very French."
What could this potentially mean? Well, it could mean that the Renault F1 team is going to get a rebrand under the Alpine name. Renault already uses the Alpine brand in motorsport (an Alpine-branded car runs in the LMP2 class in the World Endurance Championship) and there have already been rumours that the Alpine brand will be re-aligned to sit alongside Renaultsport. With that taken into account and the return of a Formula 1 legend in Fernando Alonso, it seems pretty logical that a total re-packaging of the F1 team could come alongside it. It could also potentially help to save the Alpine brand from being axed. Alpine is right on the edge of being financially unviable; Renault has considered shutting the Dieppe factory where the A110 is made to save costs following the huge financial impact of COVID-19 and turning Alpine into an all-electric brand has even been floated as a way of saving it. Perhaps making Alpine the face of Renault's F1 efforts could keep the brand going almost indefinitely.
Is it the right thing to do? Only time will tell. One thing is for certain though, the blue livery with white logos that would inevitably happen under an Alpine rebrand would look absolutely stunning!