Abiteboul will become Hyundai’s new team principal

The former Renault F1 managing director is set for his first job in rallying

F1 Testing In Jerez – Day Three

Cyril Abiteboul will be Hyundai’s new team principal in the World Rally Championship next year, DirtFish understands.

Abiteboul will replace deputy team director Julien Moncet, who hinted to DirtFish last month that his time leading Hyundai was done.

Originally an engineer, Abiteboul rose into team management in Formula 1, acting as the team principal of Caterham before becoming Renault’s managing director from 2014-2020.

After his exit from Renault, Abiteboul has been working with Formula 2 engine supplier Mecachrome.

Although he doesn’t have any experience in rallying, Abiteboul isn’t the first F1 figure to be linked to Hyundai as another former Renault employee, Eric Boullier, emerged as a frontrunner to take the job after Ypres Rally Belgium.

DirtFish understands senior team figures were informed of the decision on Tuesday.

It will be hoped that Abiteboul’s appointment will bring some stability to the team which has lost several senior team members recently, with team manager Pablo Marcos the latest to resign.

Marcos, formerly Hyundai’s logistics guru, took the job halfway through the 2021 season after Alain Penasse’s agreement with the manufacturer wasn’t renewed.

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Moncet’s future also remains unclear. Although he acted as Hyundai powertrain manager before being parachuted into the team leader job, he has suggested he is interested in a career in team management going forward.

He told DirtFish in November: “I’m not sure what will happen to me next but, nevertheless, despite all the ups and downs of this season and despite, let’s say sometimes some controversies, I quite enjoy this role and it’s something I would be happy to do in the future.

“Whether it will be here [at Hyundai] or not, this I don’t know.”

Words:Luke Barry