Groupe Renault has announced the hiring of Laurent Rossi as the new Alpine CEO, whereby he will replace outgoing Cyril Abiteboul.

In a surprise move, Groupe Renault announced the departure of Abiteboul from its fold, with Rossi taking over the Alpine CEO role, which was supposed to fall in the hands of the Frenchman. He had been an integral part of the manufacturer for years.

Abiteboul joined Renault in 2001 and stuck with them until 2012, when he joined Caterham. He was there until 2013 and returned to the French manufacturer in 2014, where he remained with them until today i.e January 11, 2021.

The move certainly comes as a surprise as Abiteboul was destined for a larger role with Alpine but Rossi, who has been with Renault since 2018 – which was his second stint after starting his career in 2000. He has taken charge of the Cars, Sport and F1 division.

“I would like to thank the Groupe Renault for having trusted me for many years, particularly with the relaunch and reconstruction of the team since 2016,” said Abiteboul. “The solid foundations of the racing team and the entities in France and England built over these years, the strategic evolution of the sport towards a more economically sustainable model, and more recently the Alpine project which provides a renewed sense of meaning and dynamism, all point to a very fine trajectory.

“I would like to thank Luca de Meo for involving me in the construction of the Alpine Business Unit and I wish the new structure every success. At the same time, Luca de Meo, added: “I would like to warmly thank Cyril Abiteboul for his tireless involvement, which notably led the Renault F1 Team from the penultimate place in 2016 to the podiums last season. His remarkable work in F1 since 2007 allows us to look to the future, with a strong team and the new Alpine F1 Team identity to conquer the podiums this year.”

More announcements from Alpine is to come later this week as de Meo is scheduled to host a press conference on January 14. As per documents, Marcin Budkowski is certain to replace Jerome Stoll, while Suzuki MotoGP head Davide Brivio is also to join the team – possibly taking over the spot left vacant by Abiteboul as team principal.

Here’s Renault Sport becoming Alpine Racing

Here’s news on Suzuki confirming Davide Brivio’s exit

Here’s changes for Racing Point, Marcin Budkowski’s promotion