Vasseur: Hulkenberg ‘major hurdle’ in leaving Renault

First it was Ron Dennis leaving/pushed out as CEO at McLaren, Dennis had just hired Jost Capito from VW and now both men are gone from the McLaren F1 program. It reminds me of the situation at Renault with Frederic Vasseur’s announcement that he was leaving Renault just after hiring Nico Hulkenberg.

“That became a major hurdle when I made the decision to leave Renault,” Vasseur said of his relationship with Hulkenberg on French TV programme 19h30 Sport.

“I am close to Nico and I put a lot of efforts in getting him drive for Renault.

“I think my decision to leave the team was best because it was not working, it’s clear.

“Nico and I talked a lot about my decision. He’s been very supportive.

“My decision was hard for him to accept, but he is fully involved and he will give his best.

“That’s a reason why I wanted him in the team. The team is being restructured and for me it was important to have a leader.

“Whatever may happen, Nico will act as a leader and pull the team forward.

“I think it’s a crucial factor in the success of a team.”

It makes you wonder if the rest of the team were as committed to the Hulkenberg appointment as Frederic was. It seems McLaren weren’t as keen on Capito’s presence in Woking and I wonder just how long-term Nico’s role will be at Renault.

Most likely everything will be fine as Renault have a top-shelf driver in Hulkenberg and his teammate, Jolyon Palmer, bringing cash so things could be a lot worse…Maldonado worse.

This also reminds me of when Ross Brawn brought Lewis Hamilton over to Mercedes and then promptly left. Lewis has, on a few occasions, commented that he misses Ross’s influence and approach at the team and now Paddy Lowe, the man who came to Mercedes prompting the Brawn departure, has left the team as well. Those have to be challenging situations for sure.

While Renault say they are not planning on replacing Vasseur, Mercedes is said to be taking a serious look at James Allison, some reports suggesting that’s a done deal and they are simply waiting for Allison’s gardening leave to end after leaving Ferrari.

Hat Tip: Autosport

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Interesting angle. As yet, I haven’t heard of an F1 team interested in Vasseur, which is a bit strange. And I’d like to know whether Mercedes would be interested in Hülkenberg, especially since Bottas wasn’t that much better than Massa at the twilight of his career. To me, 2017 will probably be the year of bad team decisions on drivers.


Vasseur mentored a heck of a lot of young drivers at ART, it was only a matter of time before ‘the French Ron Dennis’ stepped up to F1.

Him leaving is a real shame, but he’s probably a dictator type and didn’t like having to share power with the Renault insiders. But I doubt we’ve seen the last of him. Last I heard there was a potential opening at McLaren…