Alain Prost tipped for F1 return as Renault team principal

When Renault announced a couple of weeks ago that it had reacquired a Formula One team, the company said it would not reveal its strategy until February. That includes its full management structure. But according to the latest off-season rumors, the French automaker is expected to name Alain Prost as its team principal.

Prost is a name that should require no introduction, but we'll remind you just the same. The Frenchman is a four-time Formula One World Champion, having diced it with the likes of Ayrton Senna, Niki Lauda, Keke Rosberg, and Damon Hill – fellow champions all – back in the 1980s and 90s. After retiring from the sport in 1993, Prost went on to run his own F1 team from 1997 and to 2001, and competed in the Andros Trophy ice racing series where he won three titles. His last F1 and Andros titles both came under Renault power, the former in a Williams and the latter in a Dacia. Most recently – and arguably most applicable – he's been running the e.Dams team that Renault actively supports in Formula E.

Now it appears he's being called back up to the big leagues. The word comes from Giancarlo Minardi, founder of his eponymous F1 team that now competes under the name Scuderia Toro Rosso. Similar rumors have pointed toward Renault bringing Fernando Alonso back on board following their earlier achievements together, but that would require the company to buy him out of his high-priced contract with McLaren.

Renault first bought the team in question in 2000 from Benetton, which had taken over from Toleman. After two world titles, Renault sold the team to Genii Capital, which ran it for several seasons under the Lotus name. Now drowning in debt, however, Genii sold the team back to Renault for less than $1.50, bringing it back under the French automaker's wing. Cyril Abiteboul, who previous ran the Renault Sport F1 division and the Caterham team, is slated to stay in his current position as managing director, while longtime Renault executive Jérôme Stoll will serve as the team's chairman.

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