The deal was built on a positive relationship borne from F1 links
The new Alpine sports car will be co-developed by Renault and Caterham. Both Renault and Caterham declined to comment on the story, but the deal is believed to be well advanced and likely to be confirmed within a month. Renault currently supplies F1 engines to Caterham, which is where talks over joint projects are believed to have stemmed from.
The Caterham Group is split in to four divisions: Caterham Cars, Caterham F1, Caterham Technology and Innovation and Caterham Composites. The Technology division was set up earlier this year with the specific goal of "assisting Caterham Cars on the development of the next generation of accessible and affordable sportscars." At the time insiders admitted the firm, which is now based in Leafield in Oxfordshire. was already working on projects for external companies.
Renault boss Carlos Tavares has long asserted that the new Alpine sports car project was dependent on finding a partner to share development costs. Caterham is expected to launch a parallel model using the same chassis. Tavares told Autocar: "The platform layout is now finished. This is a car that must appeal to the emotions."
Further specifics are not clear, but last month Caterham confirmed it had appointed deputy managing director of Renault Sport F1 Cyril Abiteboul as its new CEO. The 35-year-old’s move was greeted with shock as he has long been seen as one of Renault’s most promising up-and-coming talents by managers in both the road and race car programmes. However, it now appears likely that he will head up the new partnership and maintain his Renault links.
Renault Sport F1’s managing director, Jean-Francois Caubet, alluded to this during a press conference at the recent Singapore Grand Prix. "After eight years at Renault I think this is a fantastic opportunity for him do something more challenging. And maybe he will be back at Renault one day."