Vasseur pointed to a fundamental disagreement with Renault management. File photo: Renault F1

Enstone, Oxfordshire - The Renault Formula One team was left without a principal on Wednesday after Frederic Vasseur quit in the latest sudden departure to shake the sport ahead of a season of new regulations and change.

Renault said the parting was by "mutual consent" but Vasseur pointed to a fundamental disagreement.

"There was too much different vision in the management of the team," he said, "so at this stage I think it makes sense for me to leave.

"If you want to perform in F1, you need to have one leader in the team and one single way. If you have two different visions then the result is that the work inside the team is slow."

Vasseur's departure came a day after champion Mercedes announced the exit of technical head Paddy Lowe, who is now expected to show up at Williams after a period of 'gardening leave'.

For the first time in 23 years, Formula One will have no reigning world champion in action as a consequence of Nico Rosberg retiring five days after winning the title with Mercedes, his replacement has yet to be announced.

McLaren had already parted company with long-term boss Ron Dennis, while Williams' engineering head Pat Symonds left at the end of 2016.

Tail-ender Manor is meanwhile facing an uncertain future after going into administration in January 2017.

Stand-in management

Renault, which took over failing Lotus at the end of 2015 and finished ninth of 11 teams in 2016, is due to unveil its new car on 21 February, with the season starting in Australia on 26 March.

The team, with Nico Hulkenberg and Jolyon Palmer as drivers, started 2016 without a designated principal and will be run by president Jerome Stoll and managing director Cyril Abiteboul.

Vasseur, who took on his role midway through the 2016 season, has a reputation for success in the GP2 support series with his ART team.

Hulkenberg won the GP2 title with ART in 2009 and had been looking forward to linking up with Vasseur again after switching from Force India at the end of 2016.

There had for some time been reports of differences of opinion among the management despite Renault, which had restructured the team and recruited more staff, setting what looked like realistic targets.

Vasseur said in a interview early in 2016: "We knew when we took over the company that 2016 would be very difficult in terms of results. That's life. We have to build up a strong team for the future."

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