Alpine, the Formula 1 team formerly known as Renault, has found itself facing significant challenges in the 2023 season. After targeting fourth place in the constructors’ standings, the team has instead fallen to sixth behind Aston Martin and McLaren. This disappointing performance has led to the departure of key figures within the team, including team boss Otmar Szafnauer, sporting director Alan Permane, and CEO Laurent Rossi. Additionally, technical director Pat Fry has decided to switch to Williams for the 2024 season. These departures have signaled internal disagreements within the team about the timeline for achieving success.
Amidst their struggles, Alpine has taken the step of seeking support from other teams. The team has approached competitors to gauge their willingness to grant performance breaks for Alpine’s engine, which is believed to be lagging as much as 30bhp behind its rivals. This move highlights the team’s recognition of the need to address their performance deficit and their willingness to explore all available avenues for improvement.
In an attempt to provide motivation and address the concerns of the team, Alpine’s boss, Luca de Meo, visited the Enstone factory recently. During his visit, de Meo engaged with the entire workforce, with the remote participation of those from the Viry engine facility. Sources suggest that de Meo’s speech delivered home truths about the team’s areas of improvement. Despite the challenges, his visit seems to have had a positive impact, with the speech serving to inspire and energize the employees.
Alpine’s driver, Esteban Ocon, has expressed support for the boss’s visit and the subsequent motivation it provided. He noted the importance of having the boss reinforce the team’s commitment to Formula 1 and its willingness to invest in the project. Ocon spoke of ongoing performance meetings and the team’s efforts to improve, expressing confidence in their ability to achieve better results in the future.
Despite the team’s struggles, there have been moments of success for Alpine this season. Pierre Gasly, one of the team’s drivers, achieved a third-place finish in the Belgian Grand Prix sprint race. He also secured a podium finish in the Netherlands. Additionally, Alpine achieved a double points finish in Japan, although it was marred by a controversial team orders incident that left Gasly frustrated. These brief moments of success underscore the team’s potential and the need to capitalize on it.
When questioned about the timing of de Meo’s visit, Ocon emphasized the positive impact it had on the team. He highlighted the importance of the boss’s physical presence in the factory, which conveyed a sense of care and commitment to the project. Ocon believes that de Meo’s visit served as a reaffirmation of Alpine’s dedication to Formula 1 and its determination to improve. In his view, the timing of the visit was ideal, demonstrating that it is never too late to inspire and motivate the team.
Alpine’s Formula 1 team finds itself facing challenges and seeking improvement. With a disappointing performance in the standings and the departure of key personnel, the team is actively working to address its shortcomings. The recent visit from Alpine’s boss, Luca de Meo, has served to motivate and inspire the team. Despite the difficulties, there have been glimmers of success that highlight the team’s potential. As they continue to focus on improvement, Alpine remains committed to achieving better results in the future.