Alpine F1 team not for sale as Renault boss rubbishes rumours

Alpine not for sale as Renault boss rubbishes rumours

Renault boss Luca de Meo insists the company has no intention of selling Alpine Formula 1 squad.

Alpine placed fourth in 2022, but they have been struggling to perform over the last two seasons and are down to just two points this year amid a lot of turmoil behind the scenes prompting suggestions that the team could look to exit F1.

The downturn and the turmoil that has been happening behind the scenes, which has resulted to a large number of key figures leaving over the past two season, has spurred speculations that the French automaker may consider selling up.

Executive Chairman De Meo acknowledges that several parties have expressed interest in acquiring the team. However, he underlined that it would be “stupid” for Renault to consider selling up and maintained that it is not likely to happen in the near future.

“I want to make this very clear: There is no way we are going to give up,” he said. “It’s not my style. We will not sell even a part of this thing. We don’t need the money.

“I’ve had people making offers left and right, then talking in the press about it. But we’re not interested. It would be stupid and I won’t do it.”

The squad has been losing key personnel at a rapid pace amid its struggles. This season, technical director Matt Harman and head of aerodynamics Dirk de Beer have left, and last week it was made official that director of operations Rob White had been ousted after 20 years serving the Enstone team.

Last year, chief executive Laurent Rossi, sporting director Alan Permane, chief technical officer Pat Fry, and team principal Otmar Szafnauer all left in a matter of weeks. Davide Brivio, the director of racing, also left at the end of the season.

Bruno Famin originally served as vice president of Alpine Motorsport before taking over as the team boss following Szafnauer’s exit while David Sanchez signed as a technical director last month after leaving McLaren. However, De Meo issued a warning, saying that “there will be more” exits.

The engine is the primary cause of performance issues for the team. De Meo acknowledges that the team has been plagued by this issue for ten years now: it is just not as powerful as the Mercedes, Honda, and Ferrari power units that are currently operating on the grid.

“When we began the hybrid era [in 2014], our engine didn’t perform,” he said. “We had been world champions with Red Bull [as engine suppliers] but with hybrid, things went wrong.

“Even the engine we developed in 2021 had a 0.2-0.5 second disadvantage every lap. And this year we’ve screwed up with the car. If you combine everything, we’re up to 1.5 seconds from where we need to be.

“For this year and 2025, we will try with the current set-up, then push to get things right for the next cycle. That’s the challenge. But we will do everything necessary to be a competitive team.”

While de Meo has conceded that Alpine does not currently deserve a spot at the head of the field under current conditions, he has backed the Enstone-based outfit to improve ging forward.

“Alpine should be one of the teams in F1 with the broadest shoulders, because it has the backing of the Renault Group,” he said. “I don’t think we deserve to be a top team at present, but we’re not in F1 to be tourists so we need to work hard.

“Sure, we’ve made mistakes. It happens. But I think we’re right to put F1 at the core of Alpine, and to paint the car blue to represent a distinctive automotive culture.

“This brand is totally legitimate because it was always in competition. But it can do much better, and I don’t want to miss the opportunity.”

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