Alpine CEO, Laurent Rossi, is not happy. He’s not happy with the 8 points they have and their current 6th in the championship and who can blame him? He signed two young drivers in Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon, brought Otmar Szafnauer in as the new team boss and extended sponsorship of BWT but to day, he’s calling the performance ‘unacceptable’ and amateurish’.
“It’s disappointing, it’s actually bad,” he said. “This year ended up starting with a flawed performance and flawed delivery. It’s obvious our position in the standings is not worthy of the resources we spend, and we are quite far – in fact very far – from this year’s end goal.
“I’m noting not only an obvious lack of performance and rigour in the delivery, but also potentially a state of mind that is not up to this team’s past standards.”
That wasn’t the only thoughts he had on the team. Regarding their first race of the 2023 season, he said:
“I did not like the first grand prix, because there was a lot of – I’m sorry for saying this – amateurishness, which led to a result that wasn’t right. It was mediocre, bad.
“And the last race in Baku was tremendously similar to the one in Bahrain. That is not acceptable.”
If I’m honest, I was expecting much more from the team by now when they re-entered Formula 1 as Renault Sport. I reckon it takes 4-5 years to get on top of the sport and with an adequate budget, fight for a podium. Red Bull, Mercedes, Ferrari have all suggested this timeframe given their past performances.
Sure, times change but Red Bull managed to unseat Mercedes over the last couple seasons and unlike Renault/Alpine, they are a privateer, not a works team like Alpine.
The trouble all started with being out-maneuvered by Fernando Alonso and losing him to Aston Martin. Not taking advantage of him while he was at Alpine. Then getting out-flanked by McLaren a few days later for Oscar Piastri. This is all very embarrassing and Laurent is right, it’s very junior league.
To show up on the grid with a car that has been running at the back is just insult to injury and with the regulations changes in 2022, they had a big chance to make significant progress forward but failed to do so, like Aston Martin did.
At some point, you have to make serious changes. Alpine/Renault remind me of Ferrari and their dogged determination to make things work with the same people in key areas throughout the organization. If it isn’t working, just changing the team boss isn’t always the answer.
You have to have compassion, this team has been through a lot over the years with FIA regulations/technical directives that were targeted at them, financial stress, employee suicide at the office and much more. It’s hard not to have compassion for them but in the end, they aren’t winning and they should be battling for podiums if not race victories by now.
What do you do? I think the management need to look at a much deeper overhaul that goes beyond just replacing a team boss. I think they need to start parting ways with legacy folks who have consistently delivered mediocre results for years and poach serious players in engine, chassis and technical positions. Time to re-build the team.