Does Alpine still have a future in Formula 1?

Does Alpine still have a future in Formula 1?

27-11-2022 18:16 Last update: 28-11-2022 00:04

Alpine (and formerly Renault) returned to Formula 1 in 2016 after several years of absence. The French marque did not hide its ambition on its comeback: they wanted to fight for world titles. Anno 2022, Alpine has taken steps but remains far away from being able to fight with the absolute top teams. According to Marca, it is therefore not out of the question for Alpine to leave Formula 1 again in the future.

The past three seasons Alpine finished fifth in the constructors' championship, but this year Otmar Szafnauer 's team managed to seize fourth place in the World Championship. So there is progression, but it is not enough. The aforementioned Spanish medium cites a few points that do not make Alpine's future in the premier class of motorsport any more certain.

Blunders at Alpine

In 2021, the name of the F1 team changed from Renault to Alpine. Its purpose? They wanted to create an image that should come close to the sports brand of excellence. They haven't exactly succeeded in that, because besides unreliable engines, what happened in the driver market is causing Alpine to lose its image this year.

Fernando Alonso left the team unexpectedly and his intended replacement Oscar Piastri could leave for McLaren for free due to contractual inaccuracies. With Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon, they do now have an all-French duo on the grid in 2023, but they do not have the appeal of a two-time world champion.

Alpine is not in a strong position 'performance wise'. Hardly any investment has been made at the Enstone factory lately, which has also driven Alonso to the exit. Furthermore, the driver academy has brought few talents in recent years. Some drivers have made it to Formula 1, but they ended up training for another race stable. Examples include Guanyu Zhou (now Alfa Romeo Racing) and so Piastri.

Unrest at the top

In terms of management, things have been doom and gloom within the Viry-based formation for years. The team has already gone through several reorganisations, but not one of them has been successful. Davide Brivio was announced as race director with much fanfare, but seems to have silently disappeared from the scene. Pat Fry also fails to make a difference as chief technical officer and, according to Marca, Otmar Szafnauer was only brought in as team boss because he brought BWT as a sponsor. Alain Prost and Marcin Budkowski left the team in a way that did not deserve the beauty prize.

Andretti, Porsche or Lotus?

Also mentioned is that Alpine will run its road cars electric by 2024 (Renault has sold 50 percent of its internal combustion engine business to China's Geely). Formula 1 as the brand's signboard, therefore makes less sense. Meanwhile, Andretti wants to enter Formula 1 that year and Porsche is also interested in an entry. A takeover by Lotus (as part of Geely's network) is also not entirely inconceivable.

In short, an Alpine exit is far from imminent, but it is clear that things are by no means running smoothly for the French.

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