Alain Prost has labelled former Alpine chief executive Laurent Rossi “an incapable leader”, and claims he “broke the momentum” of the team on its way to the front of the Formula 1 field.
Rossi was replaced in the role by Philippe Krief two weeks ago as he was moved to take on other “special projects” within the Renault Group, having overseen the Alpine F1 operation and been scathing in his own criticism of how they have performed this season.
Rossi’s very public disdain for how the team has been doing raised plenty of eyebrows, and a subsequent staff reshuffle has seen him replaced as Alpine CEO, and after the Belgian Grand Prix, team principal Otmar Szafnauer and ‘Team Enstone’ stalwart, sporting director Alan Permane will both leave the team.
Alain Prost: Laurent Rossi ‘thinks he can overcome his incompetence by his arrogance’
Four-time World Champion Prost had been working with Renault and Alpine as a non-executive director until 2022, leaving the team and now expressing his dismay at how former CEO Rossi ran things with the manufacturer with which he spent three seasons in the early 1980s.
Szafnauer and Permane’s departures were confirmed along with Pat Fry, who will leave to join Williams as their technical director, and the legendary ex-Formula 1 driver gave a withering assessment with how his former team are currently operating.
Even though Rossi is now out of the front line following Renault’s reshuffle at the top of the organisation, the 51-time Grand Prix winner was in no doubt as to his role in how their progress stagnated under his leadership.
“First of all, I have to say how attached I am to this team,” Prost told French publication L’Equipe.
“Through its original name, Renault, which enabled me to race and fight for a world crown for the first time. And then through my involvement in the current structure, the Enstone-Viry association, over the last few years.
“I love this team and to see it in this state today saddens and distresses me. It deserves better and has everything it needs to get there.
“I simply believe that you have to look at history to understand what went wrong. If you look at the great successes of the last thirty years, you will find a simple structure, detached from an industrial organisation chart, built around three or four strong personalities, coupled with a champion driver.
“Laurent Rossi is the most beautiful example of the Dunning-Kruger effect, that of an incapable leader who thinks he can overcome his incompetence by his arrogance and lack of humanity towards his troops.
“The one who was Alpine’s boss for 18 months thought he understood everything from the start when he was totally mistaken. His management broke the momentum that had been put in place since 2016 to reach these podiums and this victory.
“It is to be hoped that the decision taken on Friday to change other heads will be a salutary electroshock for the stable.”