Alpine’s ‘most important winter’ since Renault’s return

Mark Scott
Esteban Ocon drives his Alpine during the Turkish Grand Prix. Turkey October 2021

Esteban Ocon drives his Alpine during the Turkish Grand Prix. Turkey October 2021

Alpine executive director Marcin Budkowski has highlighted the current winter break as the “most important” since Renault’s return to Formula 1.

Alpine’s opening chapter in Formula 1 has been a promising one as they finished the campaign fifth in the Constructors’ Championship and celebrated a memorable win for Esteban Ocon in Hungary, plus a long-awaited podium return for Fernando Alonso at the Qatar Grand Prix.

Away from the track, the Enstone team have one of the more complicated structures at the head of a Formula 1 operation and some of those key figures have been the subject of speculation in the closing stages of the season.

With CEO Laurent Rossi suggesting a staff reshuffle could be on the way just a year after the last restructure, racing director Davide Brivio has been linked with a move back to MotoGP.

Meanwhile, Aston Martin team principal Otmar Szafnauer was forced to address questions about his own future amid talk he could be moving to Alpine, with Budkowski potentially moving in the opposite direction.

Budkowski would not get drawn into those specifics again, but did stress the importance of this winter period if Alpine are to continue building momentum in 2022 and beyond.

“There is a lot going on for next year and it’s probably the most important winter for this team since Renault came back,” Budkowski said, quoted by Autosport.

“It’s the first car we are designing under the cost cap. We are not at the cap, we are below, so it’s actually not impacting us but it is impacting our competitors. In relative terms, it gives us a better platform and a better position.

“And a reset of some areas of the team that are working a lot better, and I’m excited to see what they will do. So I think at this stage, this should be the focus in the team.”

Budkowski also wants to ensure the rest of the Alpine team do not get distracted by the rumour mill and keep the predominant focus on the 2022 car instead.

“As part of the top management in the team, my role is to protect the team from rumours,” he added.

“Really, what I want people to talk about at the coffee machine is how to make the car go quicker, not who is doing what or what the management structure would look like.”

Alonso and Ocon will spearhead Alpine’s charge again in 2022, leading to a “very special situation” for the team.

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