Following former team boss Otmar Szafnauer’s claim of an alarming spending shortfall when he arrived at Alpine, technical director Matt Harman allayed any funding fears as the team invests in infrastructure upgrades.
Renault rebranded their works Formula 1 team to take on the title of their Alpine division from 2021, but progress has been slow.
With one victory and four podiums overall scored since then, Alpine has never been able to latch on to the group of teams regularly chasing podiums, never mind wins, with Szafnauer recently offering a potential insight into why that has been the case.
Funding flowing at Alpine into infrastructure upgrades
Szafnauer became Alpine team boss ahead of the 2022 campaign, and recently told Peter Windsor during a YouTube interview that when he got there, Alpine were operating “double-digit” millions below cost cap level, while the team lacked what he thought was a vital department in an aerodynamic performance group.
However, Harman assured that the team, which recently saw a 24 per cent stake sold to a group of celebrity investors, is not cash-strapped, explaining that investments are being made with the view to a swift improvement in their results, though the area of focus falls outside of the budget cap.
Alpine are instead investing to improve their infrastructure, including creating a new simulator building, which they hope will then soon translate into better performances on the track, with a close eye on the new generation of Formula 1 challengers and power units to come in 2026.
“Our focus is very much on the future and the 2026 regulations as well as the cars that we need to do between now and then,” said Harman.
“We’ve also got a big programme at both sites [Enstone and Viry] to improve the capabilities and the functions. You will have seen this in CapEx equalisation topics that have gone on with the FIA.
“We’re fully funded to achieve those, we’re going to put all those pieces of equipment in, there’ll be alive and working to feed into the 2026 regulations. They will also be feeding into cars well before that.
“We’ve been focusing on our simulation tools, we need to be sharp, better at getting good answers to difficult questions more quickly.
“And I’ve experienced that in teams that I’ve worked at in the past. And that’s one of our capability improvements.
“So we’re doing all of those things. And the plan that we’ve had for the last three years from my perspective is unchanged, we’re just accelerating it.
“We’re well funded. We’ve got enough people, it’s just about getting on with it, getting our heads down.”
Harman is one of the few senior figures to remain at Alpine after their 2023 clear-out, with Szafnauer, sporting director Alan Permane, chief technical officer Pat Fry, Alpine Academy chief and former racing director Davide Brivio and CEO Laurent Rossi all moved on.