Rossi: Fail early and learn fast rather than play safe

Michelle Foster
Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon, Alpine, battle at the Dutch GP. September 2021.

Alpine drivers Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon go to battle during the Dutch Grand Prix. September 2021.

Alpine need to be okay with failing, but “failing early and learning very fast from it” as playing it safe will not see the team progress, says CEO Laurent Rossi.

Rebranded as Alpine ahead of last year’s championship, the former Renault team finished fifth in the Constructors’ standings with two podium finishes, one of which was Esteban Ocon’s Hungarian Grand Prix victory.

But while the win was the team’s first since 2013 the overall result was not what Alpine wanted, the team over 400 points off the battle for the teams’ title.

A month after the 2021 season concluded in Abu Dhabi, Alpine said farewell to executive director Marcin Budkowski as well as advisor Alain Prost, the latter blaming Rossi’s ego for his exit.

Rossi is adamant change is important.

“It’s a question of changing a couple of things here and there,” the Frenchman explained to The Race.

“The culture of being okay with failing, but failing early and learning very fast from it, rather than being afraid of it and just trying to do a safe job, which will probably get you to P5 but you won’t explore the boundaries.

Members of the Alpine team celebrate Esteban Ocon's victory at the Hungarian Grand Prix.

“That happens a lot. I have several examples like that. And I’m not saying it’s absolutely the reality of what’s wrong, it’s more an observation.

“[But] I have many observations like that which have proven true in other disciplines. Whether it was at Google or consulting, or at Renault before.

“If you do these things the way you’ve always done them, you will have the results you’ve always had.”

Rossi believes Alpine have an advantage over their rival midfield teams such as Aston Martin and AlphaTauri.

While the latter two are customers, Aston Martin taking Mercedes engines and AlphaTauri using Red Bull’s rebranded Honda units, Alpine are a full works team.

So while they have the same goals, all three wanting to mix it up with Ferrari and McLaren before ultimately attacking the top two spots in the pecking order, he feels Alpine have the best shot.

“One of the reasons why we believe this plan is very likely to yield some fruit is because we are a works team first and foremost,” Rossi said. “So compared to all the other midfield teams, we have at least that.


“It is a very decisive differential factor. Because even if the power unit is not the main driver of performance it is still one, and its integration into the chassis and the resulting aerodynamic performance is another.

“If you harness that well, you are in very good shape. I think this is one of the things that puts us potentially at an advantage.”


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Alpine CEO says better to fail and learn than play safe

Laurent Rossi believes that it is better to fail than to play safe.