Alpine make huge Ferrari claim as F1 ambitions remain sky high

Jamie Woodhouse
Alpine's Pierre Gasly on track at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix. Baku, April 2023.

Alpine's Pierre Gasly on track at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix. Baku, April 2023.

Renault CEO Luca de Meo has vowed that Alpine’s F1 team will become France’s answer to Ferrari and give French fans a national “symbol” to cheer on.

Alpine are now into their third season as a part of the Formula 1 grid, following Renault’s decision to rebrand their works team to take on the name of their Alpine division.

The team has tasted victory once, Esteban Ocon claiming a shock first win at the 2021 Hungarian Grand Prix, but progress towards fighting at the front of the grid on merit has been slow.

Alpine set out to be the “French Ferrari”

It is safe to say that Alpine has gone all-in with efforts to hammer home its French roots. On top of the team having its engine base in Viry and being owned by French brand Renault, the team also installed an all-French driver line-up of Ocon and Pierre Gasly for the F1 2023 campaign.

And De Meo, who is well aware, as an Italian, of the connection between the Ferrari brand and their home nation, wants to replicate that between Alpine and the people of France.

“Alpine in F1 will become the French Ferrari,” said De Meo, as per Sky Italia.

“But in France this sport is not passionate. The reason is that the French do not have a symbol to cheer for as Ferrari is for Italy.

“Our objective with Alpine is to link colours to passion.”

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But will Renault invest to establish this status for Alpine?

With Alpine’s progress having stagnated in the current F1 campaign, all while rivals Aston Martin and McLaren have surged up the grid, Renault have not been afraid to wield the axe.

Already Alpine CEO Laurent Rossi had been removed from the position, before mid-Belgian GP weekend it was announced that team principal Otmar Szafnauer and sporting director Alan Permane were finished after that Spa-Francorchamps visit.

Such changes have not exactly seen Alpine showered with praise within the F1 paddock, and former Alpine F1 executive director Marcin Budkowski would criticise Renault for, in his opinion, holding the ambitions but not providing the budget to back them up.

“The problem with Renault in Formula 1 has always been that the ambitions are very high, but the financial resources are insufficient,” he said on Viaplay’s Polish F1 broadcast.

“Every year the ambitions got higher and higher, but the resources that are put into it do not. But the Renault board never wanted to hear that.”

Alpine are P6 in the current F1 2023 Constructors’ standings, with Ocon’s P3 in Monaco their only podium finish of the season so far.

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