Alpine boss opens up on sackings: ‘They promised me things that were not kept’

Sam Cooper
Otmar Szafnauer and Luca de Meo

Unkept promises led to Otmar Szafnauer's downfall.

The Renault CEO said he was promised things that were not kept after a wave of firings within the Alpine F1 team.

Otmar Szafnauer and Alan Permane both lost their jobs before the summer break while former Alpine CEO Laurent Rossi was moved away from the F1 operation to a vague ‘special projects’ role.

It marked a swift and seemingly brutal end to the regime but the cause of the sackings appeared to be in both parties’ failure to agree an acceptable timeline for the team’s recovery.

Failure to meet promises led to Alpine sackings

Alpine are deep into their 100-race plan which they had hoped would take them to the top of the World Championship but with just eight races left of 2023, they are sixth behind the usual suspects as well as McLaren and Aston Martin.

Pierre Gasly confirmed to that interim team principal Bruno Famin would remain in charge until the end of the season but Renault boss Luca de Meo has been speaking about why he felt a change was needed.

“They promised me things that were not kept,” he told the Italian edition of “When you tell your boss something, then you have to do it: it’s in the dynamics of a company.

“It seemed like a brutal action, and it was, but we are behind what we set ourselves as goals. Not that I forced them to set targets, but they set them themselves: they communicated them and this didn’t work because we didn’t have the right trajectory.”

De Meo also seemingly criticised Rossi who arrived at Alpine with a business background rather than a racing one, suggesting people thought F1 was like the outside world. recommends

F1 race wins: Which drivers have the highest win totals in F1 history?

Revealed: The F1 2023 World Championship standings without Red Bull

“I believe a lot in the Alpine project in Formula 1, but many times business people believe that F1 works in the same way,” De Meo said. “It’s like the entrepreneur who enters politics: I think politics doesn’t work like a business and in the GPs to find the right alchemy.

“To do something like Red Bull or like Mercedes did for a long cycle, you have to keep working, you have to be humble, you have to change things. It’s a complicated game that then suddenly has to start spinning. You have to work on it, you can’t close the box and then talk about it again after five years.

“We are aware of this, we theoretically have the resources to do well with a team that is quite well financed and people who don’t work must leave the F1 system, this is high competition.”

Read more: Revealed – Red Bull’s customer team plans that could rival Mercedes