Alpine ‘struggle to have talent’ with long wait for signings

Henry Valantine
Alpine celebrate Esteban Ocon's victory in Hungary.

Renault CEO Luca de Meo says the length of contracts in place at Formula 1 teams means Alpine can “struggle to have talent” when their new signings take a long time to be available to them.

The Enstone team has been evolving after its rebrand from Renault, and personnel changes have come with it as Alpine look to climb the standings in Formula 1.

Executive director Marcin Budkowski departed the team at the end of the season, with longstanding rumours in the paddock claiming that Otmar Szafnauer will move across to Alpine to run their team, which have only been fuelled after he recently departed Aston Martin.

De Meo said staff changes are commonplace in the sport, but the long contracts attached to senior staff members can be a barrier into hiring people from other teams quickly.

A recent example of this is the transfer of Dan Fallows, Red Bull’s head of aerodynamics, transferring to Aston Martin. Although Fallows’ transfer was announced last summer, he will not move across to his new team until April.

With that, the Renault CEO acknowledged that it can be tough to create the team of people he wants in good time – adding to the pressure placed on those already in post to perform.

“There will always be changes, because it is a team that has had changes last year, but in F1 the contracts that people have are very long,” De Meo told Marca.

“Before you can activate a signing, it takes one or two years, and we struggle to have talent. That’s why you shouldn’t be surprised that there are changes.

“My people know that, they know that if they don’t do well, I will always look, until I find the starting eleven.”

 

Continuing with the football analogy, when the interviewer cheekily questioned if the captain of this ‘starting eleven’ looks like an Aston Martin [referring to a potential move for Szafnauer], De Meo quipped: “There it goes. Here it is like ‘calciomercato’ [transfer window]!”

Alpine announced they will be launching the A522 on Monday 21 February, two days prior to the beginning of pre-season testing in Barcelona – with the three days of running being held behind closed doors.

 

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