Ted Kravitz questions motivation behind Laurent Rossi’s ‘weird’ criticism of Alpine

Michelle Foster
Otmar Szafnauer on the grid with Alan Permane and Ciaron Pilbeam. Australia April 2023

Alpine team boss Otmar Szafnauer on the grid with Alan Permane and Ciaron Pilbeam. Australia April 2023

Launching a scathing attack on Alpine’s “amateurish” performances in Bahrain and Baku, Ted Kravitz has questioned the motivation behind Laurent Rossi’s recent criticism of the Alpine team.

Declaring this season that only P4 would be good enough for the Alpine bosses, the Enstone team is short of the target as they’re down in sixth place with 14 points, that’s 64 behind P4 Ferrari.

The team didn’t do themselves any favours in Baku where Esteban Ocon was hit with a hat-trick of penalties in the grand prix nor in Baku where Pierre Gasly’s car caught fire in practice while Ocon had to start from the pit lane after getting his set-up wrong.

Alpine CEO Rossi vented to Canal+ in which he stated the year had started “with a flawed performance and flawed delivery” and that team’s results are “not worthy of the resources we spend”.

He didn’t hold back using the words “amateurishness”, “mediocre, bad” and “not acceptable”.

Although team boss Otmar Szafnauer has tried to downplay the criticism, pointing out that Alpine bounced back from Baku with a double points-haul at the Miami Grand Prix, Sky Sports pit lane reporter Kravitz wants to know what pushed Rossi to so publicly slate his own team.

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“They scored points with both cars and while that makes for a positive sounding press release, I’m not sure it’s all positive here,” he said in his post-Miami Grand Prix notebook.

“In fact I need to read and understand the Laurent Rossi interview to Canal+ because apparently it was a real doozy where he criticised the team for not being quick enough and having a nightmare last time in Baku.

“It was better here but still they’re not that quick.

“If Alpine’s stated aim at the start of the season was to cement P4 in the Constructors’ and get closer to P3 then they are miles off.

“And Rossi is absolutely right that they need to get their act together and get quicker. Now there are signs they are doing that.

“Was Laurent Rossi’s ire sparked by Luca De Meo, the Renault boss? Was it having a go or a motivation at Otmar Szafnauer?

“It’s really weird, so that’s why I want to read the article myself and see what it was and if you can tell the motivation.

“Or if he’s just being brutally honest?

“Probably all of those things.”

Following on from his Canal+ comments, Rossi doubled down in an interview with Formula1.com in which he took aim at team boss Szafnauer.

“It is Otmar and the rest of his team as Otmar alone doesn’t do everything, but the buck stops with Otmar,” he said. “It’s Otmar’s responsibility, yes.

“He is responsible for the performance of the team – that’s his job. There is no hiding here.”

That Szafnauer’s former team Aston Martin is likely to put paid to Alpine’s goal of finishing P4 is perhaps another bone of contention.

“They finished eighth and ninth [in Miami] so they’ll say that’s a good one,” Kravitz continued, “but really when you look at Aston Martin, who might be third in the Constructors’ Championship at the end of the season, Ferrari or Mercedes might drop down to fourth depending on how it goes, it’s looking like Alpine are going to drop down to fifth.”