F1 team boss calls ‘bull****’ on sale rumours after management upheaval

Henry Valantine
Alpine driver Esteban Ocon racing at the British Grand Prix. Silverstone, July 2023.

Alpine's Esteban Ocon racing at the British Grand Prix. Silverstone, July 2023.

Renault CEO Luca de Meo has dubbed rumours of Alpine being sold “bull****” after its recent off-track upheaval in F1.

Team principal Otmar Szafnauer and long-serving sporting director Alan Permane were relieved of their duties in July, with Alpine CEO Laurent Rossi moved to a non-descript ‘special projects’ role within the parent Renault Group.

Demand to be on the F1 grid is high, with multiple bidders having made their intentions clear to add a team to the grid in future, while Michael Andretti has revealed his attempts in the past to buy out multiple existing teams, such as Haas and Alfa Romeo – all of which were batted away.

Luca de Meo: Alpine F1 sale rumours “bull****”

Alpine recently received fresh investment through a 24% stake in the team being bought through RedBird Capital Partners, an investment firm which includes Hollywood stars and Wrexham AFC owners Rob McElhenney and Ryan Reynolds on its books, in a deal which valued the entire team at around £700m back in June.

But despite the recent fluctuation in the team’s form and off-track uncertainty, Renault boss De Meo was quick to deny that the team was fully up for sale.

“I’m disappointed because we did poorly in Monza, after a podium in Zandvoort but we are not at all where we should be,” De Meo told the Italian edition of Motorsport.com.

“We have to do a relaunch job piece by piece. And all those stories that I would like to sell the team are bulls***.

“F1 is part of the Alpine project like endurance and other races, so we move forward and we have to grow.”

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With Alpine well into their so-called 100-race plan to get back to the front of the field and fighting for titles, with their last championship coming in 2006 with Fernando Alonso when ‘Team Enstone’ was known as Renault, De Meo insists that there is still scope to bring the team to the top of the sport.

“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.”

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