Alpine sign senior staff member weeks after sudden McLaren departure

Sam Cooper

Following his sudden departure from McLaren just a few weeks ago, David Sanchez has landed on his feet as he returns to Enstone and joins Alpine.

The French engineer previously worked at Renault from 2005 to 2007 as a junior aerodynamicist but returns in a senior role and will operate as Alpine’s executive technical director.

Alpine land major signing following dramatic McLaren departure

Sanchez, who spent 10 years at Ferrari, rejoined McLaren at the start of this season but left after just three months following a disagreement about the role he was in.

He had been expected to serve a period of gardening leave as is standard with high-level F1 staff but Alpine have confirmed he will join the team from today as he reports to team principal and vice president of Alpine Motorsports Bruno Famin.

Sanchez said: “I’m excited by this challenge at Alpine. I’m looking forward to working at Enstone again, the place where I started my Formula 1 career.

“This team has always had so many fantastic people involved and there is clearly so much potential to unlock. We have a big task ahead to improve on-track performance and it is this type of challenge that motivates me. I’m very much ready to begin and look forward to working with the Enstone-Viry technical teams again with the sole aim of bringing regular success back to this great team.”

Famin said: “I am delighted to welcome David back to Enstone, where he started his career back in 2005. This is a key appointment to ensure we are optimising everything we do as a team and focusing on the right performance areas.

“It is clear that the performance of the car and development path has not moved at a sufficient pace relative to our ambitions as a team. We look forward to welcoming David and working hard together to achieve the ultimate success.”

In his new role, Sanchez will oversee the technical department at Enstone and will have responsibility of the performance, engineering, and aerodynamic areas of the team.

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Alpine also recently adopted a similar technical team as McLaren and Sanchez will now be at the head of the three-pronged approach with technical director of performance, Ciaron Pilbeam, technical director of engineering Joe Burnell, and technical director of aerodynamics David Wheater all reporting to him.

At the time of his departure from McLaren, team principal Andrea Stella said the role had changed since they first agreed terms more than a year before.

“Following thoughtful discussions between David Sanchez and the team leadership, the mutual decision has been taken for David to leave the team,” Stella said of the move.

“Upon our joint reflection, it became apparent that the role, responsibilities and ambitions associated with David’s position did not align with our original expectations when he agreed to join us in February 2023.”

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