Former FIA official Bruno Famin recently became the new vice president of the Renault-owned French marque’s racing programs – denying that he will replace F1 team boss Otmar Szafnauer.
Szafnauer had been directly named by Alpine CEO Laurent Rossi amid the team’s current Formula 1 struggles – but now Rossi himself is also stepping down.
Renault has announced that Rossi will be succeeded by Philippe Krief – currently vice president of engineering and product performance.
Rossi “will now focus on special projects linked to the transformation of the Group”, Renault confirmed.
“Alpine is now ready to enter a new phase of its development and to become a brand of the future,” Renault CEO Luca de Meo is quoted as saying.
It comes after a big stake in the Alpine team was sold to US-based investors for EUR 200 million, with many believing Rossi overseeing the loss of Fernando Alonso to Aston Martin this year is connected with his departure.
“I don’t want to give up,” Rossi had said in May, “but something has to change.
“It starts with admitting your mistakes,” he is quoted by L’Equipe. “This year, there are many excuses that lead to poor performance and a lack of operational excellence.
“I have to tackle this and I need the right people to deal with it. It’s their responsibility.”
Indeed, the outfit has struggled to make an impact in 2023, with Pierre Gasly having replaced Alonso for 2023 and beyond.
Gasly plays down the double-DNF at the most recent British GP.
“Ultimately, we were fighting with Fernando for the majority of the race and the performance wasn’t as bad as the final result,” Gasly insists.
“But we know we’ve got to improve performance. We know we’ve got to find more speed.
“But it’s also not like we are miles behind so we’ve just got to keep our heads down and bring more upgrades to the car and do the talking on track.”
Esteban Ocon, fellow Frenchman Gasly’s teammate, revealed in Hungary that “serious” new upgrades are now in the works for the forthcoming race in Belgium.
“It’s nice to see that the team continues to work hard, because this is the only way to close the gap from the leaders,” he said.