French F1 legend Alain Prost is disheartened by the current state of affairs at the Renault-owned Alpine team.
Facing performance challenges, the Enstone and Viry-based outfit has experienced upheavals in its shareholding and management in recent weeks and months.
The situation escalated at Spa-Francorchamps as the team unexpectedly announced the departures of boss Otmar Szafnauer, long-serving Alan Permane, and renowned technical chief Pat Fry, all taking effect almost immediately.
Fry has already secured a position with Williams.
Interim Alpine boss Bruno Famin explained, “We were not on the same line on the timeline to recover or reach the level of performance we are aiming for.”
Regarding the appointment of a new full-time boss, Famin stated that the decision will be made “later on.” However, rumors in the paddock have already linked former Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto to the position.
“We’re not at that stage,” Famin asserted.
“I think I’m going to assess the situation, think about the priorities, consolidate everything and then define if we need a new structure or not. When that will be done, we will see,” he added in response to inquiries about Binotto.
Amidst these developments, the FIA, at the F1 Commission meeting on Friday, acknowledged that Renault’s current engine is nearly 30 horsepower behind other rivals on the grid.
“The F1 Commission discussed ways to remedy this discrepancy,” confirmed a statement.
Famin admitted, “The engine is down, but I don’t think it’s so down. It’s not the best engine on the grid, for sure.”
At the meeting, Alpine’s rivals reportedly rejected a request from Renault to increase the fuel flow rate to instantly enhance engine power.
The departures of Szafnauer, Permane, and Fry during the mid-season have raised questions, with former F1 driver Timo Glock voicing concerns about the timing.
“It just brings unrest to the team,” he told Sky Deutschland. “The timing is extremely unfortunate.”
Alain Prost, a French racing legend and quadruple world champion, is equally dismayed by the situation at Renault’s F1 team.
“First, I am very attached to this team,” he told L’Equipe. “Renault allowed me to race and fight for a world title for the first time. And then I was involved in the Enstone-Viry structure in more recent years.”
“I love this team, and seeing it in this state today just saddens me. It deserves better and has everything it needs to get there. I just believe they have to rely on history to understand the error,” Prost said.
“If you look at the great successes of the last 30 years, you will find simple structures, a detachment from an industrial organization chart, and a team built around three or four strong personalities together with a champion driver.”