Renault Chief calls for unity in F1 team’s ‘rift’

Renault Group’s CEO, Luca de Meo, has directed the car manufacturer’s Formula 1 squad to bridge the long-standing division between its UK and French units.

L’Equipe sports daily disclosed that de Meo made a notably rare appearance at the Alpine team’s main UK base in Enstone the previous Wednesday.

This visit is set against a backdrop of significant managerial turbulence within the F1 team, especially after the removal of chief Otmar Szafnauer and subsequent speculation around Mattia Binotto and Eric Boullier for the position.

It’s suggested that the acting team leader, Bruno Famin, might retain his role through 2023, possibly extending into 2024.

Recently at Suzuka, Famin expressed that he’s currently “assessing” the dynamics at Renault’s twin F1 facilities – the chassis-centric one at Enstone and the engine-focused site in Viry, France.

“I think one of the key things is trying to get all the people working together,” he commented.

“We have a lot of potential, but the difficulty is to put everybody together to create more performance. This is what I’m assessing now,” Famin added.

L’Equipe reported that the primary motive behind de Meo’s recent visit was indeed to foster greater collaboration between the Enstone and Viry operations.

“The Hundred Years’ War between England and France ended a long time ago,” de Meo was quoted as informing the top brass.

L’Equipe highlighted de Meo’s lack of patience with the ongoing segregation at grands prix, where Alpine’s Enstone and Viry personnel choose different hotels.

“In the motorhome they sit at different tables – one table speaking English, the other speaking French,” the newspaper noted.

To address this, Renault is arranging a rigorous team-building session in France, incorporating 100 essential members from both the Enstone and Viry divisions.

Furthermore, de Meo is reportedly discontented with the squad’s sluggish advancements.

“Can we put up with the fact that the construction of a new simulator at Enstone has been dragging on for two years?” he is quoted as stating.

“In two years, you can build an entire car plant that will produce 750,000 cars a year,” de Meo remarked.