According to Marcin Budkowski, a highly respected Formula 1 engineer who departed from the Renault-owned team early last year, the problem lies in the team’s budget.
In response to F1 legend Alain Prost’s recent remarks about the troubling situation at Alpine, with upper management abruptly dismissing team boss Otmar Szafnauer and long-serving Alan Permane, Budkowski explained, “Alain and I generally see things in a similar way. I spoke with him shortly after these changes were announced.”
He continued, “Honestly, I’m sad as well, because this team is still close to my heart. I spent many years there,” expressing his attachment to the team and its people. “I know a lot of people there and have contact with them. And they deserve better – better results and better management.”
However, the root cause of Alpine’s struggles, Budkowski believes, is not related to the personnel at Enstone or Viry.
“The problem with Renault in Formula 1 has always been that the ambitions are very high, but the financial resources are insufficient,” he asserted.
He further elaborated, “Every year the ambitions got higher and higher, but the resources that are put into it do not. But the Renault board never wanted to hear that. Otmar has spent many years in Formula 1 with different teams – he knows what it takes to win and how difficult it is to achieve it. He also knows how much money is spent by the teams who win, and how long it takes to be successful.”
According to Budkowski, this realistic approach to the team’s challenges might not have been well-received by Renault.
Regarding the recent management turmoil, Budkowski believes Renault’s reaction is influenced by the notable progress made by other comparable teams.
“Aston Martin’s results this year, and also McLaren’s, have shown that progress can be accelerated,” he stated, while acknowledging that the process isn’t linear and that there are ups and downs.
“Although you can see Aston Martin slipping back a bit now, and McLaren has its good and bad moments. It is not a linear process, but those results from Aston Martin and McLaren have not helped the situation at Alpine,” added Budkowski.