The mass exodus of senior staff at Alpine has prompted criticism of its running by former staff and stakeholders including four-time world champion Alain Prost. The 68-year-old lambasted the “incapable” former CEO Laurent Rossi whose management “broke the momentum that had been put in place since 2016 to reach these podiums and this victory.”
Perhaps the most shocking exit from Alpine was that of Permane, who had been at the Enstone team for over three decades having joined Benetton in 1989 as a test electronics engineer.
Despite being a mainstay at the team for 34 years, Permane was not spared by former colleague Franck Montagny in a rare defence of Alpine’s upper hierarchy on social media.
Montagny, who served as a test driver for Renault from 2003-2005, claimed that Permane had previously been removed from the race team to the test team where he proceeded to “tire everyone out”.
“I think that the rising morale of the troops is mainly due to the fact that Permane, Szafnauer, etc. were fired, and frankly, they were useless,” seven-time grand prix starter Montagny said.
“I was already with Permane when I was at Renault in 2003, and Renault took him off the race team because they couldn’t stand him on the race team any longer and put him on the test team.
“When he returned to the test team, he tired everyone out, and he’s been with the team for 34 years. I think it was the right thing to do, bravo Bruno Famin [Alpine Motorsports vice president].”
Montagny also accused the former Sporting Director of an apparent disliking of French drivers when Permane allegedly claimed that Alpine could have secured a double podium at the 2023 Monaco Grand Prix if the team had better drivers and a better power unit than the current Renault engine.
“You have to remember that guys like Permane said recently that if they had a good engine and other drivers, they wouldn’t be on the podium in Monaco, they’d be on the double [podium],” he continued.
“Because you should also know that Permane can’t stand French drivers.
“If you look at Alpine’s results over the last five years, Alpine, Renault, whatever mix you want, Lotus, it’s all the same.
“It’s always, ‘we’re going to try to get into the top bracket, we’re trying to score points.’ And from time to time, when the opportunity arises, you need a podium finish or a win.
“But the car’s performance has been the same for five years. It doesn’t change anything, it doesn’t evolve, it doesn’t work.”
Alpine currently sits sixth in the Constructor’s Championship on 57 points – some 46 behind rivals McLaren.