Ex-Formula 1 driver Karun Chandhok fears that Alpine’s recent exodus means it could be heading towards the same fate as Toyota.
Alpine has endured a disappointing 2023 season, slumping to sixth in the Constructors’ Championship after only scoring 57 points across the first 12 rounds.
It was announced during the Belgian Grand Prix weekend that Team Principal Otmar Szafnauer and Sporting Director Alan Permane would be departing the team.
After Szafnauer blasted Renault for failing to show the patience required to achieve success in Formula 1, Chandhok compares the Anglo-French side’s situation to the one that eventually concluded with Toyota dropping off the grid at the end of 2009.
“The reality is that they are the sixth best team on the grid with the sixth fastest car, but they are the third largest global brand in the automotive world,” he said via CRASH.net.
“Your results are not good enough. My concern is if they are going to continue with managers who come from outside the world of motorsport and F1.
“If you look at the people who are in some departments of Enstone, they have been signed up from the road car division. Perhaps now you are asking the question that the Renault corporation.
“The same thing happened to Toyota 20 years ago. They are going down a path where they can throw in the towel with Formula 1 or they are going down a corporate path that I am convinced is not going to work.”
Alongside Permane and Szafnauer, Chief Technical Officer Pat Fry has also left to take up the same position at Williams.
Chandhok, who made 11 starts in F1, believes there’s “a lack of direction” at Alpine, with the Indian questioning the decision to let the trio go simultaneously.
“Three great figures have left,” he continued. “Alan Permane had been there for more than 33 years and Pat Fry seems to have left on his own, no one has thrown him out.
“He is a great signing for Williams and at Alpine I think there is a lack of direction.
“For me, they have fired important people in the operational aspect and from within the track, so I think you already know where your problems are.”
Alpine is unlikely to improve upon its current position in the standings, having lost considerable ground to McLaren since the Woking squad introduced a series of upgrades before the break.
McLaren, who lost out to Alpine in the fight to finish fourth last term, has built up a healthy 46-point advantage over the Renault-owned team.
However, the Enstone camp entered the shutdown on a more positive note on the track, with Pierre Gasly delivering third place in the Belgian Grand Prix Sprint Race.
Although the Frenchman was unable to deliver more points in Sunday’s main event, team-mate Esteban Ocon battled hard to take the chequered place in eighth position.