Renault CEO Luca de Meo has categorically quashed any rumours he may look to sell the Alpine F1 Team amid its latest overhaul of senior staff.
A tumultuous campaign has seen the Enstone and Viry-based squad slip to sixth in the Constructors’ Championship, having set a goal at the start of the year to close the gap to the top three in the standings.
Failure to meet expectations has seen several senior figures depart the team, with Laurent Rossi ousted as Alpine CEO, Otmar Szafnauer let go as Team Principal, Pat Fry leaving his post as Technical Director to join Williams and long-standing Sporting Director Alan Permane cut as well.
The dramatic shake-up in the team’s senior management has led some to speculate that Renault may consider selling the beleaguered outfit – but de Meo says that this is not the case.
“We have to do a relaunch job piece by piece, and all those stories that I would like to sell the team are bulls***,” de Meo told the Italian arm of Motorsport.com.
“F1 is part of the Alpine project like endurance and other races, so we move forward and we have to grow. I believe a lot in the Alpine project in Formula 1.”
Not only is de Meo against selling the team, but he is well aware that the Renault Group needs to get behind the Alpine F1 project for the long term and he has looked to the team’s immediate rivals for inspiration.
“To do something like Red Bull or like Mercedes did for a long cycle, you have to keep working, you have to be humble, you have to change things,” he added.
Szafnauer, Fry and Permane were all announced to be leaving the team mid-way through the Belgian Grand Prix weekend at the end of July, with many calling the decision in for criticism.
However, de Meo declares that the correct choice was made and he is even clearer in his reasoning.
“They promised me things that were not kept,” de Meo said. “When you tell your boss something, then you have to do it: it’s in the dynamics of a company.
“It seemed like a brutal action, and it was, but we are behind what we set ourselves as goals.
“Not that I forced them to set targets, but they set them themselves: they communicated them and this didn’t work because we didn’t have the right trajectory.”
Recently appointed VP of Alpine Motorsports and engine boss at Viry Bruno Famin has also taken the role of Interim Team Principal since Szafnauer’s dismissal, with the hunt for a permanent successor one of many things that need to be done at Alpine.
One name that has been rumoured is former Ferrari Team Principal Mattia Binotto, who is on gardening leave until the end of 2023.
Alpine will have a chance to impress de Meo next weekend at the Singapore Grand Prix, which runs from 15-17 September.