Alpine eyes team changes for 2022 to help lift F1 form

Alpine CEO Laurent Rossi is considering an organisational shake-up at the Formula 1 team for 2022 in a bid to ensure it makes the progress needed.

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While the Enstone-based squad is focused on finishing fifth place in the constructors' championship this year, Rossi is clear that its long-term ambitions are much greater, and it needs to "grow muscles" if it is to move forward.

With an ultimate target of regularly winning races by the end of the next rules cycle in 2024/2025, Rossi is ready to change Alpine's approach to ensure it can achieve its aims.

Speaking exclusively to Motorsport.com, Rossi said that a third consecutive year of being fifth in the standings was not a level the team can be happy with long term.

"It's not in line with what we want," he said. "I clearly want the team to contend for podiums and win by the end of the next regulation, that is to say 2024/25, depending on where they decide to switch to the new regulation package.

"But to do so, we'll need to evolve the team a little bit. I think the team has moved from P9 to P5, before the plateau we've reached, pretty well in the past years.

"But now, to move to the next stage and become the best of the top teams rather than just the best of the rest, it's another evolution that is needed.

"So what I want to do is to keep the momentum of the prior season, that's why I want to keep that fifth position. I don't want us to regress.

"We learned a lot operationally this year, so that's always a plus. We're going to apply that next year, but then we're going to need to build muscles to grow and move from P5 to P1, race after race, season after season in the next few years."

Performance focus

Laurent Rossi, CEO, Alpine F1, in the Press Conference

Laurent Rossi, CEO, Alpine F1, in the Press Conference

Photo by: FIA Pool

Rossi thinks Alpine needs to adapt to the fresh challenges and opportunities of the F1 cost cap, which will mean ensuring resources are better focused on the areas that makes the difference.

He says that will require Alpine to operate differently to how it has been structured in more recent years, when the budget was not so heavily limited.

"We're going to be under the cost cap with new regulations, so the recipe we're going to apply next year is not necessarily the recipe that we have applied in the past years," he explained.

"We'll need to adapt to that new context, and I think we have the strength in the assets to do so. Why? Because it's not going to be throwing money at problems any more. Everyone will have the same cost cap. It is going to be more about how do you execute, how do you decide to allocate your investment.

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"Plus, being a works team is quite important because it means an efficient integration of the PU into the chassis will probably be critical in the performance.

"Then, there is the savviness, knowledge and experience, and we have 45 years of that, so we can probably resort to that a bit more. There's going to be also the fact that we're leaning on the Groupe Renault for the mid to long term, with a secure runway rather than putting everything in jeopardy every year.

"Then there's also evolution of the team in the sense of the drivers of performance that are going to be defined by regulations. We've seen over the past few years that aero became the most important. We'll see where it goes in the future with the new regulations: but it might be aero, it might be other departments because the cars are going to be different.

"I'll evolve the team towards the organisation that will maximise that set of variables: perfect integration of the PU into the chassis and pushing it to the areas that will be critical in terms of performance. That's the idea."

Management shake-up

The Alpine F1 team on the pit wall

The Alpine F1 team on the pit wall

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Alpine has operated with a unique team structure this year that has left it without a designated team principal.

Instead, Rossi is part of a senior management triumvirate, working alongside executive director Marcin Budkowski and racing director Davide Brivio in trying to push the team forwards.

While some have been sceptical of that system working, Rossi thinks it has paid dividends – but he is not ruling out changing it for next year.

"I think the results on the track speak for themselves," he said, when asked if the management structure was something that worked.

"Scoring points consecutively in 15 races, plus a victory, it doesn't look like we are making a fool of ourselves when we go on the track every weekend. So it works sufficiently for us to have these kind of remarkable results.

"Is it the right organisation for the next set of challenges and to carry on climbing the ladder? Well, I will assess that at the end of the season.

"I want first to finish the season in P5, and second make sure that at Enstone and Viry everyone is focused on developing the new car for next season.

"Then I'll make my call regarding evolving the organisation at large and the top management in particular."

Brivio in MotoGP return link

Davide Brivio, Racing Director, Alpine F1, and Esteban Ocon, Alpine F1

Davide Brivio, Racing Director, Alpine F1, and Esteban Ocon, Alpine F1

Photo by: Charles Coates / Motorsport Images

There has been recent speculation that Brivio in particular could return to MotoGP next year, with it understood that teams there are interested in luring him back to the two-wheeled category.

Rossi suggested the MotoGP interest was a sign of Brivio's qualities, and said a final call about where the Italian would fit in to Alpine would come after the current campaign.

"On the MotoGP rumours, all I can say is that they are very positive regarding Davide," explained Rossi. "They all mention that the guy's missed dearly there.

"So I would say it's a great testament to the value of the person, and he's showing that into our team. He is definitely bringing a lot in terms of drivers' management. And also the gel that he puts into the team on the track, like his sporting experience, is invaluable. And it shows.

"As regards the future, Davide, just like any other person in the team, will evolve in the organisation that I will decide, following the changes that I will decide at the end of the season. He is no different from the rest of the crew."

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