In an unprecedented attack on his old French team, Formula 1 icon Alain Prost called former Alpine CEO Laurent Rossi "incapable." A major departure of key employees has put the Renault-owned squad in peril. Otmar Szafnauer, Alan Permane, and Pat Fry, the team's senior technical officer, are the most recent to quit following the Belgian Grand Prix this weekend. The CEO Rossi was removed a week before their departure. In the last few months, The Enstone-based team has lost the two-time world champion Fernando Alonso as well as a promising rookie in Oscar Piastri who has been performing amazing in the recently upgraded McLaren MCL60 and a former executive director in Marcin Budkowski. Prost is just one of the many who has lately left the Alpine enclave. The four-time F1 world champion never competed for the Alpine team, but he has a lengthy history with Renault and served as a non-executive director of the French squad until he abruptly resigned in January 2022.
F1: Major Manegement Changeses in the French Squad
Rossi was recently reassigned to Alpine's "special projects" division after he was removed as CEO. It happened not long after Alpine brought in Bruno Famin, the head of their Formula 1 engine division, to act as a liaison between the company's CEO and their F1 team. Otmar Szafnauer, the team principal, and Alan Permane, the sports director, were both fired in a shocking development midway through the Belgian Grand Prix weekend, but not until the race was over. Chief Technical Officer Pat Fry has decided to leave the squad on his own will to join Williams.
Prost has been very critical of former CEO Rossi and the Alpine strategy ever since he himself left the French F1 team. However, his response to the departure of key personnel has gotten to the heart of the issue, which many in F1 see as a wrong mentality on the part of Renault management. Renault, in Prost's opinion, would do well to streamline their F1 operation and centre it on a star driver. Not water down into a less-than-the-sum-of-its-parts, overcomplicated mess like the Alpine setup has become.
Grand Prix of Belgium: Alpine Sequre Podium Finish in Belgium Sprint
Pierre Gasly, the French driver for the Alpine squad, called their performance in the Belgian GP Sprint on Saturday "amazing," and he detailed how they overcame "difficult conditions" to finish third in what he considers to be "a home race."
After things got rolling at the start of the race, Alpine made the decision to switch out complete wets for intermediates for Gasly. After both Ferrari drivers pitted, the Frenchman gained ground on them and moved up to third place. The rest of the race was a battle between Gasly and the Red Bull of Sergio Perez and the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton, which Gasly eventually won. Even though Alpine had a rough start to the year, Gasly was happy to come through for the team.
“Well, I must say it feels amazing,” said Gasly. “I’m extremely happy to finish in the top three, especially here in Spa, which feels like a home race for us without the French Grand Prix. It was very, very difficult conditions, but I am extremely happy. “Pitted at the right time and managed to hold off Lewis until the end. It does feel very special to do it as well in Spa. Obviously, a thought for Anthoine Hubert."