Failing F1 team fired Toyota warning amid upheaval

Alpine is undergoing a rough patch behind the scenes, with numerous personnel changes taking place.

Former F1 driver, Karun Chandhok, has analysed Alpine’s internal woes and thinks the team may well leave the sport.

There has been a recent overhaul in senior personnel at the Enstone-based outfit.

Team principal Otmar Szafnauer, technical director, Pat Fry, and sporting director, Alan Permane all left the team.

Alpine CEO Laurent Rossi was moved aside and put onto “special projects” by Renault.

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This followed the Belgian GP, where Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly placed in 9th and 11th, respectively.

Alpine has established itself as a true ‘middle of the pack’ team, sitting on 57 points in the Constructor Standings.

However, when Renault returned to the sport in 2016, it had “substantial long-term ambitions.”

The team rebranded to Alpine in 2021 to promote its road car brand.

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While plentiful efforts and investments have been by Renault, this has not translated to success on the grid.

Chandhok is concerned that Alpine is a lost cause and might exit Formula 1.

He said: “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.

“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 Formula 1.

“If you look at the people who are in some departments of Enstone, they have been signed up from the road car division.”

Chandhok made comparisons to the Toyota team of 2002, who slunk out of F1 racing in 2009.

It did so under similar circumstances.

He remarked: “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.

“They are going down a corporate path that I am convinced is not going to work.”

Alpine has begun its restructuring process, with Bruno Famin taking the role of interim team principal.

Meanwhile, Matt Harman will replace Pat Fry in the technical area.

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Of the departures, Chandhok said: “Three great figures have left. Alan Permane had been there for more than 33 years.

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.”