Prost reveals ‘personal relationship’ led to his Alpine departure

Formula 1 legend Alain Prost is not pleased at how the news of his departure from Alpine was announced this week.

Alain Prost and Laurent Rossi in Italy in 2021.v1

Alpine’s shake-up has continued this week with the news that non-executive director Alain Prost is set to leave Renault’s motorsport brand.

The Frenchman drove for Renault between 1981 and 1983 in Formula 1, before winning his four world championships between 1985 and 1993 with McLaren and Williams.

The Frenchman then ran his own Prost team between 1997 and 2001, and was brought in by Renault ahead of the 2016 season in an ambassadorial role following the return of the French car-maker to Formula 1 as a constructor.

In July 2019, he was made non-executive director of the Enstone-based team on an annual contract that the team could opt not to renew at any point.

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Earlier this week, it was reported that they decided against keeping the 66-year-old on board for 2022.

Prost has, however, rebuked this, indicating that it was actually him that decided not to continue with the team.

He also said he was “very disappointed” with the fact that his departure from the Alpine F1 Team was leaked.

The 66-year-old took to Instagram to say: “I am very disappointed how this news has been announced today! It was agreed that we would announce together with Alpine F1 Team! No respect sorry!

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“I have refused the offer made to me in Abu Dhabi for the 2022 season because of the personal relationship and I was right!

“To the Enstone team and Viry I will miss you!” he concluded.

F1 legend Alain Prost in 2021.v1

Alpine CEO Laurent Rossi has been making major changes to the team over last couple of years, having relieved former team boss Cyril Abiteboul of his duties following the arrival of Fernando Alonso.

Executive director Marcin Budkowski left the outfit earlier this week, and the general consensus for several months has been that former Aston Martin team principal Otmar Szafnauer is set to enter as team principal.

For now though, Rossi has pledged to “temporarily ensure the team’s management.”

Szafnauer spent 13 seasons with the Aston Martin team under numerous different guises – namely Force India, Racing Point Force India, Racing Point and now their current name.

Also set to be introduced to the French team is Austrian water treatment company BWT, who have not officially been confirmed as a sponsor for Aston Martin for the upcoming season.

Having acted as team sponsor to the Racing Point team in 2020, BWT took a step back when Cognizant replaced them on the letterhead last year, but hints of the luminescent pink car of the previous four seasons still appeared.

As such, the pink that is synonymous with BWT’s branding is set to be displayed on Alpine’s otherwise blue, white and red car – symbolic of the colours of the French flag.

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An Aston Martin statement neither confirmed nor denied that the sponsor has not been retained for 2022.

“We don’t usually discuss the details of ongoing commercial discussions and contracts. Our full 2022 partner portfolio will be presented at our car launch event next month,” a spokesperson affirmed.

Alpine ended 2021 fifth in the Constructors’ Championship, while Aston Martin fell from fourth in 2020 to seventh last year.

Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso have been retained by Alpine, and Aston Martin have also kept their driver line-up of Sebastian Vettel and Lance Stroll for 2022.

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