There might have been not many stories over the last three weeks with the formula 1 break occurring, but with the Dutch Grand Prix coming up this weekend, one of the articles that many fans and journalists alike are looking at is what was big news at the last race in Belgium.
This was the sacking of three of the top managers at the Alpine F1 Team, which was the dismissal of team manager Otmar Szafnauer, Technical Director Pat Fry and 34-year veteran Alan Permane.
Fry himself already viewed the writing on the wall sort of speak, and in November, the Briton will join the Williams Racing Team in the same role. For Permane, the experience could give him another position in the sport, as his experience can make recruiters in any form select him. For Szafnauer, it might be a little different as it will be difficult to find a position that will fit what he did before.
To fill in this mess, the main reason for all these dismissals is that all three did not believe that the 2026 goal of being competitive with the top three teams was not possible. This made the now Alpine led- Renault Group, which never got involved with this project on a full-time basis, finally speak up and make their decision.
So now the replacements must start happening, and the rumor of having former Ferrari team manager Matteo Binotto stand in might not happen soon, but the Italian is the favorite for at least getting back into a sport he now might have a second chance for.
In the meantime, Alpine is going to many, get a final opportunity to try a get people on the same page. And it just might mean that the French team might have to return some veterans like Alain Prost, who is very passionate about this team, who is someone who can make sense of what needs to improve, so the goals can be met.
When CEO Luca De Meo took over the French team in 2021, he authorized a plan called Renaulution, which had the famous yellow and black colours of the team gone and replaced the old company symbol with a more up to date one. This made the company as a group, instead of one system. This meant that Renault, which never had a real sports car, was in one sector, with Dacia as the SUV part. And then there was Alpine, which would now become the sports car version of the company. In the two years that followed, Dacia slowly moved up, with both Renault and Alpine making gains in profitability. But what does this do for the F1 team? It might make sales and rejuvenate their goals for electric cars, but with this theory of former Alpine CEO Laurent Rossi gone, what does it do now? De Meo saved the team in the opportunity to remain in the sport, but even before he arrived, the company wanted to close the team—again. The team in 2020 had three podiums and were challenging for third in the constructor’s championship.
If the Renault Group want to see the team succeed, then they better get off the hobby horse and start to participate. Already, the company has investors from Hollywood movie star Ryan Reynolds and his investors, but still the Renault name remains just a little small on the Alpine car and uniforms. Just a little more assistance would do the idea of a little yellow and keep the Alpine name on the car. Blue and yellow match perfectly, and maybe if the company wants to stay as Alpine -Renault, the rest of this story could have a different chapter in bringing back one of the teams that have been around for a long time in the sport.
By Mark Gero