Alpine to have no team principal for 2021 season
Alpine F1 team is set to have no official team principal for the 2021 F1 season. Over the winter break, as Renault rebranded into Alpine, several key personnel in management were overhauled, including previous team principal Cyril Abiteboul who left the team. Meanwhile, Davide Brivio was brought in over the winter break to become the new racing director. Many had speculated that Brivio, the former Suzuki MotoGP team boss, would take over Abiteboul’s position given his wealth of trackside experience in MotoGp. However, according to Alpine CEO, Laurent Rossi, the team has elected to move in a different direction.
Written by: Daniel Yi, Edited by: Sam Stewart
Rossi has announced that there will be no direct replacement for Abiteboul, and the team principal role will be shared between racing director Davide Brivio and executive director Marcin Budkowski.
Regarding their new roles. Rossi explained that: “Marcin will be in charge of the development of the chassis and the powertrain, so he’ll coordinate the whole development of the car,” and that “Davide will be the racing director.”
He elaborated: “The two of them will work in tandem to extract the best out of the car, that has been designed to put us into the best position in the future.”
Budkowski believes that despite the unconventional team structure, this arrangement can work well.
“We went for a slightly different structure than the conventional team structure,” explained Budkowski. “At the end of the day the roles and the responsibilities are clear. It’s just we are calling them a little bit differently.”
Sharing the team principal role allows Budkowski to take time off from races towards the second half of the season to focus on preparation and development of the 2022 cars.
He added that: “Managing a team and going to all races is very, very difficult. For me, it’s personally great to have Davide on board, apart from all the skills he brings from his other motorsport experiences. It means I won’t have to go to all the races.”
“It means I will probably do the majority of them, but probably start skipping a few in the second half of the season. We have somebody in Davide who has got a lot of trackside experience, a lot of soft skills, acquired as a team manager in other categories.”
“He knows how to manage drivers, he knows how to motivate them, he knows how to organise a garage. It’s going to be a great contribution to have him there, and we can share the role and really make sure that we don’t leave anything without the attention that it requires.”
Coupled with a rising driver in Esteban Ocon, and their 2-time Champion Fernando Alonso, Alpine is looking to return to the glory days of Renault back in the mid-2000s. How this arrangement will work out remains to be seen, but for a newly rebranded team like Alpine, an unconventional structure may just be the right move to lead them back to the top of F1.