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EXCLUSIVE: ‘The team is absolutely not for sale’ – Bruno Famin on Alpine’s future and their hope for recovery

F1 Correspondent & Presenter

Lawrence Barretto
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Alpine F1 team principal Bruno Famin attends a press conference during the second day of the

These are bleak times for Alpine.

The French works manufacturer sits rock bottom of the constructors’ championship without a single point to its name in 2024. They have failed to finish on the lead lap in any of the first four Grands Prix and only twice have they scraped out of Q1 – their best grid slot remains a lowly 15th.

READ MORE: Contact with Ocon on Lap 1 at Suzuka was ‘game over’ for Alpine, says Gasly

This is not the kind of form Alpine expect considering they are a works team with a works budget.

After finishing fourth in 2022, they set their sights on breaking the top three – Red Bull, Ferrari and Mercedes. Instead they have plummeted and are fighting to avoid the wooden spoon.

Form like that could make the Renault Group board question their involvement in Formula 1 – but that is not the case, according to team boss Bruno Famin.

‘We are not for sale’

“We have a real project with Alpine,” he told me when we spoke exclusively via video call. “We have the project to develop the Alpine brand awareness globally through motorsport and Formula 1 in particular.

BWT Alpine F1 Team - 2024 Formula 1 Japanese Grand Prix, Sunday.jpg

It's been a tough start to the year for Alpine on track

“We have the full support of the top management. The team is absolutely not for sale. We will keep pushing to reach our goals.”

Famin took over the running of the team last year, following a raft of senior management changes that involved the departures of CEO Laurent Rossi, Team Principal Otmar Szafnauer, Chief Technical Officer Pat Fry and Sporting Director Alan Permane.

READ MORE: Alpine confirm Team Principal Otmar Szafnauer and Sporting Director Alan Permane to leave team after Belgian GP

Following the team’s dismal start to this season, Technical Director Matt Harman and Head of Aerodynamics Dirk de Beer left, too.

“It’s not a fun period,” said Famin. “We are not where we want to be in terms of performance, we are not doing the project to be P15 or P16. We want to be ahead, we want to develop the performance of the car – and we want to fight for podiums and for victories as soon as possible.”

NORTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - JULY 01: Otmar Szafnauer, Team Principal of Alpine F1 talks with Alan

Otmar Szafnauer and Alan Permane left the team last year

Alpine still hope to recover this year

Famin remains resolute that Alpine can bounce back from their woeful start to the year. He understands this will not be the work of a moment but he’s convinced the project will be given time to succeed.

“Everybody [on the board] understands it is not an easy challenge,” said Famin. “It’s a very difficult challenge – we owe a lot of respect to our competitors. To fight ahead, we have to raise the bar, raise our level, we need to improve.

READ MORE: ‘It’s not a situation we are enjoying’ – Ocon reflects on morale at Alpine amid early season struggles

“In the history our team, previously branded Renault – at the start of the project in the 1970s, everyone was laughing at us – and we were strong in those moments.

“We want to use those difficult moments now. We know everyone has ups and downs. We are in a down – but we will use the opportunity to be stronger very soon and for sure make the necessary changes within the team to reach our goals.”

French Formula One driver Jean-Pierre Jaussaud speeds on the Castellet track during a training

The Renault group has a proud history in F1 dating back to the 1970s

He added: “The car we have now is the result of previous management. But what is important is what we are doing now. And I’m happy with what we are doing. Of course the way is very long, and we have a lot to improve.”

After a such a bad start, it would ordinarily be tempting to throw in the towel with this year’s car and focus on getting next year right – but we are in an unusual cycle.

READ MORE: Gasly says latest Alpine restructuring ‘came as a surprise’ but he and team mate Ocon insist they ‘trust the process’

Teams will carry this year’s machine into next year, with very few tweaks, because the bulk of their resource will be ploughed into the 2026 machine – which will be built to different aero rules alongside new Power Unit regulations that include a greater focus on electrical power and the required use of 100% sustainable fuels.

It means for now, Alpine will plug away bringing upgrades for this year’s car in a bid to rescue their campaign. A new package is expected for race six in Miami. Further updates are expected thereafter. There will, of course, come a point where they will turn off the taps and switch to 2026 – but that point hasn’t come yet.

Why 2024 is not the year to mess your car design up

Full send on 2026 Renault power unit

Speaking of 2026, this campaign offers Alpine a chance to finally close the gap to their competitors in terms of power.

Their Renault engine has been off the pace for years. The unit is believed to be 15kw down relative to their rivals. That can cost them up to 0.5s per lap on some tracks. But because the regulations are frozen, they can’t do anything about it until the end of 2025.

READ MORE: More efficient, less fuel, and carbon net zero – 7 things you need to know about the 2026 F1 engine regulations

“Viry [Alpine’s engine base] has been working for quite a long time now on the new engine regulations,” said Famin. “The good news is that we are on track. We are quite happy with what we’re doing. The level is quite ambitious. For the time being, we’re on track but you never know what your competitors are doing.”

The driver market

In such difficult times, it might be a challenge for Alpine to retain their drivers (Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly’s contracts expire at the end of this year) or be attractive to outsiders – but Famin doesn’t appear concerned.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 23: Esteban Ocon of France and Alpine F1 and Pierre Gasly of France

It's been a tough start to the year for Ocon and Gasly, but the Alpine drivers are still smiling

“We are happy with our drivers, and our drivers are happy with us,” he said. “We are talking to them regularly. Let’s see what we can do in the future. There are ups and down, we are in a down but we have a strong project with a long term vision.

“We have a good strength for the 2026 project – we are a manufacturer, we are developing the PU – which is on track, we can optimise everything.

READ MORE: 'It's the next revolution' – Tech chief Pat Symonds explains why Formula 1 is leading the push for sustainable fuels

“We have a project which doesn’t need to convince them [to stay]. I would like to use this opportunity to thank them. We are in a difficult position. It is not the start of the season we wanted and I appreciate how constructive they are with the team, not only in communications with journalists but also internally. When trying to find solutions with the car, both of them are very helpful.”

He added: “We are also looking at the market and we also have our academy where we are developing talents for tomorrow or the future. We have Jack Doohan who is our reserve, Victor Martins in F2.

SUZUKA, JAPAN - APRIL 05: Jack Doohan of Australia and Alpine F1 walks in the Paddock prior to

Alpine have Jack Doohan waiting in the wings as their reserve driver

“We have a wide scope of possibility. We are happy with Esteban, happy with Pierre – but we are ready to react in case something happens. That’s it.”

Don’t expect Alpine to announce anything soon, though, about 2025. “We are not in a rush right now to be frank,” Famin added. “We have other problems to solve, other things to improve, and we are not in a rush. We are ready, we are prepared but we are not in rush.”

READ MORE: Alpine technical leads Harman and De Beer depart team following ‘a period of disappointing results’ as re-shuffle announced

Alpine eye bounce back in 2026

In the short term, Alpine’s target is to get back to the points. They know that with the top five teams locking out the points-scoring opportunities more often than not, P6 in the constructors’ championship will be decided on much smaller amounts. With 20 races still to go, Alpine believe they have time to claw it back.

But starting from 2026, they want to be much further up the field.

Famin: Alpine’s tough start to 2024 ‘the evidence that we needed to change our approach’

“We want to be back on the first part of the grid for sure, to improve significantly our position,” Famin said. “We know the major change in regulations is an opportunity to change the game. We want to seize that opportunity. That’s the goal.

“We want to make a significant step and find consistency, not to be one year fifth, one year seventh, one year sixth. Let’s get much closer to the biggest teams.”

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