Renault CEO: "We will not sell" Alpine F1 team despite struggles

Renault Group boss Luca de Meo has vehemently denied that he has any plans to sell the beleaguered Alpine Formula 1 team, either entirely or in part. 

The Oxfordshire-based team has struggled this season and is currently ninth in the constructors’ championship with just two points – courtesy of a pair of 10th-place finishes. That has led to reports in F1 circles that Renault was considering selling the outfit.

But in an exclusive Autocar interview, de Meo says the team’s current difficulties will not bring any kind of ownership rethink. 

“I want to make this very clear. There is no way we are going to give up,” said de Meo. “It’s not my style. We will not sell even a part of this thing. We don’t need the money. I’ve had people making offers left and right, then talking in the press about it. But we’re not interested. It would be stupid and I won’t do it.”

Even so, de Meo refused to minimise the team’s difficulties, acknowledging a number of recent staff changes – including the departure of operations director Rob White after more than 20 years – and ominously suggested that “there will be more”. He agreed that the team has been “improving a little bit” in recent races but believes the root of the problem began three or four years ago, perhaps longer.

“When we began the hybrid era [in 2014], our engine didn’t perform,” he said. “We had been world champions with Red Bull but with hybrid, things went wrong. Even the engine we developed in 2021 had a 0.2sec to 0.5sec disadvantage every lap. And this year we’ve screwed up with the car. If you combine everything, we’re up to 1.5sec from where we need to be.”

De Meo added that he isn’t even sure the recovery plan is securely on track. He compared F1 to the inner workings of a luxury watch: there are 350 intricate elements and any one of them can make a big difference to how the whole thing works. “For this year and 2025, we will try with the current set-up, then push to get things right for the next cycle. That’s the challenge. But we will do everything necessary to be a competitive team.”

Talking about his ultimate expectations, De Meo called for improvement: “I expect a much better performance from the team. We are not here to be P16. We should be in the mix as often as possible. Sometimes you’re second, sometimes you’re fifth, but that should be our level.”

De Meo clearly perceives that the sale of 24% of Alpine’s Enstone facility to an American group, Redwing Capital Partners, in 2023 may have suggested it was about to sell part of the core team, but he explained the deal as a move to gain from the US group’s expertise. 

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