Fernando Alonso, Alpine, Bahrain International Circuit, 2021

De Meo did not join talks with Alonso before joining Renault, Rossi insists

2021 Bahrain Grand Prix

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Alpine CEO Laurent Rossi has insisted Renault president Luca de Meo was not involved in talks to bring Fernando Alonso to the team before the 53-year-old took over as president of the group.

Alonso said on Thursday he had talks with De Meo between the announcement of his appointment in January last year and his arrival at Renault the following July.

When asked about Alonso’s comments by RaceFans, Rossi said: “I cannot comment on that because I was not involved in the discussions, obviously.

“That said, I can tell you that Mr de Meo was not involved in anything related remotely to Renault because even us within the Renault Group, not even the Formula 1 team, could not speak to him until the very first day of his arrival at Renault. So I find it hardly believable.”

Alonso said on Thursday at the Bahrain International Circuit he had talks with De Meo and former Renault F1 team managing director Cyril Abiteboul during the first half of last year.

“I think the decision was made around March or April, the last few conversations or official conversation with [the] president and with Cyril,” said Alonso.

“So it was before the championship started. I remember clearly that from Australia there was this comeback, the whole paddock came back from Australia and then it was delayed, the start of the season, until Austria. And it happened in that moment.”

Asked by RaceFans whether he spoke to de Meo before July, Alonso said other people had also participated in their discussion.

“No, obviously it was an open group of people,” he said. “You are not only talking with one person, it was more people involved. But I was lucky enough to have the possibility to talk with the president that he was coming a few months or few weeks later than we thought.

“We talked and I think his plans and his vision for the future of F1 and the commitment for F1 was very convincing. And I think we are in good hands. And I think all the Alpine team and the Groupe Renault is is very happy in this moment to have Luca as our leader.”

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Author information

Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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8 comments on “De Meo did not join talks with Alonso before joining Renault, Rossi insists”

  1. Alonso. He never changes.

    1. He’s a natural! It’s a gift!

      And this time he didn’t even meant it! It was just a memory recall, not really saying bad things about anyone.

      Next time he may reveal that Alpine was already working on the 2022 chassis during the whole last year.

      It’s the crashgate curse.

  2. One thing Alonso is noted for is his very good memory. It’s been claimed that he can remember the batch numbers from the tyres he tested previously. So it’s either his mind has gone creative or others want to be subtle about narratives floating around.

  3. what is the issue of him speaking to de meo?

    1. Probably because he was on “gardening leave” up until 6/2020 due to a non-compete clause after leaving Volkswagen Group in 1/2020.

    2. @allyita it is a legal situation. De Mei was on what the English call a “gardening leave” so he cannot conduct business for his new employer. A meeting involving the Renault Group is a breach of his contract with Seat so if it indeed happened before July, then De Meo Will have to reimburse Seat

  4. RocketTankski
    28th March 2021, 10:42

    Yo Laurent! Fernando here tells me that your President baked him a nice batch of cookies. Real cosy like..
    Nah, I’m just bustin’ ya baguette.
    It wuz two batches! :-D

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