Alpine A524 launch, 2024

Why Alpine is bringing in a ‘non-Formula 1 guy’ to help run its team

Formula 1

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While Bruno Famin initially took charge as Alpine team principal on an interim basis in the latest overhaul of their management last year, he has now taken full charge of the Renault-owned squad.

Famin is also Alpine’s vice president for motorsport, meaning he is responsible not only for Alpine’s F1 team but also its return to the top Hypercar division of the World Endurance Championship.

The only other team contesting both series is Ferrari, and while its operations are contained entirely within its Maranello base, Alpine continues to operate the same split between its F1 chassis division at Enstone in the UK and its power unit factory at Viry-Chatillon in France.

Therefore ahead of the 2024 season Famin, who is also Alpine’s vice president for motorsport, has made a pair of appointments to help him juggle the demands of his role. New chief operating officers will take charge at Enstone and Viry.

Bruno Famin, Alpine, 2024
Famin’s appointments “will help in the day-to-day operations”
While Viry’s operations director Audrey Vastroux, a long-serving Renault employee, is being promoted to the COO position, Alpine has looked elsewhere to fill the same role at Enstone. It has hired John Woods from Lotus Cars, who will take over the position next month.

Famin, who joined Alpine as executive director at Viry in 2022, says the hires will help him to continue making the improvements to the team’s operations. He decided these were necessary after conducting a review of their performance in the wake of the ousting of former team principal Otmar Szafnauer and long-serving sporting director Alan Permane last year.

“When I became team principal in mid-2023 we really focused on the track team to take it to another step,” said Famin at the launch of the team’s new F1 and WEC cars yesterday. “We saw that we were already making some interesting progress, but there are still a lot of room for improvement across the whole team and that will be my number one priority as a team principal in addition to my role of Alpine VP for motorsport.

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Famin says the pair will be vital points of contact for him at the two factories while he juggles the demands of two dozen grands prix plus eight WEC rounds – some of which clash – over the course of 2024.

Alpine A524 launch, 2024
Alpine competes in both WEC and F1
“I really hope that having two COOs in Enstone and in Viry will really be a strong support both for me and for everybody on-site,” he told media including RaceFans at yesterday’s launch. “Having somebody based in Viry and a person based in Enstone will really help in the day-to-day operations, for sure, but also in developing improvements in our processes.

“With 24 races a year it’s complicated to be away. I’m going for the pre-season test in Bahrain right after I have the prologue for the WEC in Qatar. Thank God they are close and the pre-season test was not in Australia. And then Bahrain race, Jeddah race, I will be out for three weeks and it’s good to have somebody on-site.”

At Enstone, Woods will take over an operation which has ballooned in size since Renault returned to F1 as a full manufacturer in 2016. The Oxfordshire base had less than 500 staff eight years ago, but now has almost 1,000. Famin says Woods’ experience of road car manufacturing makes him ideally suited to the role.

“The COO position is very much a back office position,” he explained. “We knew we needed somebody who is on the field who knows the operations.

“He is right now at Lotus Cars and he was for quite a long time in McLaren Automotive and is very much a guy from the factory. This is what I need to do to operate the factory.

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“We have a technical director, he will not interfere [with] the technical director. His role will be to give the technical director and the sporting director the means to work following project compliance et cetera.”

Famin said Woods is a “very pragmatic guy” who bring a useful new perspective on how Alpine can improve its operations. “He is not a Formula 1 guy but we don’t need a Formula 1 guy for that, he’s going into back office work. He is very experienced, very pragmatic, close to the people and to me, he’s willing, he’s not afraid to make changes and he will have a fresh view on what we are doing.”

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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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3 comments on “Why Alpine is bringing in a ‘non-Formula 1 guy’ to help run its team”

  1. Maybe because all the “f1-people” they used until now didnt manage to justify the moneu sunk on the team.
    p.s.: I thought the site were commited to gender neutral language.

  2. Because they’re clueless.

  3. Yes, the Davide Brivio experiment worked so well, why change the approach?

    They either hired someone from outside of F1 because no one from inside F1 wanted to go there or they couldn’t find anyone good for the job that was available.

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