Alpine is owned by Groupe Renault, which has a long history in Formula 1, dating back to 1977.
Active years: 2021-
Previous identities: Toleman (1981-85)
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Groupe Renault’s first entry into Formula 1 was as a constructor, and under its own name. The French company joined the grid in 1977, bringing with it the radical innovation of turbo power. It took several attempts to perfect the technology, and two years passed before it finally scored the first turbo-powered win on home ground in 1979.
But despite being the first team to win a race with a turbo engine, Renault failed to deliver a championship in its original incarnation, coming close with Alain Prost in 1983. The team slipped down the order after that and the plug was pulled in 1985.
It remained as an engine supplier and won a string of championships in the 1990s before returning as a constructor in 2002 by taking over Benetton (a team which had raced at Toleman from 1981 to ’85). Led by Flavio Briatore, they won the constructors’ championship in 2005 and 2006, and their driver Fernando Alonso was champion in both of those years.
Alonso departed the team for McLaren in 2007 but was back one year later. He scored his first win of the year for the team in Singapore.
But 12 months later the revelation that the victory had been contrived thanks to team mate Nelson Piquet Jnr crashing on purpose rocked the sport. It led to the departure of Briatore along with Pat Symonds. In the winter of 2009 Renault sold a large stake to Genii Capital.
At the end of 2011 the team became Lotus, after previously being denied the new entity in a legal dispute. However Renault again remained as engine supplier.
Kimi Raikkonen delivered the first F1 win for the Lotus name in over 25 years in the 2012 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, and he started 2013 with victory in Australia. He was gone before the end of the season, and the next year a change in F1’s engine formula sent the team down the order as Renault had an uncompetitive power unit.
That prompted them to switch to Mercedes power for 2015, and at the end of that year Groupe Renault chose to return as a full constructor by rebuying the team. That meant they went back to using Renault engines once again, and as Renault chose to compete under their own name it also meant the brand’s traditional yellow-and-black livery was used once more.
It took two-and-a-half seasons for the team to achieve a top-five finish, with no podiums until the pandemic-affected season of 2020.
The team took three podiums that year, with two for Daniel Ricciardo and one for new team mate Esteban Ocon. Ricciardo departed for McLaren at the end of the season, and there was another name change as the team took on the identity of Groupe Renault’s sportscar brand Alpine for 2021. At the same time they hired none other than Alonso, who had spent two years out of F1.
Before the start of Alpine’s first F1 season, team principal Cyril Abiteboul departed Renault. It left Alpine technically without a team principal for the entire season, although Laurent Rossi was appointed as CEO of the brand and the F1 team as a solution. Abiteboul’s exit did not seem to have a negative impact, as Ocon secured a maiden F1 win in the Hungarian Grand Prix after a chaotic start to the race.
After taking fifth place in the constructors’ championship in 2021, Alpine went one better the next season with new team principal Otmar Szafnauer and new executive director Bruno Famin. However, Alonso left at the end of the season for Aston Martin and Alpine’s reserve driver, Oscar Piastri, sensationally declined promotion into a race seat. He had signed a 2023 race contract with McLaren, which was confirmed by the FIA’s contract recognition board after a lengthy legal dispute. Alpine now field two French drivers, with Pierre Gasly having joined his former karting rival Ocon at Enstone.
Rossi attacked the team over two error-prone weekends early in the season, and Ocon then had a very timely return to the podium at the Monaco Grand Prix.
In June 2023 the team announced it had sold a 24% stake to a group including actors Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney – the co-owners of Wrexham Football Club – and Michael B Jackson, for £170 million (€200m).
The team became the centre of change and chaos in the F1 paddock following that, starting with Ocon avoiding losing a chassis to fire damage by retiring early in the British Grand Prix with a hydraulic leak. After the race, Famin was promoted to the position of Alpine vice-president and so Szanfauer was shuffled down the team’s leadership structure.
Ten days later came another change, as Philippe Krief replaced Rossi, who was to now “focus on special projects” for Alpine. Szafnauer said the two changes were focused on Alpine’s road car division and not impacting the F1 team, but eight days later at the Belgian Grand Prix it was announced he and sporting director Alan Permane (who had been with the team since 1988) would be leaving Alpine by “mutual agreement” after the race weekend. Chief technical officer Pat Fry also departed, and with immediate effect as he was snapped up by Williams to fulfil the same position.
Famin became the interim team principal, and Alpine Academy director Julian Rouse took Permane’s job while Matt Harman assumed Fry’s role. On the positive side, the FIA agreed that day to consider Alpine’s request for engine equalisation after the team repeatedly stated its Renault engines were not as competitive as those from other manufacturers.
Major team personnel
CEO – Philippe Krief
Vice-president, interim team principal and executive director of Viry – Bruno Famin
Interim sporting director – Julian Rouse
Technical director – Matt Harman
Director of racing expansion projects – Davide Brivio
Head of trackside engineering – Ciaron Pilbeam
Chief engineer – Benjamin Norton
Chief mechanic – Mark Luckett
Race engineer, Gasly – Karel Loos
Race engineer, Ocon – Josh Peckett