F1 Q&A: Are Mercedes back and will we see an all-British podium?

F1 Q&A: Are Mercedes back and will we see an all-British podium?

Alpine are in complete freefall this season. What’s gone wrong there and do Renault have the will to make them a winning force again? – David

It’s true that Alpine have been through some considerable turmoil in the last year but I would disagree with the idea that they are in “complete freefall”. In fact, they have made major progress this year, albeit from a very low starting point.

They have definitely plumbed some depths in recent times. First, they mismanaged the driver market horrendously in 2022, and lost both Fernando Alonso and Oscar Piastri.

Since then, former chief executive Laurent Rossi – who was ultimately responsibly for losing Alonso and Piastri – has been fired. And Alpine have also lost a team principal, sporting director and operations director (all fired), and a technical director, chief technical officer, head of aerodynamics and engineering consultant (who all resigned).

But there are positives. They have signed David Sanchez, formerly of McLaren and Ferrari, and highly regarded, as executive technical director. And now they have recruited Flavio Briatore as an executive adviser. Whatever you think of Briatore’s chequered history, few doubt his expertise in F1.

Meanwhile, on track things are looking up. Alpine had a terrible start to the season – they were the slowest team of all on average qualifying pace over the first five races. But in the second five they were sixth – and have reduced their gap to the front from 1.715 seconds to 0.793. That’s impressive progress.

On top of that, they have scored points at both the last two races.

It remains a fact that they are a long way from where they want to be, and a long way from where they were just two years ago.

Renault chief executive officer Luca de Meo is questioning everything in his attempts to turn the team around – even whether they should abandon their in-house engine project and become a customer team.

That sounds bonkers to many on the face of it. But at least it shows a willingness from De Meo to re-evaluate from top to bottom to try to get back to where they want to be.

2024-06-25 06:57:54
#Mercedes #allBritish #podium

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