F1’s next big shakeup?: Andretti eyes Alpine for takeover

As the 2024 F1 season gets underway, Alpine finds itself navigating choppy waters, with its performance in Bahrain laying bare the challenges it faces. The once-promising team now grapples with a stark reality: their 2024 car is far from competitive, leaving many to wonder about Renault’s continuing commitment.

Ayao Komatsu, Haas team boss, didn’t mince words about Alpine’s standing: “There are the top four teams, then Aston Martin, the rest and then Alpine,” he told Ekstra Bladet, effectively placing Alpine at the bottom of the competitive hierarchy.

Last year saw significant changes for Alpine, with Renault selling a quarter of the team to investors, a move that pegged the team’s value at around 800 million euros. Despite this influx of investment, the 2024 outlook remains bleak, particularly with the Renault engine’s performance lagging significantly behind the competition. Rumors had even circulated about a potential switch to Mercedes power units, but Bruno Famin, the team boss, quashed such speculation: “Then I had to explain that without Renault engines there would no longer be a project, nor the chassis factory in Enstone,” he stated, underscoring the team’s commitment to Renault.

Pierre Gasly, Alpine’s driver, highlighted other areas of concern beyond the engine’s performance. After a disappointing showing in Bahrain, Gasly pointed to Alpine’s notably slow pitstops as a critical weakness: “Unfortunately we know it’s something we need to work on. Today it cost me 10 seconds,” he lamented, acknowledging the impact on their race results. Looking ahead, he noted, “We know that it wouldn’t have given us any points, but in the future it will be important when we get closer to points again.”

The upcoming race in Saudi Arabia doesn’t bode well for improvements, with Gasly revealing, “We will not have any developments in Jeddah,” but he remained focused on understanding the car better, “But we have to learn a lot of things about this new car. There are things to refine. After that, there will be no revolution and we will have to continue working step by step.”

Amidst this backdrop of challenges, the prospect of Andretti-Cadillac entering F1 through an Alpine takeover has gained traction. This potential move comes at a time when F1’s entry costs are expected to surge, making a takeover more appealing than starting a new team from scratch. Christian Horner of Red Bull highlighted the hurdles for new entrants: “Formula 1 made its position clear,” he said, adding, “But it doesn’t mean that Andretti can’t come. It just means that they can’t come as a new or eleventh team. The opportunity still exists for them to take over an existing franchise or team, if they can reach commercial terms.”

As Alpine wrestles with its future, the Andretti saga represents a flicker of hope, a chance for revival under new ownership.

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