Renault CEO’s emergency F1 mission: Can Alpine be saved?

Renault CEO Luca de Meo made a rare appearance at a Formula 1 race amidst escalating concerns over the Alpine team’s performance woes. Following a disappointing showing where the team’s 2024 contender finished at the bottom of the grid in Bahrain, Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly could only manage to secure positions 17 and 18 in the subsequent Saudi Arabia race.

Ocon expressed his frustration to Canal Plus, “We thought we were closer, but we’re still so far away,” underscoring the gap between the team’s expectations and reality. Gasly conveyed a sense of resigned expectation, “We are where we expected,” while emphasizing discussions with de Meo about the team’s dire state: “I’ve spoken with Luca de Meo and no one is satisfied to see us this far back – Luca first and foremost. We have to make changes, find solutions, but also be patient for a few weeks.”

De Meo’s entry into the paddock coincided with whispers of potential American investment interest, signaling the seriousness with which the team’s struggles are being addressed. Gasly acknowledged de Meo’s efforts to rectify the situation, “We are all aware of the situation we are in,” he said, highlighting the CEO’s commitment to enacting necessary changes while calling for patience during this transitional period.

Although de Meo refrained from extensive comments to the media, he affirmed his visit as a gesture of support for the beleaguered team, “to show my support to the team.” This leaves Gasly and Ocon to contend with what is currently perceived as the championship’s least competitive vehicle.

Gasly advocated for a pragmatic approach to the team’s predicament, “Whether the car works or not, it’s important to be objective about our performance,” suggesting that the team’s detailed scrutiny could eventually yield positive outcomes, despite the immediate challenges, “This can be positive, but we have to be patient for the moment. It is not nice, but this is the position we are in.”

Ocon echoed this sentiment, focusing on maximizing the car’s potential and his leadership within the team, “The bottom line is that I always want to fight for victories and championships, but it won’t be this year. The most important thing is that at the end of each weekend I can tell myself that I got the most out of the car, and then outside the car, that I guided the best as best as possible.”

(GMM)

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