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Alpine "deserves better", says an angry Prost

NEWS STORY
29/07/2023

Four-time world champion, Alain Prost has spoken of his sadness and distress at the ongoing crisis at Alpine.

As the team slips to sixth in the standings and off the back of successive double DNFs at Silverstone and Hungary, Friday witnessed the sacking of two key members and the departure of its technical boss to Williams.

Prost, who spent three seasons with Renault in the early 80s, scoring nine wins and helping the French outfit to the runner-up spot in 1983, subsequently returned in 2017 first as a special adviser and then in a non-executive director role. However, amidst one of the French team's customary reshuffles his departure was announced in January 2022.

Speaking to L'Equipe, Prost, who ran his own team between 1998 and 2001, spoke of his sadness at the situation Alpine finds itself in, the Frenchman in no doubt as to where the blame lies.

"I love this team, and I am saddened and distressed to see it in its current state," he said. "It deserves better and has everything it needs to succeed.

"I believe you need to rely on history to understand what went wrong," he continued. "If you look at the great success stories from the last 30 years, you will see a simple structure, unlike an industrial organisation chart, built around three or four strong personalities, coupled with a winning driver."

The French legend cited the examples of Toto Wolff and Niki Lauda at Mercedes and Jean Todt at Ferrari.

"They knew the codes of F1, and had the necessary nimbleness and flexibility to let their people make the decisions," he said. "Red Bull's decision not to partner with Porsche actually stems from this refusal to yield to those overly heavy decisions from the board, from people who don't know F1.

"In my years at Renault, how many times did I hear in the hallways of the headquarters in Boulogne-Billancourt that F1 was a simple sport that could be managed from home by the men in place. That was a huge mistake, as was proven with the last of the directors, Laurent Rossi, whom Luca de Meo let go a week ago.

"Rossi is the best example of the Dunning-Kruger effect, that of an inept manager who thinks he can overcome his incompetence with his arrogance and his lack of humanity towards his people.

"He was Alpine's boss for 18 months and thought he understood everything from the outset, yet that couldn't be further from the truth. His management stopped the momentum the team had built since 2016, achieving these podiums and that win.

"Let's hope the decision that was made on Friday, with other people being replaced, will be a salutary shock to the team," he said. "When you look back at Renault's success, you will find a man, Flavio Briatore, and a legendary driver, Fernando Alonso, supported by a management team who, at the time, implemented this philosophy of quick decision-making by specialists.

"It is amusing to see that F1 directors are often invited to conferences on management by major companies to speak about reactivity and flexibility. It rarely is the other way round."

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1. Posted by kenji, 30/07/2023 0:39

"He's not dubbed 'the Prof.' for nothing. He speaks a lot of common sense and has the chops to make them. He ranks as one the all time greats and IMO he was better than Senna. "

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2. Posted by Bill Hopgood, 29/07/2023 20:32

"I wonder what Andretti and GM think of the recent changes?"

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3. Posted by Defiant, 29/07/2023 16:52

"I think the Professor is probably on the money with this. We all know he is a very intelligent man, adding his connections in the team and his own experience with them, I think it would be wholly negligent to dismiss what he is telling Alpine and Renault's brass."

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4. Posted by Burton, 29/07/2023 15:11

"Excellent rant by Prost, and right on the money!"

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