Alpine needs a Hamilton or a Verstappen


Former Renault boss, Cyril Abiteboul believes that Alpine needs a lead driver in the mould of Lewis Hamilton or Max Verstappen.

The Frenchman, who now leads Hyundai's WRC programme, was speaking in the aftermath of last weekend's firing of Otmar Szafnauer and Alan Permane, and the departure of Pat Fry for Williams.

A year on from the debacle which saw the French team lose Fernando Alonso to Aston Martin and Oscar Piastri to McLaren, Alpine appears to be in freefall with no sign of it coming to an end anytime soon.

While the overall team management is in the process of being restructured, Abiteboul, who left Renault in 2021 as it morphed into Alpine, believes the team needs on-track leadership also.

Without naming names, Abiteboul, who was responsible for luring Daniel Ricciardo to Renault from Red Bull, believes that neither Esteban Ocon or Pierre Gasly has what it takes to lead a team.

"Two names is one too many," he tells France Info. "When you close your eyes and think of Mercedes, you think of Lewis Hamilton, even though Nico Rosberg did some extraordinary things. When you think of Red Bull, you think of the first cycle around Sebastian Vettel, then the second cycle around Max Verstappen.

"You need a driver who is also a bit of a team boss," he continues, "and this power of personification is fundamental. At the moment, the grid is very competitive with all cars finishing on the same lap. In a while, there will be a near-level playing field. What will make the difference is ambition and determination.

"Every element that is changed potentially puts the team spirit and culture at risk," he warns. "It is these two aspects in particular that are lacking at Alpine.

"The investments have been made, the resources, the group's ambitions, the corporate strategy with the Alpine brand, it's all there.

"When a team has everything, it needs something that transcends it, someone to drive it. The strength of an individual who can pull 1,000 people together is very unifying."

Article from Pitpass (

Published: 03/08/2023
Copyright © Pitpass 2002 - 2024. All rights reserved.