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F1 | Budkowski on the "shock" of Abiteboul leaving

Alpine Executive Director was surprised by the former Team Principal, who left the team after six seasons, but the season of the French team won’t suffer from his departure.

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F1 | Budkowski on the "shock" of Abiteboul leaving
Fuente imagen: alpinecars.com

Alpine has undergone quite a few changes in the past months, approaching the upcoming season with a new name, a brightly different livery and a new lineup, consisting of former world champion Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon, reconfirmed after his best season ever in F1, having scored his first podium in Bahrein. 

The major novelty for the French team, however, will be the reformed managerial team. Alpine will not have a Team Principal in the next season, the tasks coming with the role, and mostly the GP attendance, to be split by Executive Director Marcin Budkowski and newly appointed Racing Director Davide Brivio. 

Renault's former Team Principal Cyril Abiteboul had been expected to keep covering his position in the rebranded French team, but it didn't happen: the Frenchman left the team abruptly in January and Luca de Meo, Renault's CEO, appointed Laurent Rossi, director of strategy and business development at Renault, as CEO of the Alpine team.

Budkowski revealed to the French press, in occasion of the car launch on Tuesday, that the departure of Abiteboul hadn't been planned: ”It obviously was a surprise and a shock to everyone when we found out, but we were ready for the season anyway, the project was very committed.”

Nevertheless, the Executive Director said that it didn't really have an impact on the designing of the car, especially since Abiteboul, due to Covid restrictions, hadn't been able to visit the Enston factory regularly: “His presence or absence didn't change the commitment of the project.”

The reorganization of the team happened smoothly, and the new CEO has already had a taste of his workplace:”Laurent recently came to Enstone for a few days, during which he met a lot of people, saw the car, saw the development project, and was briefed on what we're doing for 2022 too.”

The Polish is satisfied with the different job division: “We went for a slightly different structure than the conventional team structure,” he said. “At the end of the day the roles and the responsibilities are clear. It's just we are calling them a little bit differently. We're a French team at the end, and we had to put a bit of a French touch in the organizational structure as well!”

Despite all these changes, the French team is extremely focused on their ultimate goal: keep up with, or, even better, improve the good results obtained last season, which had ended with a fifth place in both the constructors and the pilots standings, and three podiums scored after a ten-years hiatus:"We reorganised ourselves very quickly, we have a new team and we have clear, unchanged goals."

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