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Fernando Alonso’s Renault Engineer Unveils the ‘Ugly’ Reality Behind Alpine F1 Team’s Management

Vidit Dhawan
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Fernando Alonso’s Renault Engineer Unveils the ‘Ugly’ Reality Behind Alpine F1 Team’s Management

Renault (now Alpine) have been going through a rough patch for over a decade now in F1 as they have failed to win a title since 2006. The last driver to win a championship with the team was Fernando Alonso. His engineer from his Renault days, Chris Hessey, has now shed some light on the “ugly” reality of the Alpine management. Hessey singled out Alpine’s former sporting director, Alan Permane, and explained why he was not a good individual.

Speaking exclusively to Pit Debrief, Hessey said, “He (Permane) wasn’t a very nice [individual]. He’s what we used to call the Benetton old boys, the bobs [buddies]. Prior to Renault, it was obviously called Benetton. They were a very cliquey set of guys, the old school as we called them“.

Alonso’s former engineer then added that the “old boys” believed they could never do anything wrong. Hessey made a startling revelation by explaining that if one of the “new guys made a mistake, they would be screamed at“. However, the same was not the case with the “old boys“.

When they made mistakes, Hessey revealed they were “washed away“. Fernando Alonso’s former engineer then added that Permane was a key figure when it came to creating such a hostile environment. Hence, Hessey lauded Alpine and Bruno Famin’s decision to fire Permane.

Hessey believes that the 56-year-old was “useless” and deserved nothing else. However, other than Permane, the French outfit also sacked former team principal Otmar Szafnauer. Alpine made these sweeping changes with the hope that the new management will now help the team return to winning ways as soon as possible.

Can a new management help Alpine return to winning ways?

Alpine only managed to finish sixth in the Constructors’ Championship with 120 points. They were way off the pace when compared to the top five teams. The Enstone outfit finished a whopping 160 points behind fifth-placed Aston Martin, who arguably improved the most in 2023.

Alpine have now changed management intending to revive the team’s hopes. Still, the criticisms against them have not stopped. Alpine’s former Chief Technical Officer Pat Fry, who is now at Williams, explained in an interview how the team continues to lack ambition.

Fry, who chose to resign from his post earlier this year, explained that the problem was never Otmar Szafnauer, who Alpine sacked. Instead, Fry believes that the Romanian former team principal never got enough time to improve the side.

I’m not sure that Otmar got a fair chance at fixing the place. Because to some degree things…metaphorically your hands are tied, I guess,” explained Fry in an interview with The Race.

Meanwhile, the team’s drivers have mixed views heading into 2024. Towards the end of the 2023 season, Pierre Gasly explained how their car is very “inconsistent“. As a result, he believes that his side needs to do a lot of work to improve their results next season.

On the other hand, Esteban Ocon seems slightly more optimistic about Alpine’s chances in 2024. He explained how he missed out on some fantastic opportunities in 2023. The Frenchman is hoping he can correct that, and he will have a strong campaign next season.

Post Edited By:Aishwary Gaonkar

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Vidit Dhawan

Vidit Dhawan

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Vidit Dhawan is the F1 writer and Editor at The SportsRush. He fell in love with the sport at first sight when F1 visited India in 2011. The noise and the racing action from lights out and away we go to the chequered flag are what keeps him at the edge of his seat at all times. Vidit has been a lifelong Fernando Alonso fan and sees Charles Leclerc as the future of the sport. Other than F1, he also follows football and tennis closely.

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