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Renault’s Exit From $900 Million Project Could Land Michael Andretti His Much Awaited F1 Dream

Aishwary Gaonkar
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Renault’s Exit From $900 Million Project Could Land Michael Andretti His Much Awaited F1 Dream

Alpine may have hit the panic button given the way their 2024 season has begun. Qualifying dead last in Bahrain with both cars and a gearbox failure for Pierre Gasly in Saudi Arabia before the race start means the French team has not opened their account and sits at the bottom of the standings. Amid these abysmal performances, there are rumors that Alpine’s parent company, Renault, may be losing interest in its F1 operations. If this turns out to be true, it could open up the doors for Michael Andretti and Co., who wish to enter F1 with the Andretti team.

According to Adam Stern on Twitter (now X), British journalist Joe Saward wrote in his blog that Renault’s top management is reportedly not happy with the current state of the Enstone outfit. So they may look to sell out the works F1 operation, which was valued at $900 million last year, and just look to be an engine manufacturer and supplier in F1.

Alpine uses Renault engines and the French manufacturer was also in talks with Andretti to be their temporary engine supplier for their F1 entry. However, Andretti was rejected by Formula One Management (FOM) for wanting to enter the sport as the 11th team on the grid.

One of those reasons was the lack of a dedicated power unit supplier. While Andretti has collaborated with GM’s Cadillac to be their long-term engine supplier in F1, the American manufacturer needs time to kickstart its F1 engine program.

With Cadillac engines slated to be ready by 2028, Andretti was looking to use Renault power units for a prospective 2025 entry to F1. However, after the FOM rejected that, Andretti‘s F1 ambitions took a big setback.

How can Andretti benefit from Alpine’s ongoing crisis?

Now, with Alpine’s turmoil, Andretti could get another shot at entering the pinnacle of motorsport. One of the other reasons that FOM rejected Andretti was that the American team didn’t add value to the sport. However, the insider voices in the paddock say that F1 teams don’t wish to split their prize money share to have Andretti as an additional 11th team.

So, it was all about the decreasing value of the existing team’s financial gains from the sport. The other avenue Andretti had was to buy out an existing team which makes sense given how Audi is taking over Sauber.

Alpine’s case could be the perfect opportunity for Andretti to capitalize and secure its F1 entry and satisfy existing teams’ notion of not diluting the prize pot share. Moreover, it is pertinent to note that Andretti does have the FIA’s approval to enter the sport.

Hence, it is just about countering and fulfilling FOM’s expectations and brokering a deal to get their approval along with the 10 teams. From Alpine and Renault’s perspective, it could be a disaster for their F1 goals. However, it could be the perfect measure to cut their losses rather than persist if things are not going to improve.

What is happening at Alpine and what does it mean for its investors?

Alpine have arguably been the slowest team since the start of 2024. Despite a complete overhaul of the car, the issues with the weight and aero inefficiencies have plagued their performance massively. The A524 is not a car with which Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly can fight for points, let alone podiums or wins.

Amid this crunch time, the French team has also lost key figures from their technical team. Technical director Matt Harman and Head of Aerodynamics Dirk de Beer resigned from Alpine and the team had to scramble and restructure their technical unit.

This entire chaos is not reflecting well for the huge investment Alpine received last year. A consortium, including Hollywood star Ryan Reynolds and several sporting stars from the NFL, boxing, and golf, invested about $220 million in the Enstone outfit, buying a 24% stake.

While this was Renault liquidating some of its stake, Reynolds & Co. wanted to take the team forward and develop a winning F1 operation. The current state of the team is anything but a winning operation. So, for Reynolds & Co., Andretti buying out may be a good stop-loss measure and perhaps recoup some of its money.

Post Edited By:Vidit Dhawan

About the author

Aishwary Gaonkar

Aishwary Gaonkar

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Aishwary Gaonkar is the F1 Editor at The SportsRush. Having written over 757 articles about different aspects of the sport, Aishwary passionately likes to dive deep into the intricacies of the on-track events. He has been an avid F1 fan since the 2011 season, amid Sebastian Vettel's dominance. Besides the 4-time champion, he also likes Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen. Among the current drivers, he thinks Charles Leclerc and Oscar Piastri have championship-winning caliber. Longing for a Ferrari world championship, Aishwary is also a fan of Aston Martin's underdog story and their bid to win the F1 championship. Other than F1, he follows tennis and cricket too.

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