Formula 1 Racing

Alpine plans F1 recruitment drive, investment and new simulator

Pierre Gasly, Alpine A523

After being on the receiving end of criticism from company CEO Laurent Rossi over a disappointing start to the 2023 season, the squad has made clear it is not sitting on its hands when it comes to turning things around.

Team principal Otmar Szafnauer has said there are several initiatives under way to help the team move forward – some of which are being worked on while others have been committed to.

The first is a new state-of-the-art simulator, which has just been signed off and should be in play by 2025. The team has also recruited a new head of simulation.

Szafnauer said Alpine’s current simulator was around 20 years old, having been purchased from McLaren around a decade ago, and was now long in the tooth.

Speaking about the benefits, he said: “If you have perfect simulation tools or close to it, then you start the weekend pretty close to your local optimum for that race.

“We’ve hired people to help us with more accurate lap sims and, if you can do all that work before you get to the track, you’re closer to where you’re going to end up.”

Pierre Gasly, Alpine A523

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

While Alpine has expanded since parent company Renault took over the operations at Enstone again in 2016, the squad is still not at maximum staffing capacity.

Szafnauer has said that the example of Aston Martin, who hired a lot of personnel from Mercedes and Red Bull to fast track its progress, showed exactly what was possible.

As Alpine evaluates what it needs to do to lift its own potential, the team is now on the lookout for senior aerodynamicists.

“You want to shortcut the process,” said Szafnauer about hiring from top teams. “Red Bull has an aerodynamic team of 50 people, it’s not one. But the guy who sits on top of the 50, he gets all the ideas. So, when you displace him, his brain is full of all those learnings.

“But then once you’ve got that, you still need that team of 50 underneath to continue the development, because you only shortcut it one spot at a time.

“So, what I said about Red Bull probably having 50 people. We’re at 38, we want to grow to 45. So, we have spots for seven or eight senior aerodynamicists here. We have those spots.”

Alpine F1 Team nose detail

Alpine F1 Team nose detail

While Renault remains fully committed to funding the F1 squad, there have been rumours in recent weeks that fresh investment could come from outside parties.

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