On Monday afternoon the news broke, without official announcements: Alain Prost is no longer an advisor and non-executive director of the Alpine F1 Team.
The 66-year-old four-time world champion, whose presence in the Enstone box radiated glory and respect and whose constant words in the media conveyed faith in the team’s project, it will no longer be in 2022.
He had no specific functions in the ‘staff’ beyond consultant and public relations at the highest level, but his departure is the umpteenth example of the change of course that ended with Abiteboul a year ago and with Budkowski, a week ago.
‘The Professor’ explains himself in an interview with ‘L’Equipe’, now without ties, and points to Laurent Rossi, CEO of Alpine and head of the team until Otmar Szafnauer joins, who will arrive in the coming weeks from Aston Martin.
“When the boss doesn’t greet you when you get to the circuit, it’s because there’s no fun or respect, and that doesn’t work,” says Prost, a critic:
“Rossi wants to be alone, that no one contaminate him. He told me in Qatar that he didn’t need any more advice, and he still offered me a contract in Abu Dhabi, which I refused.” “Laurent Rossi wants all the spotlight, when what interests me is the challenge of belonging to a team and being in the decisions”, he affirms.
Prost assures that “in September 2020”, Luca de Meo (CEO of Renault) offered him “to be president of Alpine F1”. “In principle I accepted,” he reveals, but Abiteboul’s departure and Rossi’s arrival left the appointment on ‘stand-by’.
“The 2021 season was disruptive”, “too complicated”, “I wasn’t involved in the decisions and sometimes I didn’t share them either, but he had to follow the official discourse. I found out about some at the last minute. There was jealousy.”
Optimistic with the 2022 Alpine
Prost’s departure is separated by a few days from Budkowski’s goodbye, who led the team during a satisfactory season (fifth in constructors, in 2021, with a victory for Ocon in Hungary and a podium for Alonso in Qatar).
Now they face the premiere of the 2022 car pending changes and new faces in senior management. Szafnauer will be announced once he is freed from the classic contractual clauses of temporary suspension (for changing teams).
Although Prost warns: “A great job has been done and this direction will have to be judged by the results of the next two years. Everything was launched by 2022.” The professor, prophetic, still believes in the Alpine that Alonso and Ocon will drive this year: “It is an ambitious project. There is only the question of the engine, not for reliability but for performance, but that will not be known until the car is on the track.”
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.