Alpine owner Renault in F1 for ‘long term’ – CEO

Fri, 17 February 2023, 07:00

Feb.17 (GMM) Renault is pledging its ongoing commitment to Formula 1, despite departed 2022 driver Fernando Alonso insisting Alpine was “happy with fourth” overall.

Former two-time Renault champion Alonso, 41, made the switch over the winter to what he describes as the “more ambitious” Aston Martin project.

However, Aston Martin finished just seventh last year, while Alpine was the best-placed team behind Red Bull, Ferrari and Mercedes – albeit a whopping 342 points adrift of third.

“The gap to third was big,” team boss Otmar Szafnauer admitted as Renault-owned Alpine’s 2023 car was unveiled in London.

“We’ve got to close that gap. We need less DNFs, more points, hopefully some podiums, and to get a lot closer to third than we were in 2022,” he added.

“We will soon get to where we want to be, and that’s fighting for world championships.”

Although the team’s first pick was Oscar Piastri, Alonso was ultimately replaced by former Red Bull driver Pierre Gasly – who now completes an all-French lineup alongside Esteban Ocon.

“We are here for the long term,” Renault CEO Luca de Meo said at Thursday’s launch. “I hope that we get closer to the top.

“If I look at the points table, the gap to the top is considerable. I would wish that we can narrow that a bit.

“If we could also celebrate a few podiums, that would of course make Sunday afternoons even sweeter.”

Meanwhile, 26-year-old Ocon revealed that he had a tough winter, having fallen “really ill”.

“I’ve had to put a lot of effort in to try to come back to the best fitness level, and I’ve done so,” he said.

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