Cyril Abiteboul’s departure and the introduction of a new management structure has not destabilized Alpine ahead of 2021, according to the team’s executive director Marcin Budkowski.
Alpine — the new identity for the former Renault team — parted ways with Abiteboul in January, with Laurent Rossi taking over as CEO of the brand and former Suzuki MotoGP boss Davide Brivio being hired as racing director. Budkowski was promoted to executive director as the team has opted against a traditional team principal position, but he insists the team has more stability following all the movement.
“There’s been a number of changes, obviously,” Budkowski said. “It’s not my place to comment on the departure of Cyril. We have a new structure; we’re lucky that with the Alpine project we’re really part of the Renault Group strategy now. That’s a stability going forward that is great for the team; it’s also something that we want to build on for the future.
“So yes there’s been an upheaval, but (also) yes there’s new colors, it’s a new dynamic, there’s new energy in the project and we’re looking forward to it.
“We went for a slightly different structure than the conventional team structure but at the end of the day the roles and the responsibilities are clear, we’re just calling them a little bit differently. We’re a French team in the end — we had to put a bit of a French touch in the organization structure as well!”
Despite his confidence, Budkowski admits there will be a spell where Brivio has to find his feet in Formula 1 following his switch from the MotoGP paddock.
“In today’s Formula 1, with the complexity of a Formula 1 team, especially one which does chassis and engines, we have a base in the UK, a base in France, there’s 23 races, potentially 25 in the future, COVID restrictions, potential quarantines etc… in these conditions managing a team and going to all races is very, very difficult, so for me personally it’s great to have Davide on board.
“Apart from all the skills he brings from his other motorsport experiences, it means I won’t have to go to all the races. I will probably do the majority of them or start skipping them in the second part of the season.
“We have someone in Davide who has a lot of trackside experience, a lot of soft skills acquired as a team manager in other categories. He knows how to manage drivers, he knows how to motivate them, he knows how to organize a garage; so it’s going to be a great contribution to have him there and we can share the role and really make sure we don’t leave anything without the attention required.
“I think it’s going to be a learning curve for Davide. The complexity of Formula 1 is huge compared to MotoGP, but in the few experiences I’ve had with him so far he looks first of all a very nice chap and someone who knows the job in front of him.”