Carmaker CEO proud to have kept Renault in F1
"We have improved a lot and brought in a solid management team"
Alpine is still on target to win races in Formula 1, according to Renault CEO Luca de Meo.
When the Italian left the Volkswagen group in 2020 to join Renault, he was met by a senior management team that had effectively decided to pull the French giant out of Formula 1.
"Yes, I was told that Renault would be leaving the sport," he told Le Journal de l’Automobile.
"They had built a beautiful history in the sport for 40 years so I was strongly against this. I never wanted to dig Renault’s Formula 1 grave."
De Meo’s solution was to rebrand the UK-based works Formula 1 team as Alpine.
"We have improved a lot and brought in a solid management team with Otmar Szafnauer at the top," said the 54-year-old.
Some believe Renault has effectively stagnated in Formula 1, as it sits perpetually behind the top teams and fields the least powerful engine on the grid.
De Meo insists: "We have a long-term plan. We want to win a race within 100 grands prix.
"We are already close to the top three, but even if you have a good chance of winning, you need a lot of luck. You see that at Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League as well," he smiled.
Nonetheless, de Meo says he is proud of Renault’s status among the F1 elite.
"We are one of the only teams that build all parts of the car ourselves," he said. "People may see this as wasted money, but the competitiveness of the sport is fundamental to our brand."