Aston Martin win a 'reality check’ for Alpine this season

Lawrence EdmondsonF1 EditorJune 27, 2023, 11:30 AM ET5 minutes of reading

Edmondson: Reynolds, McElhenny bring more than money to Alpine

Lawrence Edmondson explains what the investment of Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenny means for the Alpine F1 Team.

Alpine boss Laurent Rossi admits the progress of rival Formula One team Aston Martin has acted as a reality check for his outfit this year.

Alpine finished fourth in the championship standings last year and began the season aiming for the same position, but with less of a gap to F1’s long-standing top three teams Red Bull, Mercedes and Ferrari.

However, after eight races of the 2023 season, the Alpine sits fifth in the standings and 110 points behind third-placed Aston Martin, which is now regularly in a fight for the podiums with Mercedes and Ferrari.

„I think it’s a reality check for Mercedes, Ferrari, for us,” Rossi said of Aston Martin’s progress. „Like s—-, we’re on a high and we’re comfortable thinking everyone else is, and then all of a sudden a guy jumps all of us.”

As well as signing Fernando Alonso from Alpine over the winter, Aston Martin made big-name technical recruits last year, including Dan Fallows from Red Bull and Eric Blandin from Mercedes.

While Rossi believes the high-profile signings have helped Aston Martin, Alpine says it needs to play to its own strengths, including its position as a works team with its own in-house engine supply.

„They’ve certainly hired bright people working in high-responsibility positions at both Red Bull and Mercedes,” Rossi said. „They’ve done a really good job of creating the perfect hybrid of the two, and it’s no wonder they’re faster than Mercedes and slower than Red Bull because they’re a hybrid of the two.

„They’ve done a great job, hello. But we have to try to emulate that, not by hiring people from Red Bull, even if we can, we’re not going to copy anything because we don’t have the same controls, but by trying to extract more from our portfolio.” And by being a team we work with.”

After years of struggling to close the gap up front, Rossi believes a change of mindset is needed at Alpine to move away from the midfield pack.

„It’s an industry that’s been doing the same thing for so long that it’s become the norm that it takes so long to get there – that’s true of everything, that’s true of road cars.

“But that requires you to put yourself in a tricky situation, an uncomfortable situation, and if you do that it will work.

“I think they are [Aston Martin] They’ve done it in a very radical way, breaking down some barriers and putting themselves in a very uncomfortable position to change the way they were doing it a little bit more.

„They’ve changed a couple of things, the pace is different, they’ve taken a few more risks, and it’s paid off.”

Alpine announced on Monday It has accepted fresh investment in its F1 team from a group of investors that includes Hollywood actors Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney. The $218.1 million deal for a 24 percent equity stake values ​​the team at more than $900 million, part of which Rossi said will pay off debt owed to the team’s parent company, Groupe Renault.

Alpine will use the investment to fund improvements to its factory, with the aim of becoming the leading operating group at the start of the next term in 2026.

„We had a plan for three to four years – it was a 100 race plan – to get back to the level of the first teams by being standard everywhere and being the best in the class we need,” Rossi said. „They will basically help us accelerate that project.”

Rossi said the deal was led by investment groups RedBird Capital Partners and Otro Capital, including the former investor in Fenway Sports Group, owner of Premier League team Liverpool and baseball team Boston Red Sox.

The expertise of the new investors will be represented on the board by Alec Scheiner, co-founder of Otro Capital, which will help the team in areas where Reynold’s maximum effort investments are off track. Helps in brand visibility.

„The deal was led by RedBird and Otro — two guys from RedBird starting their own company, so we’ve more or less had people talking to us on the basis that we’ll improve the revenue side of things.” Rosie said.

„And we’re not very good – everyone in Formula One, except maybe one or two like Red Bull. So, [the new investors will help with] Revenue, which means sponsorship, merchandising, licensing and hospitality — things we don’t really do well.

„We were thinking about how you add visibility, increased visibility, and these guys, Max Endeavor and Ryan Reynolds, they’re doing that as well.

„They did a good job with Mint Mobile and Aviation Zine and things like that. They were interested in that, and we found out there was a lot of things we could do — revenue and monetization, so we asked to join the alliance, and that was it.

„We see Redbird and Otro as our key partners and now we have them.”

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