Alpine makes more changes after Monaco Grand Prix

In the wake of their slow start to the Formula 1 season, and a mixed result at the Monaco Grand Prix, more changes have come at Alpine.

The team parted ways with Rob White, their Director of Operations, earlier this week. White joined the organization back in 2004, and played a role in Renault winning titles in both 2005 and 2006. BBC Sport first reported the news on Friday.

”As part of the team’s wider operational restructure, we can confirm the departure of Rob White,” said an Alpine spokesperson to BBC Sport.

“The team is thankful for Rob’s efforts during his long career both at Enstone and at Viry-Chatillon, where he led the championship-winning engine project in 2005 and 2006. We wish him the best in his future endeavours.”

The move is the latest in a series of changes made by the team over the past calendar year.

Last season saw Team Principal Otmar Szafnauer and Sporting Director Alan Permane sacked the week of the Belgian Grand Prix, and this year began with the team seeing the resignations of Technical Director Matt Harman and Head of Aerodynamics Dirk de Beer. Those moves came following a difficult start to the year as the A524 — Alpine’s challenger for the 2024 season — came in overweight and forced the team onto the back foot to start the season.

At the start of March the team announced an internal restructuring, replacing the single Technical Director format with three newly-created technical roles. The team unveiled what they call a “three-pillared approach,” with a Technical Director (Performance), a Technical Director (Aerodynamics), and a Technical Director (Engineering). Alpine introduced Joe Burnell as the team’s new Technical Director (Engineering), David Wheater as the team’s new Technical Director (Aerodynamics), and Ciaron Pilbeam as their new Technical Director (Performance).

Then earlier this month Alpine announced that David Sanchez had joined the team as their Executive Technical Director, to lead their design facility.

All of these moves have seen the team improve performance, but perhaps not at the pace fans are hoping for. Esteban Ocon delivered the team’s first point of the season with a tenth-place finish in the Miami Grand Prix, and after a pointless week at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix Alpine seemed on track for a much better result in the Monaco Grand Prix. Pierre Gasly advanced to Q3 for the first time all season and started the race in P10, while Ocon was right behind him in P11.

But an opening-lap crash between the teammates caused substantial damage to Ocon’s A524, knocking him out of the race. The team was able to repair the damage to Gasly’s A524 during the ensuing red flag — which came as a result of the massive shunt on the same lap involving Sergio Pérez, Kevin Magnussen, and Nico Hülkenberg — and Gasly was able to finish in tenth for his first point of the season.

However, frustration lingers at Alpine over Ocon’s bold move on the opening lap, which according to Gasly violated team instructions. “It was a clear instruction from the team on what to do, what we were supposed to do, and this wasn’t respected [by Ocon],” said Gasly following his tenth place finish.

Speaking during the race to French outlet CANAL+, Team Principal Bruno Famin indicated there would be “consequences” for Ocon’s audacious attempt. Ocon apologized to the team both internally and on social media, but Famin’s comments to CANAL+ sparked speculation of a benching for the Canadian Grand Prix. Ocon already faces a five-place grid drop at his next race as a result of the incident, as race officials in Monaco found him “wholly responsible” for the collision and docked him a ten second penalty. But with Ocon unable to continue, that was converted to a five place grid drop.

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