Luca de Meo wanted to restore team cohesion at Alpine F1

In the last part of our interview with Renault Group CEO Luca de Meo, the Italian reflects on the team spirit and cohesion within the alpine team after significant changes in the organizational structure during the winter. In addition, Luca de Meo also returns to the impact of the leading category on Alpine’s sales and on the new markets that may open up for the manufacturer in the future, starting with the United States.

Last year [date à laquelle Alpine est arrivé en F1 en tant qu’équipe], Alpine’s sales figures have doubled in France, but the Dieppe manufacturer has also increased its volume significantly internationally with a total of 2,659 vehicles sold worldwide in 2021, an increase of more than 74%. When asked if Alpine’s sales growth in 2021 is mainly due to the brand’s commitment to Formula 1, the Italian answers: “I think, yes, it’s Formula 1, but it’s also the structure, the organization by brand and not by the function of Renault, that makes a team focus on a business and know why they wake up every morning. » entrusts Luca de Meo to F1only.fr.

“That’s what happens [dans l’équipe de F1], it’s like when we take ten kids in a yard, they play football, they split up, and at some point we give them a yellow jersey and a red jersey, and they recognize each other a lot easier, they play easier. It’s a bit like that, we did at Renault. So now we have many more people, people are dedicated 24 hours a day to Alpine, whereas before it was maybe part of their time and it gives results. »

Also read: Luca de Meo believes that F1 logistics still has a major impact on the environment

“One of the themes I saw when I arrived as a leader – and not as a specialist – was that alpine [F1] internally it was not really connected. We had a structuring theme with two poles; one in england [Enstone] and one in France [Viry], which makes it harder to manage. But there were also some who did not do their best not to create a spirit of cohesion, and one of the priorities I gave myself was to build over time a very clear line of command with an organizational structure of people who have a show ability to create team cohesion because I consider it a team sport. It is not an individual sport, of course there are the pilots who are the heroes, but behind it you need a team spirit. »

“When I see people like Otmar [Szafnauer, directeur de l’équipe]people like Bruno [Famin, directeur exécutif d’Alpine Racing à Viry-Châtillon]people like Davide Brivio [directeur des projets compétition chez Alpine]Lawrence [Rossi, PDG d’Alpine], they are people who have this spirit. They are not people who go alone, and I think we get there, and the most obvious manifestation is the relationship we have been able to create between Fernando [Alonso] and Esteban [Ocon] and which continues and this relationship nourishes us. We think it is important for a team like ours that is in the middle of the herd that both cars score points. Last year, if Fernando and Esteban had not both contributed, we would not have made P5 [au championnat constructeurs], because we did not have the car for that. »

Also read: Luca de Meo confirms talks between Renault and Andretti

As for the title goals for the alpine team, the Renault Group’s CEO insisted that competition is fierce in Formula 1 and that it takes some time for a team to become sufficiently competitive.

“We are surrounded by people who have the same desire, a better organization, etc … so everything is played out here. It is true that in competition – as in many other things – there is a moment where there is no simple formula that should be a moment where the planets are in line and we have not yet found that. “

Finally, Formula 1 arrives this weekend for the first time in Miami, USA, a market that is not necessarily the goal of Renault and Alpine, but Luca de Meo believes that the visibility of Formula 1 will inevitably help to create more awareness for A arrow mark.

It can also be a good showcase to make a brand known, and one day we decide to seek out this market. Me, one of the reasons I placed Alpine in Formula 1 – of course I do not have the marketing budget for Alpine when we sell 3000 cars – but we need a platform to be able to raise awareness about the brand, and the best part was just to put France’s tricolor and blue on a Formula 1. “

Interview by Remy Calame

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