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Famin Defends Decision to Retain Gasly

Gasly Eager for Alpine Stay Amid Controversy

01/07/2024

Gasly reaffirms commitment to Alpine, embracing a controversial extension as Famin justifies his decision.

There will be changes next year at Alpine F1: Esteban Ocon will leave the team, but Pierre Gasly has been extended for at least two years.

In the Alpine paddock at the Red Bull Ring, Bruno Famin, the team principal, commented on and explained these two decisions by the French team.

First, the end of Esteban Ocon’s contract: is it a penalty after the incident at the last Monaco Grand Prix? Not at all, according to Famin, who wants to smooth things over.

“We all know that with Esteban, we were at the end of a cycle, a five-year cycle.”

“It was difficult to keep both drivers because we need to renew, as we do with engineers, we need to renew the blood to improve, to change the process.”

“That’s why, even though he has contributed a lot to the team, Esteban’s time with Alpine was over.”

The second justification: the extension of Pierre Gasly. Isn’t he a bit demotivated given Alpine F1’s performance this year?

“So we are keeping Pierre because I think he still has a lot to offer the team. He will develop in a different way, with a different image, and that’s it.”

Bruno Famin continues: if Alpine F1 has managed to convince Pierre Gasly to extend, it is also thanks to improvements in performance since Bahrain, or thanks to the signing of renowned new engineers, like David Sanchez, coming from McLaren F1.

“Since Bahrain, we have taken an interesting step, but we are not yet where we want to be. We are satisfied with the evolution, but we are not satisfied with the position.”

“Of course, the developments have helped. If we were still at the back of the grid in Barcelona, we would have had less strength to convince him of the project.”

“What he has seen, from the beginning of the year to today, is proof of what we want to do with the project. The fact that David Sanchez joined the project two months ago [as technical director] is a real plus.”

“We noticed an immediate change, first in the mindset, then in the direction of the technical work. These are good signs. That’s why we decided to continue together.”

“Pierre trusts Luca [de Meo, CEO of the Renault group] and he trusts the project. We want to improve, continue to build the project. I think Pierre is convinced that we will do everything to ensure that we have the best possibility of forming a better team in the coming years because we have the support of Renault’s leadership team.”

Gasly remains committed to Renault’s project

How does Pierre Gasly justify his extension? More importantly, did he seriously consider moving elsewhere, perhaps to Audi?

“I took the time to find the answers I was looking for. From the beginning, I always felt my heart wanted to continue with the team. There are various reasons. It’s a French manufacturer, the factory is less than two kilometers from my town (the Alpine factory is in Dieppe, Normandy), and I have a special connection with the brand.”

“I also feel that I have not yet achieved the goals I set when I initially signed two years ago. It would be a shame to stop now. I’ve always wanted to continue.”

“I know it’s a bit controversial, because right now, the performances aren’t excellent. But I still think that in the past two or three months, the team has shown me a lot, because when you look at where we were in Barcelona compared to our starting point in Bahrain, it’s still great progress, and a big step forward—other teams haven’t managed to do that.”

“I am very happy and confident in the decision to continue with the team, as I think it is the best solution for my future and for the team’s future. As a driver, it is very important to see this willingness and support from the team.”

It’s not just Bruno Famin who seems to have convinced Pierre Gasly to stay: the role of Luca de Meo, the CEO of Renault, has apparently been significant, as the Norman driver suggests.

“Luca and I have always had a good relationship. Sometimes it clicks with certain people.”

“Once negotiations started with Alpine, I was in contact with him, and he has always been very open, transparent, and trustworthy, which is important to me in how I work.”

“I think this reassured me about the team’s commitment and its ambitions. He’s not in F1 just to be in F1; he’s in F1 to put Alpine on top of the podium. Sometimes we forget that Renault is one of the biggest automotive groups in the world. It’s an extremely powerful group, they have vast resources, and that’s very appealing to me.”

“There’s a lot of work to do for the team to reach the same level of performance as the current best, but I think it’s a step they can make.”

Who with Pierre Gasly?

The question now is who will be Pierre Gasly’s teammate next year.

Mick Schumacher? Jack Doohan? Or Carlos Sainz, to whom Alpine made a last-minute offer?

Bruno Famin does not seem in a hurry to sign his second driver…

“We’re working on it… We’re taking our time. We’re not in a rush. We make the decision when it’s necessary. We’re not in a rush to make a quick decision about the second driver.”

“We’re very comfortable, as we have our Academy drivers, who are good drivers. We’re not stressed at all. The second driver will be announced in due course.”

“We have a plan. That’s why we’re not stressed about our second seat.”

Famin Defends Decision to Retain Gasly

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