Ex-Renault Formula 1 boss Cyril Abiteboul claims the Alpine squad is lacking a “leader” driver in comparison to other teams.

Alpine has endured a difficult number of weeks in the spotlight, with Laurent Rossi being replaced as CEO by Phillipe Krief last month.

During the recent Belgian Grand Prix, Alpine announced during the event that team boss Otmar Szafnauer and sporting director Alan Permane would depart after the weekend.

But Alpine’s leadership issues go beyond the senior positions, believes Abiteboul, who claims that Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly aren’t from the same mould as names such as Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen. 

“You mention Esteban and Pierre,” he told France Info. “Two names is one too many.

“When you close your eyes and think of Mercedes, you think of Lewis Hamilton, even though Nico Rosberg did some extraordinary things.

“When you think of Red Bull, you think of the first cycle around Sebastian Vettel, then the second cycle around Max Verstappen.

“There needs to be a driver who is also a bit of a team boss, the strength of personification is fundamental. At the moment, the grid is very competitive with all cars finishing on the same lap.

“In a while, there will be a near-level playing field and what will make the difference is ambition, determination.”

Abiteboul worked at the helm of the Alpine team for several years, when it ran under the Renault name from 2014 to 2020.

Amid the high-profile departures from the squad, which includes the loss of Pat Fry to Williams, Abiteboul says that the team’s culture is at risk of being lost.

“Every element that is changed potentially puts the team spirit and culture at risk. It is these two aspects in particular that are lacking at Alpine,” he said.

“The investments have been made, the resources, the group’s ambitions, the corporate strategy with the Alpine brand – it’s all there. When a team has everything, it needs something that transcends it, someone to drive it.

“The strength of an individual who can pull 1,000 people together is very unifying.”

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