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Alpine F1 sale rumours emerge amid key Renault demand

Alpine’s disappointing start to the Formula 1 season has already fuelled talk that its parent company Renault could consider offers to sell the squad.

Esteban Ocon, Alpine A524

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

However, according to information gathered in recent weeks, any possible sale of the outfit would likely be on the condition that any new owner would continue to use Renault engine power for the foreseeable future.

The opening four races of the 2024 season have confirmed Alpine is in a difficult spot, with it standing last in the constructors’ championship on zero points with Sauber and Williams.

It appears to be the least competitive out of the three and, to make matters worse, it is not a customer outfit but a full-on works squad with car giant Renault behind it.

Back in February 2023, on the occasion of the presentation of its new F1 car for that season, the team leaders indicated ambitious objectives.

After finishing fourth in the 2022 constructors' championship, the target was to finish on the podium regularly and get closer to the top three, which at that time was Red Bull, Ferrari and Mercedes.

Just more than one year on, the scenario is very different. In the intervening period, CEO Laurent Rossi, team principal Otmar Szafnauer and two historical figures of the team, sporting director Alan Permane and technical director Pat Fry, have gone.

Instead of the management changes helping the squad to move forwards, it has slumped backwards to the bottom of the rankings.

The reasons are complex, and it is unsurprising that its situation has prompted talk that parties are interested in a takeover. It is a market law that you buy when a company value is at its lowest.

Pierre Gasly, Alpine A524

Pierre Gasly, Alpine A524

Photo by: Alpine

Renault originally regained ownership of the Enstone facility in 2015 and started using the Alpine brand from 2021 – as a means of restoring the image of the French manufacturer’s historic sportscar brand.

But being at the back is not good for selling cars, and if there are no signs of progress soon, then it is not hard to imagine that offers to buy may be taken more seriously.

But while finding buyers may not be a problem, one complication is the future of the Renault engine division.

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According to information gathered in the Suzuka paddock, one of the conditions of the sale of the team is the stipulation that the Renault power unit continues to be used for a specified number of seasons – believed to run until 2029.

This would ensure a future for the group of engine engineers who are already working on the new turbo hybrid power unit which will debut in 2026.

However, this constraint of using the Renault engine could reduce the number of potential buyers - since some interested parties want to involve the use of their own power units or those of other manufacturers with which there are already links.

A statement from Alpine said: “The rumours and stories about the team being for sale are false. The team is categorically not for sale.”

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