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Alpine F1 team hires road car specialist Woods for new COO role

The Alpine Formula 1 team has created a new chief operating officer role at Enstone that will be filled by former Group Lotus and McLaren Automotive man John Woods.

Alpine factory

Alpine factory

Alpine

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Renault has also introduced a similar position at its power unit base in Viry, promoting Audrey Vastroux, who has been with the organisation for 18 years.

The new roles are part of an ongoing restructuring that followed the departure of team principal Otmar Szafnauer last summer.

Alpine vice-president of motorsports Bruno Famin took Szafnauer’s job, initially on an interim basis, but he has now been confirmed as the permanent team principal.

The two new appointees will oversee the respective facilities, with Enstone currently undergoing an expansion project, allowing Famin to focus more on racing operations.

"The COO position is very much a back office position,” said Famin when asked about Woods by Autosport.

“And we really need somebody who knows the operation. Right now he’s at Lotus Cars, and he was for quite a long time in McLaren Automotive.

“He is very much a guy from the factory. This is what I need to operate the factory.

“We have a technical director, and he will not interfere with the technical director, his role will be to give the technical director and the sporting director the means to work, following budget, compliance, etc.

“And he is a very pragmatic guy. He is not an F1 guy, but we don't need an F1 guy for that. Again, it's a back office job, and he very experienced, very pragmatic, close to the people.

“And to me, he's willing, he's not afraid to make to make changes, and he will have a fresh view on what we're doing.”

Bruno Famin, Vice president of Alpine Motorsport

Bruno Famin, Vice president of Alpine Motorsport

Photo by: Alpine

Woods worked at Group Lotus for 11 years from 2005 in a variety of roles, including head of manufacturing. 

He was at McLaren Automotive as head of new model launch from 2016 to 2023, before returning to Lotus as manufacturing director in May last year.

New Viry COO Vastroux joined the company as an engine test engineer in 2006, and she subsequently progressed through various jobs, including head of the test department, head of the project management office, and director of testing and operations.

"I really hope that these two COOs in Enstone on in Viry will really be a strong support both for me and for on for everybody on site,” said Famin.

“Having somebody 100 per cent based in Viry and somebody 100 per cent based in Enstone will really help in the day-the-day operations for sure, but also in developing improvements in our processes.

“With 24 races a year it's complicated to be away. It's good to have somebody on site.”

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