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Formula 1 Qatar GP

Alpine says Andretti F1 engine option has now expired

Alpine says a pre-contract agreement it had to supply customer engines to Andretti’s new Formula 1 team has now lapsed.

Michael Andretti

Andretti has been putting in place plans to enter F1 for a while now and, as part of an original push, it had an agreement with Alpine for a partnership for power units as well as possible customer car parts.

It was widely understood that this deal would act as a holding pattern for Andretti while it worked together with GM and its Cadillac brand to help develop its own power unit in the longer term.

However, after the FIA announced last week that it had accepted Andretti’s entry and it was now being passed on to FOM to consider a commercial deal, it has emerged that the plan for customer Alpine/Renault engines is no longer in place. 

Speaking to Autosport, Alpine interim team principal Bruno Famin said the situation changed earlier this year when its pre-arrangement lapsed.

“We had a pre-contract with Andretti, which has expired because they were supposed to be granted an F1 entry before a given date,” he said.

“It means right now, if we want to do something with Andretti, we need to negotiate a full contract, a formal contract. So right now, we have absolutely no contract with Andretti.”

Famin explained that, after the option expired several months ago, there have been no further negotiations, and that there were no plans to resume discussions until it was clear from FOM that the Andretti entry was being approved.

Michael Andretti on the grid

Michael Andretti on the grid

Photo by: Alexander Trienitz / Motorsport Images

“Everybody knows what the situation is,” added Famin. “We need something, and we need a decision from F1 before resuming with Andretti.”

Although Andretti has linked up with GM to help support its F1 entry, Famin said the partnership with a rival car brand would not impact its own assessment of doing a customer engine deal in the short term.

“We are still on the same line,” he said. “We had pre-conditions for making a deal. We are still expecting those conditions are fulfilled, but we have not changed at all our process.”

More: What's next for Andretti's F1 entry - and could it fall at the final hurdle?

However, Famin admitted there were timeframe factors that had to be taken into account because there was a long lead time to get a customer engine project up and running. It could mean that if a decision is not made until early next year, it could be too late to get engines ready for 2025.

“I'm not talking about [only] Andretti, but we start the supply of parts for the season a very long time before,” he said.

“Of course, depending on what will be the situation, there are some things we will be able to do, and some others we won't be able to.

“But, for the time being, it's even useless talking about that, because let's see, we don't have the starting point.”

Esteban Ocon, Alpine A523

Esteban Ocon, Alpine A523

Photo by: Sam Bloxham / Motorsport Images

While Alpine was open-minded about supplying engines to the Andretti project, it said it agreed with other teams that the American outfit’s entry to F1 should only be approved if it can bring a proven benefit to grand prix racing.

“We have nothing against 11 teams if it really brings real added value to the business as a whole, and to F1 in general,” he said.

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“It's up to F1, to the promoter, to assess what is the real added value an 11th team may bring. And if they evaluate that there is really a big added value, we will be happy with that.

“What we don't want is that an 11th team dilutes the value of our assets in the championship. Of course, if that will be the case, we will be against that.”

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